Australian Welcome for AMEP Students

The students of the STEPS’ Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) in Darwin have experienced a real taste of Australia as they participated in fun, interactive workshops that were classically Australian in nature.

The workshops were designed to offer the new migrants who have signed up for the upcoming AMEP classes an opportunity to connect and learn about life outside the classroom in the Northern Territory before they embark on their AMEP English studies this year.

Topics of the workshops included Australia’s Deadliest Animals, Quintessential Australian Stories such as the story of Vincent Lingiari, “From Little Things, Big Things Grow”, Red Dog and The Great Emu War. Disaster Preparation was also on the agenda, being very topical after the recent cyclone Marcus caused much damage to Darwin.

STEPS Group Australia’s lead AMEP teacher, David Cairns, said the students loved the different classes and really engaged with lively discussions, benefiting greatly from the social aspect of the workshops.

“The idea behind learning about classic Australian stories is that they help bring an understanding of culture,” David said.

“The students also really enjoy meeting new classmates, discovering new topics, excursions and guest speakers,” David said.

AMEP teacher Anne Lutton also believes the classes provide a different forum for learning and cover topics that form a necessary part of settling into Darwin’s life.

“As teachers, we also benefit from teaching in a different way, and gain the personal rewards from teaching the students here in this unique format,” Anne said.

Student Sharareh from Iran said she especially liked learning about the animals as did student Julia from China.

“Everything here is good for me, I am happy and I like improving my English and writing,” Sharareh said.

Before coming to Australia, I didn’t know about the animals, and I have even been in the water, as I wasn’t aware of the crocodiles,” Sharareh said.

“I like Australia because Darwin is a small town and life is quiet,” Julia said.

I liked the Australian stories’ workshop, especially Crocodile Dundee, as living in the outback is very different,” Julia said.

At the Palmerston classes, students had a visit from a registered wildlife carer and the opportunity to cuddle a baby wallaby.

STEPS Group Australia Palmerston Business Manager Yvonne Coleman said the students absolutely adored the visit.

“They were very engaged and asked a lot of questions, such as what do they eat, how long do the joeys stay with their mum, how big will they grow and how does the mother carry the baby in the pouch,” Yvonne said.

“The registered wildlife carer spoke about the types of Australian wallabies and the difference between wallabies and kangaroos, it was a wonderful way to introduce the migrant students to Australian wildlife and also have a cuddle,” Yvonne said.

Students in this year’s cohort come from various countries, including Bangladesh, Iran, India, Australia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Greece, Ukraine and Kenya.

STEPS Education and Training offers free adult English classes in Darwin and Alice Springs and welcomes new students. For more information on eligibility, please contact STEPS at amep@stepsgroup.com.au

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