Meet the students: Mojahid from Saudi Arabia

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Continuing our series of “Meet the students” we are happy to introduce Mojahid from Saudia Arabia. Mojahid has enjoyed the beautiful natural experiences in Byron Bay, developing his surfing skills while also preparing for the IELTS exam.

Why did you decide to come to Australia?

Well, actually this is my 3rd time in Australia! The first time I was in Sydney. The second time I went to Noosa. For this third time, I was looking for a small town close to the beach. But the location wasn’t the only decisive factor. I also wanted to find a place where I could have a great time and improve my English. I was talking to some friends and they had told me there weren’t many Middle Eastern students in Byron Bay, so I decided to come over and have a look. I loved the place and the fact that there weren’t many students speaking Arabic was very positive, so I had to speak English all the time, which is great. In my opinion, Byron Bay is the perfect destination to learn English and enjoy the outdoors, especially for students from my age group.
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Mojahid enjoying a cooking lesson with his IELTS class.

Why did you choose BBELS?

This time I wanted to study hard to prepare myself for the IELTS exam. During my research for English Schools in Byron Bay, I found some students’ testimonials saying that BBELS have a very strong IELTS preparation course. I also heard from other students that at BBELS students have a very good social life. That’s very important when you are in a distant country learning a second language, because that’s the way you make new friends. BBELS have 2 dedicated people organising activities and travel exclusively for students. Oh yes, and there is the school café (Café Oska) and the school parties! Both are great to relax and catch up with people from all over the world.

Tell us your impressions about BBELS.

The nationality mix at school is very good and it allows me to interact and make friends from many different countries. I’ve been learning a few words in other languages and also interesting things from other cultures

The BBELS staff is very friendly, and my teacher is great. She is very in tune with the official IELTS exam. She knows so much about the English Language and also about the IELTS exam, that by sharing her knowledge with us, she has given me confidence and I really feell ready for the official exam.

Byron Bay is well known for its natural wonders…where is your favourite place in Byron?

Wategos beach! Wategos is my favourite place because I started surfing there. The waves there are perfect for beginners and it never gets too crowded. The beach is stunning and very well preserved. Surfing at Wategos is a beautiful experience. I love the afternoons at Wategos, because dolphins always come very close to the beach, and watching the sunset there, with the lighthouse blinking just before dusk, its magical.
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Saudi Arabian culture is different to Australian culture in many ways…is there any Australian habit that you think is very different from your culture?

Yes! In Australian they eat kangaroo meat. At the beginning it sounds very weird to me, but I tried kangaroo meat, and I love it!

How do you expect the English you have been learning in Australia to help you when you get back to your country?

I am not going back to my country for long. I’m going to Shanghai next year, because I will start a Master in Business. That’s the main goal and the reason why I’m studying English. I need a good score in the IETLS test and also all my classes will be administrated in English.

At BBELS, everyone should….?

Use your English skill that you learn at school to engage yourself into the local community. That’s a great way to improve your vocabulary and also help others.

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Meet the Teachers: Katherina, Cambridge exam co-ordinator.

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In today’s post we have the pleasure of introducing you to Katherina. Katherina is the Cambridge Exam Co-ordinator at BBELS.  Specialising in teaching the Advanced Cambridge Exam classes Katherina also enjoys teaching the General English courses.

What do you especially enjoy about teaching the students at BBELS?

Of course the diversity of cultural backgrounds and ages makes every day an interesting experience. But what I most enjoy is getting to know my students in the classroom through the interaction that unfolds as the course progresses. In any group situation each individual contributes something important to the whole and I appreciate the opportunity of seeing how individual students develop not only academically but also as an important part of the class. The teaching is always mutual; I learn lots from students too!

What other fields did you work in before you started teaching English at BBELS? Has it helped you as a teacher?

I’ve worked in adult education now for about 15 years; 7 at BBELS, 5 in schools overseas (ESL teaching) and a couple of years in evening colleges in Sydney (mostly as a guest lecturer in herbal medicine).

As well as my ESL teaching qualifications,  I completed a 4 year Diploma in Naturopathy and then worked for several years in clinics in Sydney and Byron Bay helping patients with diet, lifestyle and counselling. Although I opted for teaching in the end, this experience has taught me a lot about how to live a healthy life and how to encourage others to move forward in a positive way. The skills I learnt as a practitioner have been very useful as a teacher.

