A social enterprise in Wellington is providing access to free language classes for anybody who wants them.
Going Global Languages (GGL) offer language classes taught by native speakers at various locations across the city.
Lisa Thompson, founder of GGL says that their vision is to provide free and consistent access to education for people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn a language.
She also hopes it will and facilitate better cross-cultural understanding.
Classes are scheduled around public demand, meaning that anybody can request a lesson through the GGL Facebook page. Requests are then organised with an available tutor and turned into a public event that anyone can join, creating a collaborative and equal learning environment.
“It means you can have a billionaire from Manhattan and somebody who’s flown here from Columbia as a refugee walk into the same language class on exactly the same level,” says Thompson.
For students that don’t have space to study a language in their degree, it provides an opportunity to learn and even teach a language and join 40 trained volunteers already operating in Wellington.
GGL offer skills exchange internships for students interested in teaching, where they can give up some time to teach their native language in exchange for professional guidance and mentorship in that area.
In addition to one on one and group classes, GGL also provide training for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam to anybody who needs it. A pass from this exam is recognised by Immigration New Zealand as well as a range of workplaces and tertiary education institutes.
GGL are already working with migrant communities and plan to further extend their services to more people who need it in the future, when the enterprise is more established.
Lisa Thompson says she’d like to help on a much greater scale than they are currently operating on, but it’s important that they have the infrastructure to back it up first.
“It is frustrating sometimes because you can see the need for it and I absolutely would love to turn around and be able to provide for every single refugee in New Zealand.
“The reality is that it takes time to pull together a team big enough, well trained enough to be able to facilitate that,” she says.
The company has been operating for two years, opening first in Buenos Aires and then Wellington with plans to start running classes in Auckland within the next eight weeks.