For a majority of international students, one of the biggest hurdles to living in a country like Australia is to overcome the language barrier. From the Australian accent all the way through to Australian idioms, many international students may struggle to comprehend what’s been taught in class or have a hard time engaging in conversation with others.
Fortunately, there are several places that students in Melbourne can physically visit if they wish to improve their grasp over the English language.
City of Melbourne libraries
Not to be confused with the major State Library of Victoria across the road from Melbourne Central, City of Melbourne’s three libraries — the City Library, Kathleen Syme Library and Library at the Docks — has an ESL Conversation Club for those from a non English-speaking background.
ESL stands for English as a Second Language, which pretty much includes most international students. These classes are free and facilitated by a native English speaker. Classes are held regularly at each of the three libraries at different times and are specifically tailored towards adult learners. Although they are free, seats are limited so do get in early to ensure you secure a spot!
Depending on which library is closer you may want to check to see which times are most convenient also for you to attend.
More information on the ESL Conversation Club can be found at the City of Melbourne’s libraries and communities page.
As its name suggests, Language Connection is an organisation that aims to unite people and create communities through dialogue and language. Mentors who come through Language Connection are often from different countries, many of whom possess a great deal of experience in education, multi-language-teaching, intellectual communication, social network management and leadership training! With a deep pool of knowledge to tap into, students really should look to Language Connection for a chance to not only meet others but engage in fun conversations in English too (or whichever language it is that you wish to improve in!).
Language Connection participant Henry, a South Korean student from RMIT, says that he enjoyed taking part in their weekly language exchange events. He says that with a bunch of people from different cultures all gathered in the one room to communicate, it makes learning language fun. These weekly sessions are usually broken up into sections where participants take prat in Q&As, play truth or dare and even engage in lively debates on specific topics. Moreover, Henry says he’s made many friends here and points towards Language Connection as playing an important role in improving his English skills.
For more on Language Connection, refer to Meld’s feature story on the organisation. To find out when their next language exchange session will take place, check out their Meetup page or visit their official website.
Study Melbourne Student Centre
One place that every international student should know about is the Study Melbourne Student Centre, a first-of-its-kind institute devoted to servicing and improving the lives of Melbourne’s international students. If you have a question or concern regarding issues involving your visa, employment, accommodation or general experience in Melbourne, the friendly team at the Study Melbourne Student Centre would be the best place to go to for consultation and advice.
While Study Melbourne Student Centre doesn’t quite give the students direct access to English support at its building, what the staff at Study Melbourne Student Centre can do is tap into its network to find the the right service for you or direct you to the right places that offer the services you’re after. If you need to improve your English or need information on how to go about it, Study Melbourne Student Centre can support you by giving what you need to know.
At the end of the day, it’s all about ensuring that international students are happy with their study experience abroad and with that comes being able to understand course material set to them as well as being able to enjoy quality time with friends they make in and outside of class.
To find out more on the Study Melbourne Student Centre, visit their website.
This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.