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Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre (Aus)

Qianghua Chen Anne's Story

My story. I am Anne. I came from China. I have been in Australia for two years. I like to tell you my story to learn English. In China, I am a maths teacher in high school. I taught maths for thirty years. We used computers in home teaching. I also wrote teaching methods books. My students are working in Australia, and in America and England. In China, I am a bit important. I felt I am a very useful person, so no time to learn English. My English is zero.

After I came here, everywhere is in English. My eyes couldn’t see, my mouth couldn’t speak, my ears couldn’t hear, and my hands couldn’t write. I felt I was a useless person. I couldn’t shop, I couldn’t take the bus, I couldn’t go out, and I couldn’t tell my story to you. I was not happy. I hadn’t any friends.

And then I came to Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre to learn English in Manjit’s class. I got all the help now. I can speak a little English. I can go shopping. I can take the bus to go out. I can tell my story to you. I like it here. Now I am feeling happy. My teacher Manjit has raised me up.

Jian San Wang's Story

My name is Jian San, I come from China. I didn’t know English. I was meeting people in the street, I didn’t know words, so I felt embarrassed. After learning English here, I love meeting people in the street. I know they are talking to me. I feel great now. I feel comfortable.

Ming Zheng's Story

My story. My name is Ming. I came from China in 1998 with my husband and my son. My family all came here. First life in Australia was very difficult, so the first thing was to make a living.

Previously in my country, I was a maths teacher. But coming to Australia, my English was not good. So previous experience… I couldn’t do it. So I had to do physical labour.

My son finished university. I can learn English now. I am retired. I learn English in the Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre. If I am like the deaf and the blind and the dumb, my life is very inconvenient, so I am determined to learn English. My teacher is Manjit. Manjit taught us very well, so I have been in the English conversation class. Now I have been learning nearly three years. Now I can go to shopping, I can ask the price, where something is – I can ask. Sometimes I go to hospital. I can have a conversation with the doctor – simple. For example, I lost my filling. I can speak – simple. Then I can go out, by tram, by bus, and now I can see my friends, greeting to everyone.

I usually learn English by learning grammar in the home by myself, but in the class I practise speaking, listening. I think I’ve improved. Now Manjit, if he says something, I understand. I feel very happy. Stronger than before. The first time, I was very sad, very worried. I couldn’t speak, couldn’t listen. Now I am strong. Now I am very happy.

Jian Kui Peng's Story

My name is Jian Kui Peng. I come from China. I came to Australia for my family because I have three sons; they are all in Australia. So I and my wife came to Australia for a family reunion. In the beginning, coming to Australia, everything for me was very strange. Everything I didn’t know.

Then, slowly, I came to Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre, to learn English, the AMEP English – 510 hours class. Then it was strange to know something, to look at something. I can to a poor man for a daughter, I can go shopping, I can catch the bus and train, I can talk with neighbours, for connecting with communities. For my spirit, I am very happy; not alone, very alone. Now I can connect with other people, with the community. I am very happy. It is slow, learning English in the Learning Centre, as a family. We learn English, we learn with each other, learn in the group.

Life for me is very happy; not at home alone for me, only for me and my wife. Because my son goes to work, he is not at home. I came to this school for many classmates, many schoolmates, brothers and sisters as a family. We are learning with each other, we help each other, we are very happy. I learn English to enrich my life and my spirit. Always to use my brain, I can avoid some sickness. This brain has always to be used.

Zhiyuan Cheng's Story

My story. I am from China. I was working in a shipping company for international shipping. I learnt English in China, in night school, like college. Then I used some English during my working life. I had to send cable, send fax and some things in English to the other companies overseas. Usually I can write and read some English, but listening and speaking is not good.

I came here as my son is working here. I found I could not hear. Some people’s English I could understand, but in Australia, most people come from everywhere around the world. It is just like the U.N. with so many different accents, including mine. I speak English, other people cannot understand me, and I cannot understand others as well. I can read and I can write some, and then they can understand me. So I came here to learn English, and to correct my accent, and to understand other people with different accents. My memory is not so good. I learn a word here, tomorrow I will forget it. So I have to keep my mind and my English fresh.

I was taking a train, and the announcement that the train stopped, I couldn’t understand it. Other passengers were getting off the train, and I couldn’t understand. I asked the other passengers what happened. They said that the driver told us the train will not go further, they have to stop here, and they have some trouble. So everybody has to get off the train, and then take the bus to go on. So I hope I can learn more English and understand other people, so I can understand what the announcements say, so I cannot get lost.

Mohua Wang's Story

I came to Australia in 1994. My name is Mohua. Before I came from China, Beijing, I was working in the Beijing Telecommunications Institute. I designed computer equipment for telecommunications. I was a telecommunications engineer. I did this work for twenty-nine years. Then I came to Australia. My English was no good, so I couldn’t do this work. I couldn’t do anything. The time I came here, twenty-two years ago, I learned English, but I couldn’t do it well, so sometimes I felt life was difficult. I see my daughter. I can’t listen. I can’t answer.

So I like learning English.

A few years ago, I came here, learning English for Manjit. I feel my English is improved, so I like to continue learning. I like this class. I like continuing learning. If they make more time, that will be better I think. My grandson goes to school, comes back and talks English, I don’t understand, so that feels difficult. I am older, so it’s difficult. But I like learning… and yes, I like coming to class.

Tutor Perspective: Manjit Bhamral

Actually, last term when we were talking about this class, and they were telling me that they come here to learn English, but also they come here to meet each other. Life is quite lonely or difficult, or a challenge. But then they come here, and they forget so many things. Or they are one with each other, and then they make different programs, sometimes also out of class, to go somewhere sometimes, and through this class, coming to know each other, they join other groups as a result. It’s so good for their self-esteem, coming here. Just before you came, we were talking, there’s not such a huge jump in my English, but here I feel good, just to be at peace, meeting other people, seeing that other people face similar challenges. It takes a lot of courage to talk.

Very difficult when you don’t have the language because, when I am doing a lot of speaking activities, I can see in your eyes you understand, but it’s not coming out because you don’t have the language. You’re all adults, and so many of you are older than me and you’ve got life experiences which (you) share with me. It’s just the language that hinders. Very challenging.

From my experience of learning a language, when I came to Australia, I had the language, but I felt like I was Somebody in my country, and I was Nobody here. It took a lot of time and patience to become Somebody. Now I know people know my name. Now I know that when I go somewhere, people come and talk to me. Before, I would be in a crowd, and nobody knew me, and I knew nobody, and it was a very strange feeling. And I found Australia to be very big and vast, and I was lost, I was lost. And it’s the same Australia, but I have an identity now, so I understand what you say (Mohua).

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