The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is a free service to help eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants with low English levels to improve their English language skills and settle into Australia.
Some months ago I responded to the call in the XSJN Newsletter asking for volunteers to join the program.
Firstly I embarked on a very interesting training program run for volunteers. It was well organised informative and educative. After completing my training I was asked to provide some information about myself and the type of student I felt I could work with. Soon after, I was paired with my student, a lady from Mauritius.
Now we spend an hour a week speaking on a vast array of topics. Due to Covid restrictions, it is all done online but I am really looking forward to the day we can meet in person! I often follow up our conversations with emails showing new words which have come into the conversation or concepts, often with accompanying pictures. We have covered all manner of things from terms an optometrist might use to hairstyles!
Often my student will ask me about topics I need to research or how things work in Australia and how to access various services etc. So much about daily life that we take for granted can be daunting and overwhelming for people who are new to Australia and who have little support and very limited resources. It is truly humbling to see the determination and hard work migrants put in to make their new life a success. Their situations are often lonely and isolated so even one hour a week with a volunteer can make a real difference.
Each session is logged via the AMEP program and they provide endless resources and support. There are regular chat groups that volunteers can attend which can help to expand your ideas and resources and ways to help your student. The students have a vast array of abilities, education and needs so each experience is a new and different challenge. By enabling volunteers to share their experiences the whole program is more effective.
I think the AMEP program represents a wonderful volunteering opportunity that is flexible, well supported and not onerous in terms of time required. I have found it to be extremely rewarding is so many ways and I would happily recommend it. For further inquiries into becoming a volunteer tutor for AMEP please contact the XSJN Office at XSJN@xavier.vic.edu.au Written by: Marisa Reid, XSJN Volunteer for AMEP and parent at Xavier College