Refugee drop-in events
6th February 2023
City College Norwich's current English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students are ready to give a warm welcome to refugees and asylum seekers who are considering signing up for an ESOL course.
The college’s diverse community of ESOL students play a key role in welcoming prospective students to the college through regular drop-in sessions for refugees.
Most of our ESOL students have first-hand experience of what it is like to be a refugee, including a significant number who arrived in the UK without their parents, so they can fully empathise with the challenges this brings.
They are also perfectly placed to talk about the progress they have made in their English language skills, our vibrant and friendly community of ESOL students, and the support and encouragement they receive from our staff.
Refugee Drop-In Sessions
The next Refugee Drop-In Sessions will take place in the Debut Café, on City College Norwich’s Ipswich Road campus, on the following dates:
- Wednesday 15 March, 3.30pm-6.30pm
- Wednesday 10 May, 3.30pm-6.30pm
- Wednesday 28 June, 3.30pm-6.30pm
The drop-in sessions are open to refugees of any age, as well as those who work in any capacity to support refugees.
For further information about the Refugee Drop-In events and ESOL courses at City College Norwich, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This college is like my second home”
There is rich diversity of cultures and backgrounds among our ESOL students, with 45 different nationalities represented and more than 30 different first languages spoken by them.
Seventeen-year-old Anna enrolled on an ESOL course after arriving from Ukraine last year. She had a base level of knowledge from having studied English at school, but she did not have many opportunities to practice her spoken English.
My English is much better than it was 4 months ago,” says Anna. “This college is like my second home and I enjoy coming here. I am here from 9am to 5pm and I enjoy this time. I have lots of friends here.”
Bahzad, 17, who came to the UK from Syria, describes the mix of international students at the college as “very lovely”, with students from different nationalities all learning from one another. He adds:
The teachers are not like only teachers for us. They are acting like parents for us, because we came to this country without family, so they are acting like a family for us. They look after us, they are doing their best for us. I am very happy for that.”
On completion of their courses, many ESOL students take up opportunities to study on a wide range of Further Education courses at the college.
That is the aim for 16-year-old Mohammed, who came to the UK from Afghanistan:
If you learn English in your life, you can go forward. If I pass my ESOL course, I hope I am going to do carpentry next year.”
Support for refugees and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children
City College Norwich currently has around 560 students studying on its ESOL courses, spanning young people and adults. Of this number, around 140 came to the UK as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASCs).
The Wellbeing Team at City College Norwich liaise with a wide range of professionals – including college teaching staff, student finance advisers, social workers, foster carers, residential support workers, and Norfolk County Council’s Virtual School - to support the college's UASC students.
Jerry White, Principal, City College Norwich, says:
Our ESOL courses play a really important role in enabling refugees, including many unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, to gain the English skills they need to unlock their potential and thrive in their new lives in the UK.
Depending on their age and previous education, this could mean progressing on to further learning with the college, accessing employment, supporting their own children in their schooling, as well as making other valuable contributions to our local community.
Thanks to the dedication of our teaching staff and Wellbeing Team, and the links we have with a wide range of partner organisations, we can offer a learning environment in which ESOL students are given all the support they need to succeed and progress.
Our diverse community of ESOL students are a key part of this support network and it is heart-warming to see their enthusiasm for welcoming other newcomers to the college through our Refugee Drop-In Sessions.”