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Calling out for language volunteers

30 Jul 2019

The City of Melbourne is looking for English as a Second Language (ESL) volunteer teachers to start up conversation clubs at the Library at the Dock.

Last year, the clubs, currently running at the City Library, Kathleen Syme Library in Carlton and Southbank Library, had 2186 attendees from 51 different countries.

Annie Rubira, an ESL volunteer in Southbank, said the benefits of ESL for students went far beyond language.

“I think the greatest thing is a sense of connection, more so than language skills,” she said.

“I have quite a few people who come on a regular basis, some come occasionally, some are only here for a month.”

“But often when I’m leaving and saying goodbye, the participants are out the front of the library exchanging numbers and organising to do something else together.”

She said many of those in need of ESL lessons were isolated and found it difficult to break out of their own languages without the lessons.

“They might be here basically alone and only knowing their family at home, who they speak a different language to,” she said.

Ms Rubira said her best experience had been learning about other cultures.

“It’s a very informal structure. I have a conversation point at the start, but if the conversation goes in another direction we go with it.”

“So, we talk about the customs and cultures in other countries a lot.”

“We do a lot of laughing in our class, and I think ultimately you’re assisting people with their development and connections to each other.”

Volunteers should be native English speakers with good local knowledge of Melbourne and who can commit to one hour per fortnight for six months.

To volunteer follow this link: app.betterimpact.com/PublicEnterprise/EnterpriseSearch?EnterpriseGuid=a9eb2288-7b76-4a3a-a590-22fd12a5e5c6&SearchType=Organization&SearchId=25798

 

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