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From Cambodia to Ballarat

25 May 2023

Kosal came to Australia from Cambodia in 2016 with almost no English. She has been improving her English at her AMEP class and has recently found work. She is is now combining her studies with her new job in a local café.

Kosal is happy and friendly and the first things you notice about her are her big smile and warm manner. She said she came to AMEP because, ‘I want to learn English. I have no idea about English!’ With only 5 years of education in Cambodia and limited writing skills in her native Khmer, English was not easy. Suzanne has been Kosal’s teacher the whole time she has been learning English and Kosal told me emphatically, ‘Suzanne is a good teacher!’

As Kosal’s language and confidence improved, she wanted a job. ‘I want to work to get money for shopping. No one can buy in Cambodia. Here I can buy anything. I love shopping!’ Kosal was referred to Djerriwarrh’s west@work team for support. West@work are funded by the Victorian Government to connect jobseekers with employers under the umbrella of Jobs Victoria.

According to the west@work team, ‘Kosal was doing some voluntary work and was extremely motivated to find full time work. West@work worked with Kosal to build her confidence and supported her job search. She needed assistance with her resume, cover letter and job applications.’

Kosal started paid employment in June 2022 at the Pot of Courage Café.

Kosal’s dream is to open a restaurant serving Cambodian food one day. For now though she is working part time and continuing with her AMEP classes. She said, ‘English very hard but I want to work more. I want money for a holiday next year!’