The word on the street

By Chloe Strahan

After 15 years of teaching English as a second language overseas, Bruce Matthews has settled back down in Melbourne to continue this work locally.

It takes a lot of patience to teach English as a second language, but Bruce says that he is good at what he does.
“I work six days a week. Baxter Institute has a campus in Flinders St where I work on the weekends. The other four days are at campuses around the Melbourne suburbs,” he said.
As an ex-student of CBD College in Melbourne, Bruce has since gained a lot of experience teaching English to the huge number of foreigners living in Melbourne.
“About 90 per cent of my students are Vietnamese. One of my students told me that she is studying English so that she can speak to her children. They grew up in Australian schools and she can only speak Vietnamese. So she is learning to communicate with her kids.”
Bruce and his wife Lingwenlan currently reside in Spencer St, however the move was only recent. The couple have spent nine years in China where they married.
“We spent three years living in a modern town called Shenzhen which is in the Guangdong province next to Hong Kong. My wife and I moved back to Melbourne when she got a residence visa.”
Bruce explains that Shenzehn was originally a fishing town 35 years ago, and is now a high-rise city with six million people. Compared with Shenzehn, Bruce says that the Melbourne CBD living is what his wife is used to.
“We live in a 36-story building. We are on level 27 with a great view. My balcony looks out over the bay. It is great especially at night when it is all lit up; it looks really nice.”
As well as living in China for nine years, Bruce taught English in Turkey for another four years before moving back to Melbourne. He explains that he developed a great love of Chinese and Turkish cuisine.
“One thing I have always liked about Melbourne is the variety of eating. If you pick a cuisine you will probably have a restaurant somewhere close by. I really love Turkish food,” he said.
Not a huge fan of the trendy new bars around the CBD, Bruce says that his favourite social spot is a pub called the Golden Age.
“It is one of the very few pubs in the city that still has a pool table!” Bruce said.
Although Bruce agrees that the standard of living in Melbourne is way better than the countries that many of his students migrate from, he does have some criticisms about life in the CBD.
“Public transport in Melbourne could use some serious work. Our public transport is not good. Trains and buses and trams are often delayed or cancelled,” Bruce said.
However Bruce is very happy that living in the CBD means that he does not need to use his car, parking his at a mate’s house in the suburbs.
Despite the move to his high rise location in Melbourne, this world traveller does not want to stay in one city for too long.
“My wife and I both love travelling. I would personally move back to Turkey in a heartbeat. But for a lot of people moving to Melbourne is better than where they come from,” he said.

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