Moving to a new country to study is very exciting with opportunities to have unique experiences and meeting new friends. However, life can be difficult if you do not speak the local language well.  

If you have already received an offer to study at a university in Australia, this means you currently have a good foundation of English but there’s always room for improvement. As you learn more complex English language skills, you can improve your oral communication skills for presentations and class discussions and writing skills for essay writing, reports, and exams.  

As your vocabulary grows, so will your confidence in speaking with the local community and travelling around the country. This helps you feel more settled into your new home


Here are the top 7 ways to develop your English-speaking skills:  


1. Enrol in an English language program while studying 

There is no shortage of face to face and online classes for people who would like to improve their English skills.  

Many higher education providers offer English language programs that specifically help you read, write and speak English necessary for academic study. You will learn academic skills such as group and team collaboration, critical and creative thinking, and research and academic integrity and presentations. 

Libraries such as the State Library of South Australia run free English classes where there are conversation groups and tutors who can help you with pronunciation and editing, and you can access their independent learning resources.    


2. Use the Academic Support resources at your education provider 

If you are struggling with speaking, writing or listening in English, you can ask your teachers for help or get support from your Academic Support centre at your education provider.  

The Student Services team can help you find tutoring, study assistance or any other support to help you improve your English skills. You can also make a booking at the Writing Centre for help with academic writing skills. 


3. Use English learning apps 

Instead of taking classes, many people choose to learn a new language or improve upon their language skills via phone apps. We recommend apps such as Duolingo, Babbel and Buusu 

Learning via a phone app gives you the flexibility to learn at your own pace and fit in within your busy schedule.  


4. Watch or listen to English-speaking programs 

To become familiar with the tones, context, and sound of English, listen to it as much as possible. During your free time, watch English-speaking shows with subtitles on, listen to songs in English, and read in English as much as you can. 

5. Socialise 

Socialising with local students will help you improve your conversational skills in English and you will get to learn some Aussie slang – which are words or phrases that are informally used by Australians such as ‘How ya going?’ (How are you?), Bikkie (biscuit) and ‘Flat out’ (Busy).  

You can go to campus events or join student clubs or associations to make friends with like-minded people. At our College, there is the Social Club where current students can meet and form friendships and together, create and organise events on and off campus for the whole college community. 

6. Get involved in the community   

A great way to improve your English skills is to speak with the local community. You can have a quick conversation with the barista at your local café, a cashier at your supermarket, or your neighbours.  

Volunteering with charities or finding casual work gives you opportunities to practise speaking English while also gaining valuable work experience, references and industry contacts.  

Community events are also great ways to meet local people and learn new skills. The local communities in Adelaide host a large range of different events from creative writing and meditation. 


7. Homestay 

Homestay is where you stay with a local Australian family. It allows you to learn about the Australia culture and a great way to practise your English language skills outside the classroom. You can select Homestay as your accommodation option when coming to study in Australia.  


Australia is a diverse and inclusive country with many students from all over the world coming to study here, so you are not alone in learning English as a second language. 

Remember, the more you practise, the better and faster you will improve your English skills. Try to use several of the ways listed above, not just one, to immerse yourself in English.   

At the University of Adelaide College, we want to make sure you have the right support to make the most of your study experience with us. Our student services team are here offer any academic guidance and support you may need.