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As the Cambridge coordinator what advice would you give a student who wants to enter the Cambridge courses at BBELS?

The exam preparation courses are intensive courses run over a 10-12 week period and you need an overall grade of 60% to pass. So these courses require a high level of dedication (yes homework!) and commitment both in terms of class attendance (minimum 90%) and classroom participation. But if you think it’s for you, it’s well worth the effort.

When you arrive, you’ll do a placement test to determine which level exam course (FCE, CAE or CPE) is a realistic choice for you.

Ideally if you choose an exam course, you have a clear goal and are prepared to work towards it. Your Cambridge teacher is here to help you prepare for the exam to the best of your ability.

Be prepared for homework assignments, weekly tests and class presentations. You should plan on putting aside several  hours of home study a week outside class time. Your progress will be monitored on an ongoing basis and your teacher will work with you to maximise your strengths and improve any weaknesses.

But you can also be prepared for a bit of fun too. That’s one of the benefits of studying within the the relaxed and friendly environment of BBELS!

What are some things you’d recommend students do while they are here in the Byron Bay Region?

There are so many things to try and the school activities programme will certainly give you loads of great ideas. We fill the school day with lots of productive work but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy what this region offers. My personal favourite is sunrise at any of Byron’s beaches or the Lighthouse if you can make it up there in time, followed by a morning swim (you might see dolphins!) and a breakfast barbecue with friends. Or go to the Byron Farmers’ Market to meet some of the locals and enjoy the beautiful fresh food grown in and around Byron. Take the opportunity to experience and enjoy the stunning natural environment we are blessed with here.

 

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Congratulations to our Cambridge Students

Cambridge 2014

The results have arrived for the students who sat the Cambridge English tests in December. Thanks to the students’ hard work and the dedication of our teachers BBELS has received some fantastic results.

We would firstly like to congratulate Zora Naef for her excellent result in the Cambridge Proficiency Exam. Zora’s Use of English, Reading and Writing tests were graded as “Exceptional” Well done Zora!

Secondly we would like to congratulate the students in our Cambridge Advanced classes. There were some very high results including Gijs Propper and Caterina Schumacher who both received an “A” as their final grade. Congratulations should also go to the 5 other students who recived a “B” and the 14 students who received a “C” grade.

Finally a big congratulations to the students in the First Certificate Classes with 8 students receiving a “B” and 7 students receiving a final grade of “C”.

These students managed to study hard throughout the day and enjoy Byron Bay’s natural environment and relaxed lifestyle after class. We hope that their certificates help them in their future careers and educational pursuits.

 

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Meet the BBELS Staff: Marcos Supioni, marketing.

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This month we had a chat with Marcos, from our marketing department. Marcos is the marketing manager for countries such as Brazil, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Arab Emirates. He is just about to finish his Masters in Consumer’s Behaviour, and as he pointed out, he began his amazing journey in Australia as a student at BBELS!

What is your role as the Marketing Manager?

I’m part of the marketing team at BBELS. I am the Marketing Manager responsible for promoting BBELS quality programmes to Portuguese and Arabic speaking countries. That means I look after the students and agents from these countries, from the initial contact till the students last day in our school.

I use my experience as a former BBELS student to help others students have a great time here in Byron Bay. I’m also responsible for sales, social media and developing new partnerships with the countries I mentioned.

How long have you been working at the school? 

I started working here in 2014. But I have been connected to BBELS since 2010, when I was a student and had my life completely changed (for better, of course!).

Why did you decide coming to BBELS? 

I decided to come to BBELS after extensively researching English schools in Australia. BBELS was the one that suited me best. I was tired of studying English in schools in Brazil and not learning properly. So I decided to find a school where I could develop my English skills in a beautiful locality.

I used to live in a big city (São Paulo), and I needed a break from the traffic jams and from the hustle and bustle of that place. So, BBELS was perfect, because here I found everything I was expecting from an exchange course: academic quality and a beautiful place to relax and have a good time.

What do you like most about working at BBELS?

The culture exchange between the students! Because we have such a big diversity of different nationalities (an internal year to date research shows 23 different nationalities studying at BBELS), there’s always something to learn from my experience with students from different cultures.

I also love the fact that BBELS is not a school chain. Unfortunately there is a trend in the education industry where schools are compromising their teaching quality in order to make more profits. They increase in student numbers, became chains, and they drop the quality and commitment with their students.  This is not the case at BBELS. BBELS is owned by a long-term local family who is passionate about teaching and they really take care of their staff and students. So here we are like a big family. This produces a very good working environment.

