Learning English in Australia
Dr. Seamus Fagan University of Newcastle Language Centre
Over the last ten years, Australia has become a favoured destination for students wishing to undertake English language training. More and more students are studying English, in regional cities and towns rather than in large cities. The reasons for this movement arose from a perception that there are too many students from their own country in the language centres of the major cities, a sense of adventure, a perception that regional cities and towns represent the 'real Australia', and that people in these cities and towns are friendlier.
Regional cities and towns are also less expensive places to live, especially with regard to accommodation and everyday living costs. Students also enjoy the ease of visiting the Australian countryside, and in some cases the famous Australian outback.
Newcastle, located on the east coast of Australia, 145 kms north of Sydney (the Olympic City), is one of the regional centres that has become extremely popular with students. Newcastle is famous for its magnificent surfing beaches and easy access to the famous vineyards of the Hunter Valley. People come from all over the world to the famous surfing beaches which have produced world champion surfers. Forty minutes away is Nelson Bay, which has year-round dolphin cruises, and whale cruises at certain times of the year. Thirty minutes west of Newcastle are the vineyards of the Hunter Valley, where students can enjoy wine tasting and tours of the wineries.
The Language Centre, located in the heart of the University of Newcastle, offers a wide variety of English language programs, including General English and English for Academic Purposes. For example, there is an English and internship program, where participants undertake a prescribed English language course, followed by work placement in their area of choice in either Newcastle or Sydney. Upon successful completion of the English for Academic Purposes course, many of the Centre's students go on to further study at the University of Newcastle, with its comphrensive range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs, including medicine, engineering, arts, architecture, law, science and nursing.
A unique program offered by the Centre is a 'buddy program' for all Centre students. On arrival, students who indicate an interest in having a 'buddy' are paired with an Australian student who will assist them with conversation practice and Australian culture.
The Centre has excellent language learning facilities, including large air-conditioned classrooms, a computer laboratory with free internet access for all Language Centre students, a computerised language laboratory, two audio language laboratories, and a video laboratory.
Students of the Language Centre have access to excellent facilities, including a new sports centre, with an Olympic-size swimming pool, a gymnasium, squash ,tennis, and volleyball courts. In addition, the Student Union Building,which is located in close to the Centre, contains a cafeteria, coffee shop and a bank.
Newcastle offers a wide range of reasonably priced accommodation, including four halls of residences, homestay with an Australian family, and shared accommodation in an apartment, or house.
Centres like Newcastle are also popular for group study tours, because of the variety of activities on offer and the perceived safety of its environs. Participants normally have homestay with an Australian family, and the study tours combine English language tuition with afternoon and weekend tourist and cultural activities. English for specific purposes courses are also available for groups wanting to develop their knowledge in areas such as business, the environment and health, as well as their English skills.
For students looking for a unique learning experience in a relaxing, friendly city convenient to Sydney, Newcastle is an ideal location.
Dr. Seamus Fagan
University of Newcastle Language Centre
University of Newcastle
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Phone: +61 2 4921 5000