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July 25, 2017
I’m Kate and I’ve just finished an 8 week voluntary internship with Speak Street.
I heard about the opportunity though the careers service at my university and thought that it
sounded like something I wanted to be part of. I had previously done a 12 month teaching
placement, and really missed sitting down with students and teaching them English. I was also
interested in the organisational aspects behind the language classes that Speak Street runs, and
especially the fact that many of the Speak Street’s students are recent migrants, refugees or asylum
When I moved to London I found it to be very big and impersonal, and I’m a native English speaker. I
could only imagine how difficult it would be for someone who has no knowledge of English to
navigate London’s sprawling mass and feel like they are a part of some sort of local community.
Speak Street fills this gap, providing a base where people can improve their language skills and
connect to those living around them. There is a sense of community in London, you just have to look
harder to find it. When the students enter the class, they’re helped to drinks and food and are
bundled into a warm atmosphere where volunteers sit at each table and assist the main teacher. We
talk through vocab, spelling and pronunciation and do a lot of speaking practice. It has been really
fun to help with these classes, and the students enjoy them too.
After the English class, as part of the internship, I would then work on some organisational aspects of
Speak Street, like keeping track of how many people attend classes, recording opinion surveys and
finally using this data to produce an impact report to track how Speak Street is doing and noting
what can be improved in the future.
These 8 weeks have taught me a lot about how a small charity works behind the scenes to create a
deep sense of community.
Speak Street featured in Islington Life on Social Saturday!
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2 Lambeth Palace Rd, London, Greater London, SE1 7EW
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