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A refugee language program student sits at a desk during class.

Refugee Language Program

Giving recent arrivals the skills they need to make Australia home
Refugees often arrive with nothing – no friends, family or the language skills they need to find work and accommodation. Our program helps refugees learn English and build social networks in the Australian community.

Many of our refugee students come from violent, war-torn countries where they accumulate physical, emotional and psychological scars that come with them as they start their new lives in Australia.

Our program provides opportunities that aren’t available to them anywhere else. As well as free English language classes, we aim to break down social barriers for refugees by introducing them to Australian ideas and customs, and providing reading materials, social activities and volunteer mentors. Wherever possible, we guide these students in finding work.

About the program

We run four classes each week at our Camperdown campus, including individual tutoring sessions on Monday and Wednesday, and several classes on Saturdays. After weekend classes students are invited to have lunch with the program volunteers. This provides an opportunity for refugee students to feel more connected, and to engage with Australian culture, customs and traditions. The classes include:

  • Intermediate communication skills
  • Advanced communication skills
  • Conversation, technology and CVs
  • Individual tutoring groups.

Additional information

2020 Term 1 classes start on Saturday 22 February and conclude on 4 April.

Intermediate communication

  • Saturdays, 9.30am-12.30pm (from 22 February)
  • Venue: Room 434, Level 4, Education Building, Manning Road, Camperdown campus

Advanced communication (IELTS focus)

  • Saturdays, 9.30am-12.30pm (from 22 February)
  • Venue: Room 435, Level 4, Education Building, Manning Road, Camperdown campus

Conversation, technology and CVs

  • Saturdays, 1.30pm–3pm (from 22 February)
  • Venue: Mac Lab 224, Education Building, Manning Road, Camperdown campus

Individual tutoring

  • Mondays or Wednesdays, 5pm-7pm
  • Please email our program coordinator for more information 

To enrol, please complete this application form and email our program coordinator. Refugees holding Temporary Protection Visas, Bridging E Visas and Asylum Seekers in community detention are eligible for classes.

The program relies on the passion and generosity of our volunteers. Our tutors and mentors are made up of university staff, students, alumni and local community members. If you’d like to join our team, please complete this form and return via email to our program coordinator.

To refer a client, please complete the student application form with them and email our program coordinator. We will contact your client so we can assess their language skills and place them in a class or on our waiting list.

Support us

We depend entirely on private donations to fund our work.

By supporting the Refugee Language Program, you will be offering refugees access to these important opportunities, and giving our new friends the chance to make a home in Australia.


Lesley Carnus

Coordinator, Refugee Language Program