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One of those, 16-year-old Fouad Ghanam, a King's High School pupil who arrived from Syria in 2015, said the six-week course had helped him become better at writing, and prepared him for a learner driver test.
He was confident he would pass that test, scheduled for tomorrow.
The course was "very good'', he said.
"We did so many fun activities, and it's good meeting other people.''
Otago Polytechnic English Language Centre team leader Aaron Blaker said the 20 graduates, aged 16 to 21, had also learned about volunteering, sport and fitness, and future planning.
The free programme was funded by the polytechnic and the Otago Community Trust.
"For many of the women, this may be the first time they've been able to participate in public education,'' Mr Blaker said.
"They are just flying, and it's quite a buzz.''