THERE was bolani, spring rolls and noodles at the end-of-term lunch yesterday for English as a Second Language (ESL) students at South West TAFE.
But lots of laughter, better well-being and developing friendships was also on the menu.
Dishes brought by the migrant students reflected their growing self-confidence, with some showing their prowess in cooking “Australian” dishes such as banana cake and muffins.
Hafiza Hakimi brought along the bolani, a flat bread with a vegetable filling popular in her home country Afghanistan, which proved popular at the lunch.
Mrs Hakimi recently began the ESL classes to help her mix more in the Warrnambool community after 10 years here.
Her husband died last year and her family encouraged her to take the ESL classes because they feared she would become socially isolated.
Her son Joe said his mother was thriving on the social interaction the classes provided.
South West TAFE ESL teacher Helen Flanders said the classes often boosted the students’ feeling of well-being as well as their English skills.
Each student was in the same position of disadvantage as the other in class and connected well, helping one another learn more about the Warrnambool community, Ms Flanders said.
Chaogui Li, from China, said he was brushing up on his English skills so he could chat more with customers at his Garden Street milk bar. He said better English would also help him in business and assist other members of his family when they moved to Australia.
More than 40 students attend the ESL classes, with day and night lessons pitched at different ranges of English competency. Ms Flanders said the lunch was a chance for students in all classes to mix and practise their English.