21 September 2019

English Conversation Group brings new communities together

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English Conversation Group volunteers

English Conversation Group volunteers at Belconnen. Photo: Supplied.

Every Thursday a diverse group of people meet at the Belconnen Library to chat and improve their English language skills in an informal and friendly environment.

Run by a group of Belconnen Community Service (BCS) volunteers, the free English Conversation Group encourages everyone to join in, no matter what their English language skills are.

The group runs during school terms every Thursday between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm, and each week around 30 participants attend to chat with each other and the volunteers.

It is a wonderful way to learn English in a casual, pressure-free setting.

Not all the volunteers are qualified teachers, but the group focuses on encouraging conversations between all the participants, rather than structured lessons.

English Conversation is the perfect place for people new to Canberra to meet people and find a sense of community.

Volunteer Ann Thorpe said while some of the participants are only practising their English for two hours a week, the classes work well.

“Students keep coming back, so they must feel they are getting something out of it,” Ann said.

“For me, I love the opportunity to learn about other cultures and how other people live.”

The volunteers split their students into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced classes to accommodate all English abilities.

“In the Beginners class we talk a lot about day-to-day living, especially food, exercise and family, which I find fascinating,” Ann said.

“Students are very helpful in supporting each other, translating if someone gets stuck.”

Many of the volunteers have been with the group for a long time, like Arifah who has been volunteering her time with English Conversation since 2015.

“I am always energised to meet my students,” Arifah said.

“They are the reason I wake up in the morning.”


When: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, Thursdays during school term
Where: Belconnen Library Community Room
Cost: Free.

To find out more about the English Conversation Group, visit the BCS website or call 02 6264 0200.

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