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Where to learn a language in Sydney
Illustration: Time Out

Where to learn a language in Melbourne

High school Italian a little rusty? Enrol in one of these classes to get your skills up to scratch

Adena Maier
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Adena Maier
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Are you trying to romance someone who speaks another language? Doing a bit of travelling, and keen to chat and get down with the locals? Or maybe you're a lifelong learner, looking for a new linguistic challenge. Whatever the motivation, Melbourne is brimming with language courses to suit your linguistic needs, whether it’s saying hello in Arabic or signing your name in Auslan.

Learn some Indigenous language skills with these 10 Boon Wurrung words and their meanings.

Learn a language in Melbourne

Gain confidence ordering at a Japanese restaurant or prepare for a trip across the Pacific Ocean with this language centre, which has been around since 2008. Japaneasy offers small group lessons, private lessons, immersive virtual reality lessons and off-site lessons that can take place at your school and workplace. On top of linguistic lessons, you'll also get a crash course on Japanese culture through workshops on making bonsai, singing Japanese music, wearing the kimono and writing in calligraphy.

The ACCS's tagline is 'learn Chinese without the tears', and it aims to make its linguistic lessons easy for beginners through a practice called accelerated learning. The centre offers lessons in both Mandarin and Cantonese, and you can choose between private, group or online glasses. It also offers classes designed specifically for kids aged four and up. 

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  • Things to do
  • St Kilda

Parlez-vous Français? Alliance Française de Melbourne is a well-known French language and cultural organisation that’s been promoting the Franco-Australian relationship since 1890. Located in St Kilda, the centre offers French language classes, but also cultural events, including the French Film Festival. Francophiles can opt for specialist classes for travellers, private tuition, French language diplomas or even online courses for the time-poor. Little linguists can sign up for classes that cater for school kids and teens.

  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • Melbourne

The Goethe-Institut is Germany’s international cultural institute, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange. The St Kilda Goethe-Institut offers German courses for adult learners ranging from extensive (ten-week course) to semi-intensive (five weeks) to super-intensive (one week), specialised courses on grammar and conversation for groups. The institute also offers classes aimed at young learners and language course scholarships, as well as online courses for those who can't make it in person. 

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  • Melbourne

The Centre for Adult Education (CAE) is the place to go for adults who miss learning new things at school. Their languages programs offer a wide range of languages including Japanese, Hindi, Indonesian, Spanish, Danish and Portuguese. Short courses are offered at different levels depending on your existing knowledge and include cultural information from your chosen language’s home country.

  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • East Melbourne

Expression Australia runs Auslan classes for complete beginners to Australian Sign Language as well as more experienced signers. The six-week classes are run by Deaf teachers, who will start beginners courses with the alphabet before delving into more expressive signs. Expression also runs school holiday programs where adults and children can learn basic Auslan, play Auslan-based games and participate in educational activities together.

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  • Classes and workshops
  • Melbourne

Learn the ins and outs of Spanish with the El Patio team, who offer “long and slow courses” for those with more time on their hands to learn Español, or “short and intense” classes if you’re cramming before a trip to Madrid. Courses range from five-week intensives to 15 weeks of one-and-a-half-hour classes, which cover everything from conversational skills to proper grammar. Classes are available in El Patio’s Melbourne CBD and Northcote branches.

Looking to brush up on your Italian? The Italian Institute of Culture offers Italian language classes for beginners, intermediates and advanced Italian speakers. You’ll learn the basics of communication as well as a comprehensive study of grammar. The IIC also works on several Italian cultural events, exhibitions and concerts around Melbourne, so check its website to get involved.

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  • Classes and workshops
  • Carlton

The VLLC runs a language program based on visualisation and association where you learn to think in your new language rather than just translate words. Every course is tailored to you, too. There are online lessons that are accessible 24/7 plus one-on-one tutorials with native speakers. You can take your pick from French, Italian, Greek, German, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, Indonesian, Thai and English.

Save money and still have fun

  • Things to do

Guess what? Not everything in Melbourne costs a bunch of money. There are heaps of things to do in this fine city that you can do for free. Yep, free. Zilch. Nada. Zero dollars. We’ve found the best free comedy show, free art galleries and activities, so you can have a super fun time in Melbourne without spending a cent.  

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