From warzones to Wagga, a cohort of Wagga TAFE students have cooked up a recipe for success as they graduated from an innovative new practical English-language course this week.
Seventeen students graduated from a nine-week commercial cookery program as part of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP).
Teacher Fiona Bance said it was the first time the program has come to Wagga and that it proved a great experience.
Even Ms Bance learned something when they held a multicultural lunch to cook for about 25 teachers.
"I learned a lot myself about the flavours and the way they cook - their techniques with blades - which has been fantastic," she said.
The program combines job-ready skills and written and spoken English to build confidence in students' English Language skills in a workplace environment.
Ms Bance said all students have been at the TAFE since the year began and that the program is about extending English skills beyond the classroom.
While she was the cooking expert in the room, Ms Bance said wasn't the English expert, with another teacher specifically in the room to help "break down" the language barriers.
She said the course has two parts to it, beginning with a commercial cookery hygiene unit then ending with a general cooking unit.
Student Qasm Sleman, 27, currently works as a chef at Habibi Chicken on Fitzmaurice Street and had a great time doing the course.
"I enjoyed speaking to classmates and my teachers were always helpful, which I really appreciated," Mr Sleman said.
He also enjoyed the cooking and has plans to one day open a food outlet in Wagga and eventually have stores all over the country.
But while he is enjoying life in Wagga, he has only been Down Under for a matter of months.
In 2014 Mr Sleman left Iraq because of the war and the ISIS genocide against the Yazidi community.
"We immigrated to Turkey and in 2022 I came to Australia," he said.
Classmate Dalal Sulaiman, 20, is also a part of Wagga's Yazidi community.
After escaping Iraq, Ms Sulaiman lived in Turkey for seven years before eventually making her way to Australia.
Since arriving in Wagga, she has found the community very welcoming.
"It is very nice and friendly and you know everyone," she said.
Hadi Nazari, 19, also enjoyed the course and is excited at the boost the course has given him.
"I really enjoyed the cooking course and would love to do it again," Mr Nazari said.
"I now have cooking skills and can make Australian food and I also improved my English speaking during the course."
Hailing from an Afghani family, Mr Nazari grew up in Pakistan before arriving in Australia several months ago.
He has bright hopes for the future with plans to further his education at university down the track.
Classmate Shukri Yousif, 24, said the course was great and enjoyed learning to cook many Australian dishes he was previously unfamiliar with.
Also a part of the local Yazidi community, Mr Yousif arrived here from Iraq just eight months ago.
Mr Yousif completed a bachelor's degree in teaching back in Iraq and has plans to continue down that path here.
He already works as a teacher's aid at Wagga Public School and has aspirations to one day become a teacher in town.