I am learning French to keep my mind active and to try to understand the French news on the TV. I am not quite there yet as the news readers speak too fast for my brain to absorb. I also enjoy coming to VLLC because of the people and the atmosphere. The Tutors are fun and help me to practice and improve. I also appreciate the parking space for the disabled and the coffee is not bad either.
Learning French gave me an international opportunity.
Travelling and working overseas is something that many Australians plan to do during their lifetime. However, few realise just how much easier their journey could be with no language barrier to overcome. Sydney dancer, Kirsty, is an example of an ambitious young Australian who learned a second language through the Vocational Language Learning Centre before heading overseas.
Kirsty equipped herself with a self assured fluency in French to back up her dancing talents before travelling to Paris for auditions with a ballet company in Bordeaux, France. "The positive and friendly atmosphere at VLLC helped me learn the language quickly and have fun doing it" she said. "They helped build my confidence and to absorb the French culture while learning the language. The VLLC fast track learning method was developed in Adelaide and is now considered one of the most effective in the world. It is based on neuro-linguistics and the ability of the subconscious mind to absorb a language in a relaxed atmosphere. "I have set myself up for an international career." Kirsty says.
My name is Yoko and I am one of the Japanese tutors in Melbourne. I have worked with VLLC for over 10 years now. I didn’t realise that time has passed so quickly!
My motivation to teach Japanese is simple, yet inspiring. Japanese is a beautiful language created on an isolated island with a unique history. I enjoy sharing the joy of communication in my mother tongue with my students, while being able to respect and understand each other’s culture.
I was born in Japan and lived there for the first 35 years of my life. Living in Tokyo, Saitama, Tohoku area was absolutely mesmerizing. Japan is a rather small country, but every area has various scenery and custom. When I think of Japan, I think of temples that are over a thousand years old or shrines behind skyscrapers. What also comes to my mind is the “Kawaii”. The traditional, cute goods based on Japan’s purifying, minimizing method. Also old and new culture coexist peacefully which brings joy to my heart.
My absolute favourite time of the year is the “Hanami” (Flower Viewing). It’s when the cherry blossoms open up all over the country. People are delighted by “Sakura”, which magnifies the end of a cold, dark winter. Every year, special weather forecasts for “Sakura” excite people.
Sushi, being one of the most famous Japanese foods abroad, is also one of my favourites. “Omusubi” are yummy rice balls and a handy food in Japan. Simple “ume” (plum) “omusubi” are my absolute favourite. I also love “sansei” (edible wild plants), which are only available in a particular season.
Japan has a huge population of 130 million people in such a small country. Yet it is rather clean and organized everywhere. Even crowded stations in Tokyo seem so clean and quiet. Not always, but sometimes I miss Japanese public space’s comfortableness. It seems as if people are always prepared to welcome visitors.
Our Japanese Tutor, Kiyo, received this fantastic card from a VLLC student last year, Nicky Bancroft who has completed her Certificate IV in Foreign Language Studies, which she did to enhance her career. Well done Nicky!
My name is Katina, and I have been learning Greek at VLLC for nearly a year! I wanted to learn Greek, as my Father is Greek, and I thought it would be amazing to have conversations with all my cousins and my Grandparents. My main motivation is learning new words and being finally able to have a lovely conversation with my Grandmother.
I try to visit Greece every 2 years to visit my family, and maybe a nice swim or two! When I am in Greece I love to go swimming and eat lots of souvlaki. I practice Greek with my parents every Sunday over a cup of coffee and some biscuits. Learning Greek is Amazing, it's such a lovely language.
South America is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO awesome! Everyone should spend some time exploring this part of the world. Here you will find the remains of ancient civilisations, amazing wildlife, friendly people, tasty food and beautiful landscapes and sceneries including mountains, rainforests, coasts, deserts, lakes and plains. I spent 7 weeks travelling with my friend through Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. There were so many interesting places that we visited but the highlights for me were the Nazca Lines, Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu, the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, the museum and city at the Middle of the World (La Mitad del Mundo) and Cartagena. During my personal experience and speaking with other travellers it was obvious that being able to speak some Spanish was very useful, particularly when travelling on a tight budget as many hostel owners don’t speak much, if any, English. It also made getting around in taxis, asking for directions, enquiring about costs of tours and other things and ordering food easier (especially since I am vegetarian). Speaking Spanish made the trip more enjoyable and I really felt that I had left the shores of Australia and landed in a magical, foreign place. Thank you to VLLC for helping me learn Spanish for this trip. Please share my experience and photos on your website as I hope this will inspire others to visit this amazing and interesting continent. Now time to finish sorting through my photos and start planning my South America Part 2 adventures.