At BBELS everybody should …  

… Be like a sponge! Soak up the amazing atmosphere at school and absorb the cultural differences. When you are living in another country, surround yourself with friends and interesting people, and you’ll absorb their positivity and this will enhance your experience!

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Meet the students: Francisco from Chile.

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This month we are proud to introduce you to Francisco. Francisco is from Santiago, in Chile, and he has some nice tips to share with those who want to come to BBELS.

How long have you been studying at BBELS?
I studied in BBELS for 6 months. At the beginning my English skills were a disaster, however after the first month I started to improve more and more. My first class was “Intermediate” and when I completed that level I moved to the “IELTS” class. I think it was a perfect decision because during my last month in Australia I decided to take the IELTS exam and to be honest I am really happy with the score that I got.

What do you like best about BBELS?
The BBELS staff is just amazing. They are always dedicated to students’ needs and one of the things that I always remember from my first day in the school is their effort to learn the name of every student before they arrive and that is something I appreciated a lot.
The school is situated in a beautiful building and the teachers are excellent. Nevertheless, the feature that I like more about BBELS is the possibility to meet people from different countries, make friends and know new cultures. Overall, all knowledge acquired there is going to be useful for life.

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How did you find your job?
I printed some resumes as soon as I arrived in Byron and I left it in every shop that I was interested in. Furthermore, I got some jobs through the Job Club at BBELS and from some of my friends who I met in Byron Bay.

What kind of work have you been doing in Byron?
I worked in different places such as industries, restaurants and in the BBELS school, mainly as a cleaner. I worked in some houses as a painter as well, but it was just a temporary job. The most important one was working for BBELS cleaning the rooms after class time.

What do you like about Byron Bay?
Byron Bay has so many things that I love. The people are special, so friendly and environmentally conscious. In the town you can always feel a positive atmosphere everywhere and it is so peaceful if you are not in the main street where the fun is guaranteed, and the beach is just amazing. The hippie-style makes this town one of the best places that I have visited.

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What advice would you give to a new student?
First of all, the most important thing is to always speak in English, even when you are speaking with people from your own country. It makes a big difference between improving your English skill a lot or just a little bit.
Another important piece of advice is to try to get involved with locals. For example, when I was studying at BBELS I played in a local soccer team and we qualified to the final round of the tournament. It was my best experience there due to the people I met. The Eureka soccer team is a wonderful family.

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Welcome to Byron Bay English Language School, 2015!

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Some of our new students for 2015. Good luck everyone.

Happy New Year to all of our students. We hope that all of your dreams and ambitions for 2015 will be realised.

The school year has started well with over 70 new students arriving from Japan, Brazil, Switzerland, South Korea, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Chile, Columbia, the Netherlands, and Saudi Arabia.

We have a really diverse international community studying here. One of the greatest experiences our students enjoy while studying at BBELS is making friends and connections with people from all over the world. We have even had a couple of students marry their classmates over the years!

In 2015 we continue to offer the Cambridge Exam preparations courses, an IELTS course, courses in General English, as well as our combined courses such as English Plus Surfing, English Plus Diving, English Plus Yoga. There are plenty of study options to choose from so please visit our website to learn more about our courses.

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Merry Christmas from Byron Bay English Language School

BBELS xmas Postal Card

2014 has been a big year for the Byron Bay English Language School. Over 900 students have entered our classrooms since January, many of whom successfully completed our Cambridge and IELTS testing courses.

Throughout 2014 students of all nationalities improved their English levels while also enjoying tours to local national parks, Fraser Island and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. We were also fortunate in having study tours from the United Arab Emirates and Japan join our General English classes during the winter period.

We are happy to report that in 2014 BBELS established a pathway programme to Southern Cross University. This pathway enables our students to enter SCU’s courses on the recommendation of our IELTS teacher. If you would like any further information about this programme please speak with Sonia.

It is always rewarding to see students of diferent nationalities and backgrounds forming life-long friendships during their time here at BBELS. After graduating from BBELS students often travel around Australia together and we have heard of quite a few students who continue to visit each other in their respective countries.

For many of you this December 25th will be slightly different from the usual Christmas you experience back home. The Australian summer-Christmas is a good time to have a quiet BBQ or picnic outside at a park or a beach. Hopefully you can do this with your new BBELS family.

From all of the BBELS team we wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas.

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