It’s not always easy for immigrants to feel at home in a new country, and this is amplified when they can’t speak the local language. As Australia is home to a diverse selection of people from different cultures it is common to come across members of the community who don’t have a good grasp of the English language. Citizens of our wonderful and prosperous nation come from all walks of the globe, and have come to us through a huge number of different circumstances. This country was build on immigration with a large percentage of our population having come from places such as Hong Kong, Greece, Ireland and China. We need to be as welcoming to these people as we can to help them feel at home in their new country, but doing this is much easier if they are able to communicate with their neighbours and other people in their local communities.
Here at study circles we have organized dialogues with local community groups in a effort to help educate new members of the community to learn English. Lead by a team of English Tutors who have been working in Hong Kong understand the difficulties associated with learning a new language, a plan was put together to guide interested parties on practical steps to helping others. Following their plan on helping non-English speaking members of the community learn through ongoing interaction and acceptance has brought many communities closer together. We hope that more members of the Australian public will take initiative to help those in need integrate and feel welcomed here.
The government here has set up classes for members of society interested in improving their English, but often these lessons are quite basic. Some immigrants opt for private tuition but often the cost of this is prohibitive, especially considering the circumstances under which many of them came here under. For members of the community, especially the elderly who seem to have less interaction with the general public than younger generations, learning English can be quite a chore. For those that cannot afford an English tutor it can be quite difficult to learn without community involvement in support.
If you would like to help new members of your neighbourhood to feel more welcome, start by saying hello whenever you see them and try and have a chat with them whenever you can. If we all think globally but act locally we can make a huge difference to the lives of others and the welfare of the entire populous. Helping others to feel at home in Australia is not just the job of somebody else, it is the job of every one of us. Make a difference in your local community. It all starts with “hello”.