Guide to Pen-Pal Connections for K-12 Classrooms via Electronic Mail

By James Brewczynski


Modern communication now allows teachers to establish links to classrooms around the world. With a single key-stroke, students can exchange information, build cross-cultural friendships, and broaden their knowledge of the world in which they live. With the increasing availability of e-mail and other communication connections in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, students in the United States can increase their knowledge of this area of the world by conversing with young people who live and study there.

There are currently two methods of linking classrooms via e-mail. The first method requires teachers to find a service that collects data on classrooms interested in establishing a pen-pal link. The service provider will typically collect information from an interested teacher, such as the grade level of his/her students and the subjects in which they are interested. This data is then made available to teachers in other countries to ensure that a proper match can be made. The second method available is a direct connection with interested classrooms in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Many instructors in this part of the world are eager to establish e-mail links with classrooms in the United States. The Ellison Center occasionally receives announcements about such opportunities and can help instructors set up an e-mail link.

This list is a compilation of contacts available as of August, 2009. The Ellison Center cannot, however, ensure that all contacts are available. We appreciate any feedback concerning the resources on this list that will help us to keep this list up to date. The Center plans to update this page regularly so if you hear about any other key-pal opportunities, please feel free to send us the information via e-mail. We are also interested in hearing of your experiences in using the resources on this list. Please let us know of any success stories!




  • Project Harmony's Internet School Linkage Program (ISLP)

    The Internet School Linkage Program uses the Internet to create partnerships between US and NIS high schools. Teachers and students use the Internet to communicate with partners and work together on joint school projects. To apply to ISLP, visit the Project Harmony web-site.

  • E-PALS Classroom Exchange

    Founded in 1996, ePALS Classroom is a free service that provides students and teachers with an opportunity to freely meet and correspond with other classrooms from around the World. Over 390,000 students and teachers from 7,709 self-registered schools and classrooms, in over 80 countries, speaking 79 languages are now participating. Each month, up to 600 new classrooms register with ePALS and begin corresponding with others schools. Teachers may use the ePals web site to either post a partnership request or search for classrooms in specific countries. Submissions are screened to ensure that the requests are appropriate for students. All requests must come from teachers; students and other individuals are prohibited from posting them. 

  • Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association E-Mail Pals Program

    The Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association offers an e-mail pal finding service between the people of Seattle and Tashkent. The program is open to all ages. To join: Send an e-mail with your name, age, gender, e-mail address, and a short description of your interests to Joanne Young. Specify as the subject, "Seeking Seattle Correspondents" or "Seeking Tashkent Correspondents". 

  • World Cultural Foundation-International Penfriends for Schools, Groups or Clubs

    Claims to have a program in which schools can be matched with other schools in Russia. Does not mention cost for establishing school-to-school connections, but its person-to-person program DOES charge a fee.

    Contact Information:
    World Cultural Foundation;
    PO Box 2480
    North Bend, WA 98045-2480; USA



In addition to above services, the Ellison Center occasionally identifies individual classrooms in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union that wish to establish e-mail pen-pal relationships. Please contact us for up-to-date information.


Return to Top

The Ellison Center
REECAS Program
Box 353650
203B Thomson Hall
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-4852 phone
(206) 685-0668 fax