Pakistan to Palmerston: A man on a mission
For Afghani born Ramzan Ali (Kabeer) moving to Australia was a huge step, one Kabeer knew he had to make to be with his Australian wife.
“I used to live in Pakistan and my wife lived here (in Australia) and we used to talk on the phone. For three or four years I spoke to my wife every day,” said Kabeer.
Moving across the world to a country where you are unfamiliar with the language and culture can be a huge challenge. For Kabeer, finding STEPS Palmerston was life changing.
“When I first moved to Darwin my English wasn’t very good and I wanted to improve, that’s why I joined STEPS at Palmerston,” he said.
“At the beginning when I used to speak to my wife on the phone, my English grammar was not very good. When I joined STEPS, they helped me to speak, write and listen.
“The teachers are really helpful, and they help us with everything. I think, what would I do without them. They’re really good.”
Not only did STEPS help Kabeer learn and improve his English skills, but they also helped Kabeer upskill in his endeavour to find work.
“STEPS helped me get my forklift license, my white card and my first aid certificate and at the moment I am doing my business course,” he said.
“My goal is to start my own business, my own import/export business and I am going to enrol in some more courses to help me to learn.
“They are really really helpful, I love them and they have helped me with everything. I don’t know what I would do with them, they are so helpful. They are fabulous.
Kabeer offers some sound advice for those thinking of making the move to Australia.
“In Darwin, the people are really friendly and helpful, and I find Darwin very beautiful,” he said.
“I find that when people learn English in their own countries, it’s not learning how to speak Australian with the slang we have here, so I would suggest that it is important for them to learn English when they come to Australia if they really want to understand people, they need to improve their Australian English.”
For Kabeer, the advice extends to a much more structured approach.
“Firstly, I think people should improve their English and then start applying for jobs,” he said.
“If their English is not good and they start applying for jobs, they will reject them because of their English. It is a very important language to know.”
If you or someone you know is interested in learning English language skills, STEPS AMEP can help. We have classes in Alice Springs, Palmerston and Casuarina. Call 08 8950 7600 to find out more about classes in Alice Springs and 1300 585 868 for classes in Palmerston and Casuarina.
The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs.