Can you think of anything better than taking an English class in a beautiful location that boasts 283 days of sunshine every year and rarely has the temperature drop below 20 degrees celsius?
Welcome to Brisbane — the capital city of Queensland, third-largest city in Australia and gateway to many of the state's prime tourist destinations, including the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Moreton Island, Lamington National Park and Sea World.
While Brisbane is certainly popular with tourists, it is also an ideal study location for an international student. Not only are there three universities and a host of English language schools and classes, Brisbane also has comparatively low tuition fees and has one of the lowest costs of living of Australia's capital cities. This means accommodation is affordable for international and local students alike.
Whether you are looking for English lessons as a general course for just a few weeks, or your intention is to stay for several years to complete academic study, Brisbane may be the perfect destination for you.
Keep reading to discover more about the English classes Brisbane has to suit your needs.
Formal Courses: English for Beginners Through to Advanced Levels
English has long been considered the international language of trade and economics. For this reason, many students wish to get a solid grounding in the language at a formal, school-based level. Such courses may be required as preparation for entry into university academic study, or they may be necessary for work purposes.
Either way, there is nothing better than English lessons combined with in-country experience as a student learning a new language.
University Level English Courses
As an international student, you will need an IELTS or TOEFL ranking to enrol in a university in Australia. However, even with an IELTS score, you will probably find it highly useful to enrol in the English lessons offered by some universities prior to beginning your degree.
In Brisbane, the following universities have a range of preparation courses:
- Queensland University of Technology
- offers an English Language Program and a Pathway Program, both designed to prepare students for academic study in English.
- University of Queensland enrols students in a wide range of programs
- exam preparation, including IELTS
- online courses from beginner to advanced levels, and including social outings
- training, such as TESOL, to enter a teaching career
- English for specific fields, including business and retail, as well as general courses
- Griffith University, through the Griffith English Language Institute, delivers English language programs to over 1000 students a year from approximately 50 countries.
These are just three of the many tertiary sites throughout Queensland that provide academic English language tuition for a variety of purposes. The Study Queensland website contains a wide range of information for students looking to study in other areas of the north-eastern state.
English Language Schools
Institutions that provide targeted English language instruction are plentiful in Australia, and particularly in Queensland.
Each school has its own specialisation, from general English programs for daily life through to job-specific communication classes. Course lengths vary from a week or several weeks to a year or more of intensive study.
A Language School is a great place to start your 'life in Australia journey' as it not only offers the practise and upskilling you need but can also include travel, sightseeing or other social opportunities. Some schools, such as LSI Brisbane, offer the full range of targeted and general courses where you can study anything from conversational English to English for medicine.
If you're an international student, you may wish to consider English schools that specialise in:
- English for business or professional purposes: IH Brisbane, English Unlimited, Kaplan International
- Academic English: EC English, Navitas, Union Institute of Language
- Work and Study English courses: Brown's English Language School
As mentioned above, the Study Queensland site shows a large number of Language Schools beyond those listed here.
Primary and Secondary Education Settings
Parents who are in Australia for work or study-related purposes will need to enrol their children in school. As with the rest of the country, each public school in Brisbane will have access to EAL/D (English as a Second Language or Dialect) support which your child may be eligible for. There are no additional fees involved in this service.
EAL/D support may include:
- targeted in-class assistance from an EAL/D teacher
- short periods of withdrawal from class for targeted support
- intensive English language class
- support or counselling services
- interpreter services
Free Community-Run English Lessons
It is not uncommon for public libraries or community centres to run regular conversation classes for new migrants or family members whose spouse has been transferred to Brisbane for work. These classes are usually run by volunteers and are often free (or request a gold-coin donation in place of set fees). They are a great way to meet Australians and other residents alike, all while improving your English communication and confidence.
Brisbane actually seems to be one of the best capital cities in terms of finding free conversation classes. Look up Your English Corner for a list of nearly 40 classes throughout Brisbane alone. Also check out your local library, shops or town hall for information, and don't forget the Adult Migrant English Program offered by TAFE Queensland.
Online English Lessons
If you are living in Brisbane for work-related reasons, it may be that an online English course is the best for you because of its flexibility.
Massive Open Online English Course (MOOEC)
MOOEC started in Brisbane and caters for all levels of English acquisition. The course does not entirely replace face to face teaching but offers an alternative, particularly for those who are unable to attend regular face-to-face sessions throughout the week.
MOOEC is available as a free resource for community use. It is divided into specific categories, that include:
- writing (paraphrasing, sentence structure, grammar, test preparation)
- reading (passages and articles on global issues)
- listening (tips, presentations, questions, topical issues)
- speaking (phonemes, presentations)
- short courses (grammar, full English course)
You can choose your level, from beginners to intermediate, and set your own pace.
Other Online Resources and Classes
A quick Google search will reveal an abundance of English learning resources, from games, songs and podcasts to study guides and mini-units of work. These resources are often free and are ideal for preparation purposes, revision and supplementary study to complement your face-to-face classes.
Some sites with useful online resources include:
- the Australian site for the British Council (resources include adult, teens and kids' lessons, graduated units, games and more)
- ABC Learn English website contains a range of topical written articles, as well as videos and listening materials
A range of language apps are also available for mobile devices, such as Duolingo, Babbel and Hello English. Many of these are also free, but you will need to test them out to see which ones suit your level and your needs.
Online Group Tutorials
Many language schools also offer their classes, or sections of their lessons, in the online environment. This is something you will need to confirm with your chosen school.
Why not have a look at the opportunities available with Superprof? Search the tutor profiles to see if they are able to do group lessons via webcam. Superprof tutor rates start from as low as $20 an hour, depending on location and the experience of the tutor.
The advantage of employing a teacher or tutor to run your group lessons is the flexibility to have them tailor the sessions to your individual or group needs. Whether you need specific English for beginners' content, or more advanced business-based focus lessons, a group session allows for free communication in a close to natural setting.
Learning One-on-One with a Private Tutor
For some people, particularly those who are complete beginners, the idea of enrolling in a group course or language school might be a little intimidating. This is where a private tutor is perfect.
With a private ESL tutor, you can negotiate the day and time of your lesson, the place it will be held and the content. If you are new to Australia, or have recently moved to Brisbane, your tutor may even be willing to make a shopping trip into a lesson, or show you how to access public transport—there is really no limit to what you can do.
Community noticeboards in public libraries, community halls, shopping centres and universities and schools often have advertisements placed by private tutors.
Of course, Superprof should also be one of the first places to look. Take your time to look through the 260 or so ESL tutors registered in the Brisbane region alone—you're sure to find someone who can meet your English needs at a price you can afford.
Not only does Queensland have the nicest weather in Australia, but the English classes Brisbane has on offer are also amongst the best in the country.