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Volunteering as an ESL tutor in Australia

Ben Wang
Ben Wang is a volunteer in the Mission Australia Home Tutor Scheme.

ABC: Allison Chan

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Learning English can feel daunting but there are a number of services that exist to equip you with English skills for living in Australia. One of these services is Mission Australia's Home Tutor Scheme - an Australian charitable program, which trains volunteer ESL tutors and matches them with clients who they meet with regularly.

Ben Wang first visited Australia when he was ten years old, travelling from Taiyuan in the Shanxi province in Northern China.

It became his "childhood dream" to live in Australia and he moved to Australia in Year 10 of high school - to attend boarding school in Brisbane.

For the most part, Ben found that he could immediately apply his "passion for learning English" in Australia. But there were elements of spoken English that were challenging.

Ben Wang teaching
Ben Wang believes that English language skills are important for integrating into Australian society.

ABC: Allison Chan

Ben has now lived in Australia for over seven years, and decided that volunteering as an ESL tutor for other migrants was a "great cause". Given Ben's interest he signed up with Mission Australia's Home Tutor Scheme, which matched him with a client in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). The AMEP program in Australia is available to permanent residents and a number of temporary visa holders.

Ben's client is Zhanjiu Wang, who moved to Sydney from Shenyan in the Liaoning province in North Eastern China five years ago. Zhanjiu has been learning English with Ben for about six months and is enthusiastic about learning English skills that he can apply in his job as a delivery driver.

Ben Wang and Zhanjiu Wang
Ben Wang tailors the lesson according to Zhanjiu Wang's needs.

ABC: Allison Chan

Each week, Ben and Zhanjiu meet at a library for a one hour English lesson that Ben tailors to Zhanjiu's needs.

So what advice do Zhanjiu and Ben have for other learners who are looking to move to Australia but don't yet have fluent English skills?

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