RaPAL

Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group

Hulya Yorur

Hulya Yorur, Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Journey To My Confidence

At the age of nineteen we moved to Australia from Turkey. When we arrived I knew very basic English but it wasn’t enough to make friends or even talk to people on the street, so I started English classes. But after one year my dad decided that it was time for me to get married so he arranged for my cousin, who lived overseas, to come to Australia and marry me. It wasn’t easy but I accepted my dad’s wishes and married my cousin. But sadly, the marriage meant the end of my education as well.

After twenty years, when my youngest started school, I started to feel differently about staying home and not doing anything for myself or for the community. All the strong and positive feelings that I had been feeling as a stay-at-home mum started to disappear. I started to feel lonely, depressed, sad and started to feel sorry for myself as well.

But one morning when I went to pick up my mail from the letter box, I saw this flyer about neighbourhood English classes. I never thought that flyer would change my life.

I told my family and my friends about the classes and the first thing that they said to me was: “What are you going to do in English classes? Your English is enough to get around and you also have responsibilities at home. Don’t worry about the language too much.”

After thinking about it all night and making lots of excuses not to enrol in the classes. I finally made the decision to enrol because deep down I knew that the only way that I can really communicate with people is if I knew the language well. Next morning I woke up and went straight to Glenroy Neighbourhood House and enrolled myself.

In the English classes at first I was the quiet one. I always kept to myself and didn’t ask any questions. But the Glenroy Neighbourhood staff and the teachers were so helpful that slowly I started to blossom. At the end of two years, I was the student who was asking a lot of questions and started to have confidence and make lots of friends.

The teachers were so happy with my progress that they asked me to do a voluntary program involving teaching English at home to newly-arrived refugees. Also, I had the confidence to enrol in a computer class. Around the same time, I started to volunteer for St John’s ambulance to be a first-aider and help the community, which I enjoyed doing very much.

To this day, I am still volunteering at the Neighbourhood Centre by helping the migrants in the English classes, computer classes, and interpreting as well. But the important thing is, I am still continuing to do lots of different courses to improve myself.

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