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru. A 4 day hike starting from Cuzco. .
Swimming in the Amazon River, Iquitos, Peru whilst watching dolphins swim in the river nearby. Thankfully there were no piranhas out here in the middle of the river.
Doing a cruise in the Galapagos Islands will allow you to visit the uninhabited islands and see lots of these cute little fellas close up as well as many other animals including iguanas, giant sea turtles, giant tortoises and many species of birds. You can even go snorkelling with giant sea turtles, rays, sea lions and fish. If you are lucky you might even see a shy white-tipped reef shark.
Stand up paddle boarding at Isla Grande, Cartagena, Colombia. You will never complain of the water being too cold here.
I began learning Russian with VLLC last year. My family was a big part of my decision to learn - It’s nice to see the smile my babooshka gets when I speak with her in her first language! I am also motivated to get to a fluency which will allow me to read and translate an old family journal, which we haven’t been able to understand because it is written in Russian! I am almost there - I practice with my family, my partner… even with people who don’t understand; I will say something in Russian then repeat it in English – so I get to practice saying all kinds of things every day! One language isn’t always enough – Russian is often more emotive than English, and speaking to someone in their own language allows you to get a lot more out of the conversation.
I have been sorting through some old files and I came across this poem that one of our past students wrote about her experience with VLLC. This was before VLLC online was available and students came to the centre to do their lessons. I thought I would share it... Michele
We are excited to see VLLC French student, Andrew, off on his new adventure! Andrew has a one way ticket to France, where he plans to spend 3-5 years studying at a prestigious academy – he will perfect his trade, learning from stone-carving masters from all over France! He first heard about the opportunity 2 years ago, and it has been on his mind ever since! “I don’t want to regret not having an attempt,” he says, “it will be new experiences everyday while learning from the masters themselves!” Andrew looks forward to being able to converse with the locals using his French language skills, and encourages others to do the same - “Anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it. The first obstacle was realising that learning a new language isn't as hard as first thought… new things are added to the brain every day that you tend to recall on a later date [and] learning a new language is more or less the same. All that is done while learning a new language is reinforcing what you already know..... and the teachers are pretty good at their job too ;)” Andrew is excited to start a new chapter of his life in France, and says the only thing keeping him from jumping on a plane straight away is the sale of his car… anyone in the market?
Marhaba, my name is Yasmin and I am the Arabic tutor at VLLC Melbourne. After five years of celebrating Ramadan on my own in Australia, I was so excited to spend it this year with my family in Egypt.
Every year millions of Muslims around the world refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan. Fasting brings Muslims closer to God and reminds them of those who are less fortunate. It makes us very grateful for what we do have. By refraining from the worldly desires such as food and drink, Muslims develop and strengthen their powers of self-control and self-restraint so that they can then apply it to their everyday life to bring about self-improvement.
Although Ramadan may seem to be a hard and difficult month, it is, in fact, a very enjoyable time. Families come together and enjoy the delicious food for the breaking the fast and the pre-dawn meals. The shared experience of not eating or drinking all day unites Muslims both as a family and community in the Mosques where Muslims gather together to break their fast with other people also observing the fast that day.
Celebrating Ramadan in Egypt is a very special and unique event. Egypt has one of the oldest and richest Ramadan heritage in the whole Arab world, ranging from lights to cannons to night callers. Egyptians welcome Ramadan with the Fanoos or Ramadan lanterns. They decorate their homes with the colourful lanterns and children swing with their new glowing lanterns while singing Ramadan songs. Using the Fanoos as decorations is believed to have originated during the Fatimid Caliphate. Egyptians welcomed the arrival of Caliph Moezz Eddin Allah to Cairo in 969 during the month of Ramadan by lighting hundreds of lanterns.
Another interesting tradition of Ramadan in Egypt is the firing of the cannon. The firing of the cannon marks sunrise and sunset therefore signalling the time for beginning and ending the fast. This tradition started during the time of Khedive Mohamed Ali (1805-1848) when he ordered a number of cannons for the Egyptian army, and so it happened that one cannon was accidentally fired during sunset in Ramadan and people then thought that this was a new tradition ordered by the Khedive.
Finally, one of Ramadan’s special traditions is the Mesarahaty or drummer. Each morning during the month of Ramadan, an hour or two before dawn, drummers tour the streets, hammering out a repetitive beat to wake people up to have their pre-dawn meal. This tradition dates back to the Ottoman era when people didn’t have alarm clocks to wake them for their pre-dawn meals, drummers would walk through the streets beating their drums.
If you are planning to visit Egypt in future make sure you come during the month of Ramadan so you can enjoy the special atmosphere it has in the country.
Here are some stories about VLLC' students and why they are learning a language