English language

If you have English as a second or additional language, your time at university can offer many opportunities to develop your English skills. It is essential to regularly practise using and extending your English to do well in your studies. Furthermore, regular practice with friends and peers can provide many added benefits, such as supportive social networks and access to career opportunities both within and beyond Australia (Roshid & Chowdhury, 2013; Yamao & Sekiguchi, 2015). 

There are a range of ways to develop your English language skills while at The Australian National University (ANU). The main thing to remember is that it takes time and regular practice to maintain and improve your skills. 


    Let's Speak English! flyer

    Let's Speak English!

    At 12-1pm from Monday to Friday during Semester 1 in 2018, we are offering English conversation groups. These are fun and relaxed groups for ANU students, guided by an experienced peer facilitator. You do not need to register, just come along! Check out the locations and more information on our peer mentoring page.  

    English in your residential hall

    Many of the ANU residential halls run English language conversation groups. Ask your community coordinator or academic team about what is available to you. 

    More speaking opportunities

    Conversation groups are very effective at developing both speaking and listening skills. Consider joining one or more of the following. 

    • ACT Libraries run regular conversation groups
    • Why not join one of the ANU Clubs and Societies? Sharing common interests like chocolate, Harry Potter, gaming, sports, and many more can be a great way to use your English and make new friends.
    • Forming a study group is one excellent way of practicing your English and learning your course material at the same time. Ask people in your course to form a study group with you, meet at a regular time, and come prepared to talk about questions that you have from the material. Check whether study groups and Peer Assisted Learning programs already exist in your academic college or your residential hall.
    • With friends, set aside a regular time to speak only English - for instance when you cook dinner or go out for coffee. 

    Self-help writing resources

    There are many self-help resources available to work on written English. Take a look at the following. 

    Reading and listening resources

    You can do the following to keep up your reading and listening skills. 

    • Read for fun in English. Try reading books like Harry Potter, comics, magazines, and entertaining books which you have already read in your first language. When reading, work out the new vocabulary from the context and guess at the meanings. 
    • Read and watch the news in English. Newspapers and televised news are good places to develop an understanding of more 'formal' English. 
    • Watch films and television shows in English, or with English subtitles. This can be a great way to get accustomed to listening to fast speakers. 
    • Switch your devices to English. This can help you to think and function in English. 
    • Keep a glossary for academic English. When reading through your course materials, note down the types of words that are common in that topic, and write a definition that helps you to understand those words. This can help you to expand your academic vocabulary.



    • Roshid, M. M., & Chowdhury, R. (2013). English language proficiency and employment: A case study of Bangladeshi graduates in Australian employment market. Mevlana International Journal of Education3(1), 68-81. 
    • Yamao, S., & Sekiguchi, T. (2015). Employee commitment to corporate globalization: The role of English language proficiency and human resource practices. Journal of World Business, 50(1), 168-179. doi: 10.1016/j.jwb.2014.03.001