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Students celebrate Citizenship Course success

By Fiona West | May 12, 2022
Citizenship course trainers Angie (L) and Susan (R) with some of the successful students at Bankstown.

A group of migrants and refugees from Navitas Skilled Futures at Bankstown are one step closer to becoming Australian citizens after passing their Australian Citizenship Test.

The 20 students, who started the course in lockdown in July last year, celebrated their success at a college party in May – the first time many of them had come together as face-to-face classes resumed.

Lina Armouch, a mum-of-three from Punchbowl, said becoming an Australian citizen was very important to her.

“My family came to Australia from Syria in 2016 and, because there was a war in my country, the kids were depressed. But in Australia, we are happy. I can’t describe it, except to say now we are a normal family,” Lina said.

Proud students (L-R) Fatma Haj Ali Salman, Annie Dimigiian (with her cake) and Lina Armouch.

“I want to be an Australian citizen because I want to get a job and live in Australia, not as a refugee but as an Australian citizen. It is a lovely country.”

Lina, who is now training to work as an accountant, said she got 100 per cent in her test: “I was very proud!”

Lina said she enjoyed the English for Citizenship course, as she learned a lot about Australia: “The habitat, the systems, government, states and territories and their icons. It was very interesting.”

Her husband is now doing the course, planning to receive Citizenship in a ceremony with his wife in the near future.

Citizenship Course students celebrate with Navitas Skilled Futures Bankstown staff, including Aaron Caulfield.

NSF Bankstown Academic Team Leader Aaron Caulfield said the free English for Citizenship course ran every Tuesday and Wednesday night and Friday mornings, and attracted a range of people, but was particularly accessible for those with low-level English.

“We support the students’ entire citizenship journey,” Aaron said.

“We cover all the English required for the test, we provide explanations of important cultural, social and legal topics and we assist with understanding communication/emails from the government.”

The course includes regular practice tests and first language assistance (Arabic/Dari/Vietnamese) where required.

Fatma Haj Ali Salman, from Padstow, is currently enrolled in the Navitas Skilled Futures short course.

Originally from Lebanon, Fatma says she wants to be a good example for her eight-year-old daughter and “contribute to Australian society”.

“I like to work; I want to work. But first I need to get better English,” Fatma said.

“I am very happy learning English at Navitas. We come here with zero English, but Navitas support us and we are learning. I am very grateful.”

The Bankstown College Citizenship celebration party coincided with Eid and students and staff enjoyed lunch and a special cake baked by class participant Annie Dimigiian.

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