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VTS Case Study: Jo and Nu

By Fiona West | May 5, 2022

As a young medical professional with limited time but a strong desire to “give back”, Jo Winderbaum found volunteer tutoring at Navitas Skilled Futures to be a perfect fit.

Tutoring 31-year-old Nu Nu Win, from Myanmar, one hour per week on Zoom for the past 12 months has helped Nu improve her English, learn about Australian systems and even get a job. But Jo says she too has benefited from her involvement.

“It’s been exceptionally rewarding, and it’s also a nice opportunity to learn about someone else’s culture and other parts of the world that you otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to,” Jo said.

“It is so flexible and such a small amount to give on my part to make what is, hopefully a significant impact for someone else. There’s a huge disparity in what you’re giving, compared to what the other person is receiving.”

Jo describes her method of tutoring Nu as “English by default”.

“I think some people might be a bit deterred from the tutoring scheme, because they’re not teachers, but I’m certainly not a teacher; I’m in the medical world, so I couldn’t be further away from teaching. But it becomes clear quite quickly that you’re much more than a teacher or a tutor for the students,” Jo said.

“You are given training and there are so many resources, but usually we focus more on living in Australia, like navigating Medicare, even small things like ambulance cover … information that we just take for granted, because it’s part of our life, but people who are new to Australia absolutely need to learn.”

Nu came to the VTS after attending AMEP classes at Navitas, and said her English had continued to improve with the one-on-one support. Jo had even helped her to write a resume and successfully apply for a job.

“Tutor Jo is very patient and has taught me everything I want to learn, like listening, reading, grammar and so on. I enjoy studying with Tutor Jo and I want to thank her and Navitas for giving me this opportunity,” Nu said.

“I want to speak English fluently and improve my English. I’m still learning and need to learn more but the lessons are helping me a lot. I understand more than before and my English skills have improved.”

Jo said she would encourage anyone looking for a flexible and rewarding volunteer opportunity to give the VTS a chance.

“When you consider everything, it’s such a small commitment. Don’t be intimidated by the word tutor, or whatever lack of experience you think you have. I mean, ultimately, just be a friend and try to be a guide. And all the resources are there through Navitas to help you find your way.”

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