BBELS team in AFL 9’s tournament for the first time ever!

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The AFL 9’s tournament is held every year from the end of October until mid December and it takes place at the grounds of the Cavanbah Sports Centre in Byron Bay. AFL stands for Australian Football League, a game unique to Australia and also its most popular sport.

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This year Max, our activities manager, has formed a team of students from various countries: Loïs, Maxime and Loic (Switzerland French part); Kim, Nadja, Florian and Céline (Switzerland German part); Gianluca (Italy); Julia and David (the Netherlands); William (France) and Alex (Germany) as well as Reuben (our travel consultant) to compete against seven other local teams. Each team comprises of six male and three female players plus reserves. That is one of the reasons why Max, coach and player, liked the idea of entering the school in a mixed team competition. It is also a special and unique opportunity for our students to play a game only played in this country.

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All the team members are enjoying this whole experience and are starting to improve their skills as well as their teamwork. After losing their first game through lack of experience, they have won their next three to sit second on the ladder.

All the school looks forward to supporting them in their upcoming games and wishes them lots of luck!

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Interview with a student: Maribel from Mexico

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In this post we will introduce you to one of the friendlest and most positive students we have had at BBELS. Maribel comes from Mexico. She studied a combination of both General English and IELTS. You can read her interview below …

Why did you decide to come to Australia?

I decided to come to Australia because of my boyfriend. He is Australian and he was living with me in Mexico for 4 years until we decided to come to Australia to try to have a new experience in life.

How long have you been studying in Byron?

I have been studying at BBELS for 6 months.

What do you like most about BBELS?

I like most about BBELS the quality of the service that is offered to me as student, the variety of nationalities between students and the professional teachers. I have been enjoying my classes and the activities at the school.

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Which place is your favourite place in Byron Bay?

My favourite place to share time with interesting local people is the Aged Care where I have been volunteering since I came here. I enjoy doing activities there with people who have amazing histories to talk about. It is also a good place for practicing my English, they are always happy to help me with my pronunciation.

Another favourite place for having a walk is Tallow Beach, I love going to the beach with my dog. It is a perfect place for that.

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

I expect that I will use it in my job, and having a conversation with foreign people who visit my country. In addition, English is an important language around the world. For that reason it will be easier to speak with people of different nationalities when I travel overseas.

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What do you like most about the Australian culture as well as the people and how is it different from your culture at home?

In my opinion the Australian culture is one of the friendliest around the world. I love that Australia has a diverse culture. It is very different from my country but both are beautiful places.

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Wherever there are friends, there is a party!

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School life at BBELS is not only about learning but also about spending time with your friends and getting to know people from many different countries. It is another important aspect of your experience here in Byron Bay.

That’s why we offer a variety of parties and fun activities at our school. From regular school parties to poker game nights to DJ nights with special guests at the Laneway Café (previously Café Oska), we have it all!

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Our regular school parties are held every two weeks on Friday evening. You can have a nice time with all the students from BBELS and enjoy some great live music on the school’s balcony.

A special event, which usually takes place five or six times per year, is our Buddy Barbecue. In this case, every student gets his or her own Buddy who will be their partner for the free barbecue dinner. We mix all the students so that they are not from the same class and not from the same country. Therefore it is a great opportunity for them to get to know other students of different nationalities and to have an interesting conversation in English.

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What’s more we organise an international student party night at BBELS and for that event we invite not only our students but also the students from other schools and colleges here in Byron Bay. During summer it takes place once every month.

And there’s more! Depending on the number of students who are interested we have a poker game each Monday. Here you can practice your poker skills for the real competition which might be waiting for you.

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If you are not interested in playing poker, you can join one of our Open Balconies which are held on a Wednesday evening once or twice per month. It is an informal get-together for our students to relax on the school’s balcony with their friends.

Enjoy your time at BBELS!

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Highest Rating for BBELS Cambridge Test Centre

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One of our Cambridge Advanced English classes on graduation day

In order to continue our role as a Cambridge Testing Centre we are visited each year by an inspector who checks that we are fully compliant with the rules and regulations issued by Cambridge. The inspector checks our administrative history and observes our team as we carry out the test throughout the day.

