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Learning for change

Published Tuesday 21 March 2017
  • Education and Employment

The opportunity to learn a new language is always an exciting prospect, and for many, it is an important part of building a life in a new country.

Since January, Bilge Ozgun, Wesley Mission Queensland’s Diversity Officer has been hosting free English classes.

Eight students have been attending the weekly classes, which aim to improve their English language skills and increase their confidence for future employment opportunities.

One of these students is Allawiya, a young mother who came to Australia from Western Sudan three years ago with her son and husband.

Each week Allawiya travels by a train and bus from southern Brisbane to attend the lessons at Chermside. Her determination to improve her English and find a job is driven by her desire to provide for her son and her passion for learning.

“I am learning a lot and have learnt many new words. We learn through group situations, as well as individual learning opportunities,” said Allawiya.

“In class we are mainly focusing on speaking and listening, as well as reading. My favourite is speaking. I started learning English back in Sudan, but when I came here, I started to learn English much better.”

Each student engaged in the course has completed their Certificate III in Individual Support, and the lessons have been tailored to provide English skills in workplace settings.

“I have a certificate that I completed through Career Keys. The teachers were great and I learnt many skills and engaged in work placements,” said Allawiya.

However, the class has given each student much more than opportunity to upskill; it has also been a catalyst for making new friends and connections in the community.

“I have met people from different countries, which is very good as it gives me the opportunity to be exposed to different cultures. The best part of being here is the opportunity to make more friends and get a job. I want my son to grow up here, and I want to continue learning.”

Bilge Ozgun says she has seen tremendous growth in the students over the past couple of months.

“It’s a beautiful thing when many people gather together in the pursuit of knowledge. At every class I have been inspired by the students and their commitment to learning and supporting each other to reach new milestones,” she said.

The students will graduate from these classes in May 2017. 

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