Ciao, Ni Hao, Bonjour…there's a whole world of languages just waiting to be learned and Canberra is home to language schools and speaking groups for everyone from beginners uttering their first words right through to advanced speakers looking to sharpen their skills. If you've always wanted to chat in Chinese, speak some Spanish, improve your Indonesian or learn any other language, there's no time like now to get started. Here's a roundup of where you can get speaking, reading and understanding your new language.
Beseda offers Czech classes for children from ages 3 to adult, from beginners and intermediate to advanced students. The group also offer cultural, social and sporting activities. You can also enrol in Czech cooking classes, test out your reading with their library and even do a virtual yoga class. Lessons are held at the Beseda building in Queanbeyan.
Teaching Canberrans French since 1950, Alliance Francaise offers lessons for kids and adults of all levels. Classes are offered both in-person and online and you can choose from either private or group lessons. The group also offer some fantastic events including regular dinners each focusing on the food of a different region in France and a French book club which take place each month. They also have a lineup of annual events including the French Market, the French Film Festival, Bastille Day celebrations and the BeauJolais Nouveau Gala which celebrates to most popular new wines in France.
Another school with a long history, the German Language School has been teaching Canberrans since 1958. Offering classes for both children and adults, there is an emphasis on modern spoken German. Children's classes are mainly conversational, combined with plenty of songs and games. The senior classes are more structured and everyone is encouraged to take an interest in German-speaking countries while they learn the language.
Open a world of words with language lessons in Canberra
Offering language classes from beginners through to advanced, the Australia Indonesia Foundation's teachers are native speakers. Classes are currently online but face to face lessons can be arranged where there is demand. AIA also offers activities including talks on Indonesian topics by visitors and local experts, dinners, games evenings and social outings.
With the tagline 'the craic is even better in Gaelic' it's hard to resist and when you add the fact that these classes are free, why not give Gaelic a try. Classes are held during ACT school terms at the Canberra Irish Club with beginners' classes on Saturday mornings at 11.30am and intermediate and advanced classes on Tuesday evenings at 6pm and 7.30pm. If you want even more practice, there is a conversation group open to all levels on Saturday afternoons from 4-5pm. The Dante Alighieri Society Italian
As well as offering cultural events including movie nights, wine and food nights and presentations, the Dante Alighieri Society offers Italian courses taught by native Italian speakers and these classes have been running in Canberra for more than 60 years. Whether you are interested in travelling, studying, improving your language skills, or you just want to have a taste of Italian culture.
Classes are held during the evenings, usually in person but if Covid requires, they may be held online. There are five levels on offer all designed to develop and promote communication skills through listening, speaking, reading and writing. You can also practice what you learn in optional conversation groups.
Offering a range of group and private lessons for both kids and adults, Awesome Japanese have developed their curriculum so that you can study for the JLPT or just for fun. You can even choose a class designed to perfect business language and etiquette if you are planning to work in Japan. As well as the lessons, the school offers monthly cultural events including calligraphy, J-Pop music, karate, cherry blossom viewing and cooking. They can also offer assistance to arrange homestays in Japan if you want to take your language to the next level.
The Canberra Chinese School (CCS) have three campuses in Bruce, Woden and Gungahlin as well as an after-school Chinese program at Red Hill Primary School on Wednesdays. This school teaches school-aged children only. There are classes for students from both Chinese and non-Chinese backgrounds which include culture related learning activities such as art, chess and Chinese folk dance classes.
Spanish Easy offer small-group Spanish language classes for adults and tutoring for high schoolers… They've been teaching Canberrans to speak Spanish for 25 years in 2022 with a focus on small classes and lots of participation.
In-person classes are held at Griffith with some classes continuing online.
There are also short courses in a wide range of languages offered by the ANU Centre for Continuing Education (Arabic, Mandarin, French, Italian, Portuguese, Indonesian, Japanese and German) and CIT (Arabic, French, Hindi, French, Italian, Irish, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish and Thai).