This project introduces fluent speakers of Mandarin in the Canberra region to others who want to practice and improve their skills in the language. Tutors and students then make their own arrangements to meet, usually for one or two hours a week on a one-to-one basis.
The project has been running since 2001, and over 600 Mandarin speaking volunteers have assisted over 450 people learning Mandarin during this time. Follow-up evaluations indicate that most participants see the project as an exchange from which both sides benefit. Real friendships have been made, and much intercultural understanding gained.
How much does it cost? The project is a voluntary one on all sides. There is no payment involved, although participants are encouraged to become members of ALMA.
Who are the tutors and the students? Some tutors are professionals in the government or private sector, some are international students at university or college, and others are retired. The majority are from mainland China, but some are from Taiwan or other Chinese speaking countries. Tutors join the project to make friends and contacts in the ACT community; many are also interested in improving their English language skills.
The Mandarin learners who tutors meet come from an equally wide range of backgrounds. While many are enrolled in some kind of formal Mandarin class at university or CIT, others are learning on their own, or just wish to keep up their language skills acquired previously in classes or in a Mandarin speaking country.
NOTE: Due to government guidelines regarding social distancing during the current Covid 19 situation, we are suggesting that learners and tutors should meet online until further notice.
To register: Volunteer Tutors should download a tutor registration form HERE, complete and then email to firstname.lastname@example.org. FORM FOR ONLINE MEETINGS during COVID-19 restrictions available HERE
Mandarin learners should download a registration form HERE and then email the completed form to email@example.com
ALMA thanks the Canberra Southern Cross Club for its support of this project in 2001-2002, and the Australian National University for its ongoing support. The ACT Office of Multicultural and Community Affairs also gave ALMA a grant to buy textbooks and teaching materials in 2003.