by Paul Bidmeade
Director of the East Adelaide Language Institute Annie Fredj, who spent time in an Austrian refugee camp as a child, has helped many migrants improve their English.
Specialising in helping migrants with IELTS tests, Mrs Fredj was born in communist Hungary and was one of thousands of refugees who came to Australia from Eastern Europe during the Soviet Union era.
“I was two at the time, so I can’t recall a lot. I remember wearing second-hand clothes, eating way too many canned baked beans, and watching Play School with Mum and Dad to learn English together,” she said.
Her current role as Director of the East Adelaide Language Institute focusses on quality individual English lessons for migrants.
“If you come all the way to Australia then make the best of it. Travel, talk with people, and get involved in groups and activities. It’s all this that will help new migrants find a sense of belonging and purpose, plus it will speed up language learning.”
Annie Fredj came to the Migration Solutions office to show off some vital IELTS learning books.
Mrs Fredj has five key tips to passing the IELTS tests:
- Firstly, go to the IDP (Internationally Displaced Person) test centre. They have a lot of information that you can pick up for free about the IELTS exam. They are there to help you, not scare you.
- Be realistic about it – a person can improve on average 0.5 points over six months. Don’t think you can cram two months’ work of English lesson into two weeks.
- Use free online resources such as the Cambridge English website where they give tips on each section of both general and academic exams.
- Prepare well for the exam day – get enough sleep, drink enough water, have a nutritious breakfast, and arrive ahead of time.
- Immerse yourself with English for a few hours before the exam, so you are not mentally switching from your native language to English just before the exam.
The Director of the East Adelaide Language Institute believes that a firm grasp of English is an important factor for migrants to become part of Australian society.
However, she has also backed Migration Solutions Managing Director Mark Glazbrook’s recommendation that skilled migrants need a functional level ( IELTS average 4.5 in each part of the test) of English when applying for trade based occupations on a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa.
“While it is critical for new migrants to be able to communicate well enough in English in order to find their place in the community, they don’t need to have an IELTS level six score. If a skilled baker was looking for a position, I believe the most important criteria would be to ensure that the job is stable, long-term, and that the individual is well prepared for and willing to accept living in a regional area,” she said.