Speak and Connect is a series of ten free conversational English workshops aimed at facilitating the integration of newly-arrived international students to the university by developing their English language and communication skills, helping them make new friends and fostering a sense of belonging to the University. The peer-facilitated workshops are designed to help international students develop their confidence communicating in different contexts at university. Each week the program explores a different aspect of how university students communicate with each other such as ‘introducing yourself and others’, ‘making small talk’, ‘working in groups’ and ‘making friends from different backgrounds’.
Speak and Connect connects newly-arrived international students to other local and international students by giving them a platform to communicate and learn from each other. The one-hour workshops are delivered weekly by a select group of University of Sydney students enrolled in degree programs. All the facilitators have participated in an extensive training program developed by the Graduate Programs team at the Centre for English Teaching. The facilitator training program was delivered by Marcella Robertson, CET teacher and Faculty Award Winner for Excellence in Teaching (FASS) at the University of Sydney (2017) and provided students with key techniques in delivering content, facilitating discussions and managing a classroom.
At the end of the ten-week program, international students, enrolled in Speak and Connect, will gain an improved practical English competence and communication skills, feel more confident in communicating inside and outside of the classroom, feel a stronger connection with peers and a deeper sense of belonging to the university and Sydney. This initiative contributes to the University’s strategic priority of enhancing the student experience and a continuous effort in providing a seamless integration of newly-arrived international students to Sydney. The program promote wellbeing of international students by building their confidence in a range of situations, promoting engagement inside and outside of the classroom.
Speak and Connect is currently in a pilot version, running from the 13th August to the 26th October. Two sessions will be delivered each day, Monday to Friday. Each session has a cohort of 30 international students and is run by three workshop facilitators.
Iris Loba | Public Relations & Events Coordinator | firstname.lastname@example.org