Language Schools for Expats in Australia

Submitted: July 2013

Originally founded as a British colony and under British rule for over 110 years, Australia’s main language is English; about 97% of the population speaks it fluently. Hence, it is possible to go about one’s daily business using only English, and many expats from Western countries do this as it is their language of choice. Nevertheless, Australia has an open immigration policy and there are numerous language schools in Australia that cater to English learners. Many of these are geared towards people from Asian countries.

Tuition fees for courses at Australian language schools vary greatly, depending on the number of lessons, student level and in some cases location. Course fees are usually calculated on a weekly basis and can be as much as A$2,000 per week or even more. Most language schools help students to find accommodation, with some even meeting students at the airport. Accommodation may mean living with a local ‘host family’, which grants the opportunity to practice speaking English every day.

In selecting a language school for either yourself or your family, you should be sure to ask about their teaching quality standards, such as whether their teachers are TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certified. TEFL certification serves as a primary indicator of the quality of education provided. Language schools are not easily ranked as not all their students go on to take international English exams such as IELTS. However, you should ask the school to put you in touch with past or current students who can testify to the strength of the school. Most language schools incorporate some form of sightseeing into their teaching programmes; these allow students to get an insight into Australian culture and history. You might like to enquire whether your prospective school offers such excursions.

While there are not any established league tables, one indicator of the quality of English language tuition is accreditation by the National ELT Accreditation Scheme of Australia. You should consult with this Scheme to verify the accreditation status of your perspective school.

There is a list of the English language schools that are available in Australia here: Additionally, information on selected language schools by the International Association of Language Centres may prove useful. Note that there is no need not wait until you arrive in Australia to improve your English, as a wealth of free resources on the Internet is available. Particularly useful is the BBC’s Learning English website.

Additionally, there are a number of schools that offer tuition in languages other than English. Some language schools in Australia focus on a wide range of languages rather than just English, so you are guaranteed to find an institution which can cater to this desire. Some public universities have a ‘school of languages studies’ with one such being the National University. Notably, they offer courses in French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish while they claim to be ranked 9th in the world in Linguistics. Other universities may have similar departments, varying in the languages and the levels at which they are offered.




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