Where to learn a language in Sydney

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

Illustration: Time Out

Want to impress your friends with un peu de français? Whatever the motivation, Sydney is brimming with language courses to suit your linguist needs, whether it’s saying hello in Arabic or signing your name in AUSLAN. 

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Learn a language in Sydney

Sydney Community College

Sydney Community College is a one-stop shop for short courses and classes. They offer beginner, intermediate and advanced language classes including Japanese, Indonesian, Korean, German, Mandarin, French, Vietnamese, Arabic, Cantonese, Thai, Italian, Spanish and Greek. Courses usually run for eight 90-minute sessions, with a focus on expanding vocabulary, finessing grammar and practising plenty of speaking and listening.


La Lingua Language School

Their motto here is “language for real life” and the eight-week and 16-week courses on offer focus on practical language skills for everyday use. Along with learning conversational skills, students also study through role-playing, games and communicative activities. Take your pick of Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese classes.


Alliance Française de Sydney

Parlez-vous Français? Alliance Française de Sydney is a well known French language and cultural organisation that’s been promoting the Franco-Australian relationship since 1899. Located on Clarence Street, the centre offers French language classes, but also cultural events, including the French Film Festival. Francofiles can opt for specialist classes for travellers, private tuition or even French diplomas. Little linguists can sign up for classes that cater for kids and teens.


Instituto Cervantes Sydney

Learn the ins and outs of Spanish at the Instituto Cervantes Sydney, Australia’s official Spanish language centre. Here they offer comprehensive Spanish language classes aimed at developing students’ abilities to understand, speak, read and write in Spanish. They run classes on weekday nights, weekends and during the day on Mondays and Wednesdays. Head along to a free info session before enrolling in a beginner’s course, or if you’ve got a little español under your cinturón (belt), there’s a free Spanish level test that helps you decipher which class is best for you.


The Deaf Society

The Deaf Society offers Australian sign language classes during the NSW public school terms in various locations including Campbelltown, Parramatta, Wollongong and Sydney CBD. By the end of the first course, students will be able to greet others and introduce themselves, count and fingerspell, ask and answer simple questions and be able to explain effective ways of communicating with deaf people. These courses are taught by deaf trainers and there are no prerequisites to attend.


Japanese Sydney Language School

The Japanese Language School offers all levels of Japanese study: beginner, intermediate, advanced, JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) preparations, and conversational classes. They run classes six days a week with the option of attending once or twice a week for 50, 80 or 100 minutes. The school can also help organise language courses, cultural activities, summer camps and paid internships around Japan to truly immerse yourself.


Sydney Language Solutions

Sydney Language Solutions offers on-site group training, one-on-one training, translation, editing, website localisation and cultural briefings to corporate and government clients, run by a host of native speakers. They have a range of different language programs, primarily for Asian languages including Cambodian, Cantonese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Burmese, Nepali, Thai, Vietnamese, Arabic and a few European and rare languages. They offer interpreting workshops and beginner to advanced classes. Skype sessions are also available.



The Goethe-Institut is Germany’s international cultural institute that promotes the study of the German language abroad and encourages international cultural exchange. Located in Woollahra, Goethe 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. They also offer classes aimed at young learners and language course scholarships.


WEA Sydney

Kickstart your new lingual love affair with WEA’s handy daytime, evening and weekend language classes. Probably the most affordable classes in town, these courses cater for all levels, from beginner to advanced conversation, and you can choose from Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai and less popular, but equally as interesting languages like Ancient Greek and Welsh.


University of New South Wales

Head to the hallowed halls of UNSW’s Institute of Languages for a part-time language course open to the general public. Running for ten weeks, UNSW’s language classes have an average class size of 12 and are offered for beginners, intermediate and advanced students looking to immerse themselves in their chosen language. Choose from Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish classes.


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