English Language Programs for Migrants and Refugees
The Sydney Multicultural Community Services North Sydney office runs highly successful English conversational skills classes each Monday and Wednesday. Current students are predominantly newly arrived migrants and refugees living on the north shore. The groups are ably led by volunteers.
Before commencing this project we consulted with various community members and local service providers such as TAFE, as language skills were the main barrier to successful integration into the community and to obtaining work.
We advertise our services via local flyers and through the Lower North Shore Multicultural Network and Inter Agency meetings and forums. Word of mouth from past and current students also plays a part.
The students have been able to improve their social skills in English and many friendships have ensued. In addition to improving their language skills, they are learning about Australian culture as well as contributing cultural stories of their own.Many of our students have obtained paid jobs and volunteer work and have also enrolled in further education courses.
We have made a number of excursions including visits to the Discovery Museum in The Rocks, the Opera House, Hornsby and Kurringai Community College, China Town in Chatswood, St Leonards TAFE, the Coal Loader Terminal at Balls Head Reserve, Harmony Day in Crows Nest and an on-site barbecue.
Our volunteers spend considerable time researching how best to teach conversational English and they also seek feedback from our students on what they would like to learn about.