The Cambridge inspector visited our centre this week and we are very proud to say that we were awarded the Highest Rating for compliance as a testing centre. Part of the report stated:

Congratulations on your centre being awarded the highest rating. We would like to take this opportunity to compliment you and your colleagues on this successful outcome and the positive contribution you have made to our high standards.

Clear and consistent communication between invigilator, DoS/CEM / Senior staff ensured a smooth test administration.

We have shown in previous posts  the good results that our Cambridge students achieve. Now this evaluation by the latest inspection shows that we can be trusted to make the test day as reliable and smooth as possible for our students.

Byron Bay English Language School is a fantastic place to prepare for the Cambridge exams. The next Cambridge Exam Preparation Courses start on January 3rd 2017. If you are interested in obtaining any further information about our exam courses and start dates please contact us at info@bbels.com.au.

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International cooking class

Cooking classes are always a fun way to spend the morning here at BBELS. With such a diverse nationality mix this class got to enjoy a range of Swiss, Spanish, Japanese, and French cuisine. During the classes the students speak in English as they work together. What a fantastic reward at the end to sit down and enjoy all of this beautiful looking food!

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Student interview: Mar and Leandra

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Mar from Spain  and Leandra from Switzerland

As part of an upper-intermediate class activity Mar interviewed her classmate about her time in Byron Bay. Here is the interview:

Yesterday I spoke to Lea, a 21 year old Swiss girl who is studying a sixteen week general English course at Byron Bay English Language School. I spoke to her about her life in Byron Bay and her experience as a BBELS student.

I asked Lea how she would describe Byron and she said that it is an awesome place where you can find nice beaches and an amazing and healthy lifestyle. Lea added that the people there are really friendly, open-minded, spontaneous and very relaxed.

I wanted to know what the classes were like and she told me that they were dynamic and interesting. The teachers are also very professional but what she likes most is that she is able to work on each language skill daily (speaking, writing, listening, reading and grammar).

I then asked her what she was going to do when she finished her English course and she told me she has planned a seven week trip to visit the most stunning places in the country such as: Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Cairns, Tasmania, Kangaroo Island and Uluru.

Finally I asked her if she thought that Byron Bay was a good place to study English. She didn’t have any hesitation in answering “Of course!” She explained to me that the natural environment, the relaxed lifestyle and the multicultural atmosphere made Byron an unbeatable destination. She added that everyone should come here at least once in a lifetime.

 

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BBELS Spanish Siblings: Teresa and Paulo

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During the last couple of months we had the pleasure of teaching Teresa and Paulo. We loved having these Spanish siblings here, they were a positive force in the classroom and had a great time participating in activities after class. Read further about their time at BBELS and in Byron Bay.

Why did you decide to come to Australia?

We decided to come to Australia because it’s the best place to improve our English while we practise surfing. Byron Bay is also completely different from the Basque Country and it’s a good chance to meet people from all over the world.

How long have you been studying in Byron Bay?

We’ve been here for six weeks but it seems that it’s only been six days. We would like to stay for longer but it’s not possible at the moment, we will come back for sure.

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You live in a guardian homestay family/student house. Tell us a little bit about it.

Paulo has been in a host family. He has met an awesome family of two siblings and a mother. They’ve been really nice with him and he’s very grateful to them.

On the other hand, Teresa has been in a student house. She has met a lot of new friends from different countries. The house had a really good location, very close to the school. The atmosphere has been great thanks to the other housemates.

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Can you also tell us about the activities you do here at BBELS?

Every day the school offers several activities such as theme parks, different kinds of sport, school parties, yoga classes… and we’ve joined some of them.

What do you like most about BBELS?

We’ve had the pleasure to meet people from everywhere. The teachers are also very friendly with students and they make a great environment at school. Finally, the whole staff do their best to help everyone.

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Which place is your favourite place in Byron?

It’s very tricky to choose just one place, but if we have to say one it would be the Lighthouse. From this place you can see all of Byron, including the coastline.

 

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