Learning English in Australia
Guest article by Elly Beolchi
Australia is now the third most popular destination for international students around the world, according to latest Australian government statistics. Indeed, over the last ten years, Australia has recorded a dramatic increase in the number of international students who have come to study or work Down Under, with a peak in 2017.
Truth to be told though, the Australian dream is not as easy to achieve as it is often believed. YES, there are great work opportunities and YES Australia needs specific workers, such as chefs, IT or nurses, BUT if you wish to stay, work and/or study in Australia, a country with a strong economy and stable socio-political situation, you will need to learn English. English proficiency is, in fact, one of the requirements to obtain a work visa in Australia.
Like everywhere else, the native language of a country is tested in every aspect of a person’s life: From going shopping, visiting the doctor, and studying to managing one’s everyday interactions with any local, state or federal government department. At the start of their life in Australia, a lot of migrants tend to live and work within their own communities, where they can comfortably speak their native language and not worry about mingling with the locals. This microcosmic life, however, usually only lasts until they are offered the opportunity of a permanent visa, which comes along with the scary English proficiency exam. Do you really think that a customer at a restaurant will speak Italian to his Italian waiter? Unfortunately, not. This means that English proficiency is not only important to stay in Australia from a visa point of view, but it is a requirement to be able to find and perform a job.
This article briefly wants to realistically and genuinely help those who are thinking of relocating to Australia by passing on this important message: If you can’t speak the language, Australia – like any country in the world – will not make your life easy.
Speaking English is not only an ability to use the language to express thoughts and feelings, it is also the ability to understand a culture in its many aspects. Little details such as tone of voice, pitch, word stress and endless grammar forms help us express needs, mood and opinions. Without the knowledge of these, we run the risk of misinterpreting and miscommunicating our intentions, which could lead to unwanted consequences, such as failing a proficiency language exam or a job interview in English.
When browsing through endless work and/or study opportunities, communication is always an essential prerequisite required by prospective employers as well as educational providers. Being able to communicate means not only being able to read, write, speak and listen but also to understand the history and diverse culture that shaped this country.
This is why genuine English courses are strongly encouraged for all the foreign nationals who want to live in Australia. Studying English Down Under will be a life experience because of the added value of multiculturalism that students can experience here. Genuine English language courses offer modern and cutting-edge programs, with teachers who are highly qualified and must meet strict requirements.
Schools like SMEAG English offer a wide range of courses, including IELTS exam preparation, Cambridge FCE, CAE and PTE exam preparation, some of which are recognized by the Australian Government for migration purposes. Consequently, if you wish to succeed in Australia, to make a new life for yourself here, you will first need to demonstrate your ability to not only speak but also to understand the values, standards and culture that make this country so appealing. Spending a few months attending an English school would then be the perfect way to break the language barrier, gain confidence, make friends and start your new Australian life in the best possible way.
Remember, English proficiency is the key to your success and personal development in the land Down Under!
Elly Beolchi is Director of Studies at SMEAG English, an English Language school in the heart of Melbourne that specialises in training and developing the English skills of international students. For more information, visit www.smeag.com.au.
For more information about Migration Ways, a leading Melbourne immigration agency.