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Breaking the Language Barrier
What’s it like to live in a country where you can’t talk?
Imagine leaving your home country for another one where you’re separated from society by a language barrier, not being able to talk to anyone and unable to express whatever you want to say or answer or ask questions.
Imagine a primary school student having to go through this isolation.
They won’t understand anything handed to them, and information becomes meaningless. They can’t ask questions or answer any. They could even get bullied at school or made fun of because they can’t speak.
That was me.
A few years prior graduating primary school I was sent overseas specifically to learn Korean. I knew only so little of the language and I could barely communicate growing up. I couldn’t understand what the teachers were saying or anything about the students. My English, childhood, education, and confidence in society has been greatly affected from this.
So how can we prevent school students growing up in isolation because of language barriers?
International schools dedicate themselves to teaching students that are not native to the school’s host country. If the international school was Australian, then they would teach those who speaks English as a second or even a third language. If the international school is located in China, they would teach those who don’t speak Chinese as their first language.
So, send them to international schools then, you’d say. Everything would be fine, except that international schools are not as common as normal schools. For instance, in Melbourne, while there are many schools that helps international students there are only four schools that directly specialises in teaching international students entirely.
Another point I’d like to make would be tuitions.
Tuitions are smaller schools or institutions that specialises in teaching individual or small group of students. If there were institutes dedicated towards helping international students with schoolwork, it would benefit the students and increase their academic results. They would also help shorten the language barrier gap, so the student would be able to accustom themselves into the society they now live in.
Australia has over 645,000 students that come from an international country; a good percentage of them do not speak English very well or at all. A lot of them are people who intend to study English, or have families arriving for work, or maybe they want to leave their old life behind them. Classes or programmes for international students would be very beneficial for these foreigners. This has already been implemented by several schools in Australia already but some of them are not taken seriously or simply are not developed enough.
I have emailed a former teacher of an international school to enquire how we can thin the language barrier and allow international students to make themselves comfortable in society. She said, “International students should take international programs more seriously.”
Not only would further development into improving programs for international students would be effective for their education and convenient for them, but the international students themselves taking the programs they’ve been given seriously would help thin this language barrier. It’s not too hard, and it’ll be worth it; to help break that barrier that separates students with the rest of the country.