Student Life

International students flock to TAFE’s intensive English course

By Zaid Siddiqui @newsbyzaid

TAFE Ultimo offers an opportunity for international students from across the world to study English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).

Janne Culbert currently is the manager of TAFE NSW Language Centre and the head teacher at the ELICOS faculty in TAFE Ultimo.

“At the moment there are 170 students, we have some students on a student visa and they’re continuing maybe on to TAFE or university,” Culbert said. “But we have also a quite a few students who are just here as group, they come in a group and they’re called a study tour, so there might be a group of 30 students or 10 students and they’re only here for a short period of time and they’re on a tourist visa.”

International students at TAFE Ultimo come from 26 different nationalities but student numbers from Korea are especially high.

“At the moment Korean because Koreans have a holiday, they’re on their summer holiday, their long holiday break, and that’s why we’ve got a lot of Korean students coming on study tours,” she said.

Other countries where international students come from include Japan, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, India, East Timor, Columbia, China, Chile, Vietnam, Thailand, and Taiwan.

International students studying in Australia has increased since the borders opened to them in late 2021. TAFE and Universities have then had success in enrolling international students.

When the borders closed in early 2020 international students could not enter Australia which affected education institutions such as TAFE.

“Yes, absolutely, when the borders closed, we basically had the students that were onshore, so we did get new students but instead of getting 20 – 25 students every five weeks we got one or two and that was because they were here, they were onshore, and they needed to continue studying or they would have had to go home,” Culbert said. “We went down to about 50 students, we had no more coming into the country.”

The many students studying the course learn basic skills of English.

“Just the four skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking – so it’s general English until about up intermediate level and then there is another course where they do academic study, they learn strategies for going to university,” the head teacher said.

A staff member of the department said there is around 12 teachers that teach the course at TAFE Ultimo.

Featured image: The room where it happens at TAFE Ultimo. Photo: Zaid Siddiqui

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