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SPOTLIGHT: English Conversation Classes for Refugees

Posted on: 17 July 2022

Six learners smiling at the camera in the Global Room
Six learners sitting together in the Global Room during the English conversation classes.

In response to the war on Ukraine, Dr Bronagh Catibusic (Centre for Language and Communication Studies), Dr Rachel Hoare (School of Language, Literatures and Cultural Studies) and Dr Erika Piazzoli (School of Education) came together to organise free English conversation classes for people seeking refuge in Ireland.

Over 300 people from several countries attended the classes over the course of six weeks this Summer. The initiative was made possible by Trinity students and staff who served as volunteers.

Each week, learners were invited to Trinity to meet new people, have fun and develop their English skills in a casual format. A beginner group met at the TCD Innovation Academy while an intermediate and advanced group met in Trinity’s Global Room.

Two learners and a volunteer sitting at a table, smiling at the camera in the Global Room.
Two learners in the Global Room sitting with a Trinity volunteer.

Attendees were also offered other resources, such as one-to-one CV sessions, laptops and a special visit to see the Book of Kells. At the end of the six weeks, all the learners received a completion certificate.

Nine volunteers standing in a line, smiling at the camera.
Nine Trinity volunteers standing for a photo together at the Trinity Innovation Academy.

“The success of these classes is due to the initiative of the organisers: Bronagh, Rachel and Erika; their amazing volunteers who gave so generously of their time; and the learners who attended, arriving each week with great interest and an eagerness to learn.” Linda Doyle

Due to demand, the classes will return in September 2022.

Five learners holding certificates and smiling at the camera along with two volunteers in the Global Room.
Five learners holding up their completion certificates in the Global Room, sitting with two Trinity volunteers.