Throughout the world, over 1 billion people speak English, either as their mother tongue or as a foreign language. Alongside Mandarin, Spanish and Hindi, English regularly rates as one of the top four most widely spoken languages.

It's no surprise when you consider English has long been the global language of business and that, in 2008, a worldwide ruling was brought into play mandating the use of English by all pilots and air traffic controllers.

What about Australia?

Australia has a long migrant history — some of it is very colourful, some heart-wrenching.

Our most recent census (2016) noted that there are over 300 separately identified languages spoken in Australian homes, with approximately 50 of these (or less than 1 per cent of the total population) being actively spoken Australian Indigenous languages. Despite this high number of languages, just under 80 per cent of respondents stated they spoke English at home. Of the 4.9 million people who reported speaking other languages at home, only 820,000 felt they spoke English 'not well' or 'not at all'.

Australia has no official language, however, the majority of the Australian population are English speakers.

Where does this leave the long term non-English speakers, new immigrants or the close to 9 million international visitors who come to our shores each year (less than half of whom speak English as their native language)? Not to mention the close to 900,000 international students who arrive in Australia to study each year.

How many different languages are spoken in Australia?
Australia's cultural population is diverse, making it one of the best places to learn English as a second language. (Source: Unsplash Credit: Arie Wubben)

Everyone will have different reasons for wanting to learn English:

  • improve conversational skills to function more easily in day-to-day tasks, like shopping or buying tickets to an event
  • start learning English as a hobby
  • consolidate English language skills with a view to studying at university or becoming more globally employable
  • make new friends and experience new experiences

There is little doubt — if you are in Australia, whether to visit or stay, it would be prudent to take part in some form of English lessons. Luckily there are plenty of English classes to choose from.

So, if you're wondering 'Where are the best English classes near me?' — let Superprof kickstart your search.

English for Beginners

Perhaps you've never spoken English, or only studied a little bit of English grammar at school and, suddenly, you're going to Australia. You might have heard that one in four migrants say the English language is the hardest thing to tackle after arriving, but don't let that turn you off because we have a whole range of English for beginners style classes to choose from — all of them will soon see you gain confidence in your communication skills, improve your pronunciation and increase your fluency.

The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is a free Australian government-sponsored course for English language learners who are permanent residents or who hold eligible visas. AMEP classes are held in over 250 locations throughout Australia and offer a flexible learning environment with full-time, part-time or after-hours English lessons, as well as online courses.

Where can beginners find English speaking practice?
Supplement your English for Beginners lessons with casual conversation meetings to practise your English pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar in real-life situations. (Source: Unsplash Credit: Helena Lopes)

Many community centres and evening colleges around Australia run English as a Second Language classes or discussion groups for all levels, especially English for beginners. In these classes, you will often find a trained English teacher, or ESL teacher, as well as native speakers who are volunteers. Check out the education department in your state, ask at a migrant resource centre (usually located in capital cities) or even check for flyers at public libraries or shopping centres.

Of course, there are also a large number of online English lessons available. The ABC Learn English series has free lessons and podcasts targeted to non-native English speakers living in Australia, and Superprof offers a wide range of online classes and tutors to help you stay motivated and make the most of your time in an English speaking country.

Where Can I Find an English Speaking Course to Help Meet my Goals?

Your English learning goals are likely to be as varied as the English lessons available in Australia. Whether you are a beginner who wants to practise speaking English and listening comprehension, at an intermediate level and want to prepare for a proficiency exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, or perhaps you're at an advanced level and already fluent in English but are looking to specialise in business English or a scientific field  — you can achieve your goals here.

ELICOS (English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students)

ELICOS courses have developed in Australia over the last 20 years, and are among the best in the world. They are intensive English immersion courses, designed to prepare students for university courses or to enter the workforce, and can be found in almost every state in Australia.

EAP (English for Academic Purposes) and ESP (English for Specific Purposes)

Designed to hone in on your exact needs, whether it's admission to a university degree course, or preparation for entering the workforce in a specific field, EAP and ESP courses can be found at universities and TAFE institutions throughout Australia.

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

Like the EAP and ESP courses, TESOL courses are also run through TAFE institutions, and some universities, Australia wide. If you want to become an English teacher, either here in Australia, abroad or back in your home country, the TESOL course is what you need. TESOL courses can be done at certificate or degree level, and are also possible to do online. They are a great way to build your own English language skills and ability to speak English fluently, plus you get to delve into strategies and ways to learn and teach a second language.

All of these courses can be found throughout Australia, and are mostly face-to-face. However, many online tutors offer competitive rates and private, individually focused lessons. Have a look at what our Australian Superprof English tutors can offer you.

Learn English while touring Australia
English lessons in the morning, touring Australia's finest attractions in the afternoon - win, win! (Source: Unsplash Credit: Katie Jowett)

Study Tours

Travel around Australia, meet the locals, and start or continue learning a new language — can you think of a better way of learning English? A vast range of companies offer study tours of just about anywhere in Australia you want to visit, and for as little or as long as you like. The tours include daily intensive English study, then the opportunity to use what you've learned. How could you not want to learn English this way?

English Classes Near Me: So Many Options!

Results from the last census showed that over half of the population of international migrants live in either Sydney or Melbourne, and around 10 per cent each reside in either Perth or Brisbane/Gold Coast. It is surmised that this is because of employment opportunities, so it also stands to reason that there would be a higher concentration of English classes and English speaking courses in these areas.

English Lessons in Sydney

Sydney is Australia's largest, most cosmopolitan city and is famous for its beautiful harbour. Many of the best language learning institutions can be found in the heart of the city, and around Sydney Harbour. From smaller boutique language schools through to homestay opportunities where you can live with your English teacher, there are multiple options for people drawn to the capital city of New South Wales. Here's a specialised guide to help you find English courses in Sydney.

Try an English Speaking Course in Melbourne

Although the capital city of Victoria is Australia's second-largest city, it has a more relaxed, laid back feel than Sydney and the restaurant culture offers great opportunities to practise your speaking skills after class. Several Polytechnic Colleges are located throughout Melbourne and its surrounds, and the LAB English Language School, which offers homestay accommodation as well as a wide range of language courses, was founded in Melbourne in 2011.

English for Beginners (and More) in Perth

Perth is a whole world away for many Australians, but our western-most state has a lot to offer when it comes to lifestyle, culture and English courses. Owing to their distance from the rest of Australia, English language schools in Perth, such as the Perth International College of English, go above and beyond to provide a full range of course options, and Australian culture experiences.

Learn English in Brisbane and the Gold Coast

It's the sunny climate that draws many people to Queensland. With all sorts of ESL classes, from full-time intensive English courses to 'club-style' schools with an equal focus on language acquisition and social activities, if you enjoy the outdoor life as well as the nightlife, you will be spoilt for choice in the Sunshine State.

What About Australia's Capital City, Canberra? Are there English Classes Near Me?

Canberra may be small (and that's part of its charm) but it is a key destination for international students — some 20 per cent of students at the University of Canberra are from overseas! Because of this, there is a focus on ELICOS courses, but there is also an abundance of community-based English language groups, which provide support and social base as well as study opportunities. Here's a specialised guide to help you find English courses in Canberra.

What online English courses are available?
You don't need to be in a classroom to take English lessons. (Source: Unsplash)

What happens if you don't live in Australia's main cities? Smaller cities and towns around Australia often offer personalised English language services too — just ask at your local library, school or community centre. And remember — online learning can go anywhere. You'll be pleasantly surprised at what and who you can find on Superprof.

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Kellie is an editor, a children's writer, blogger and a teacher. Any remaining time she has is spent on a dragon boat.