Meet the students: Luiz from Brazil


Please meet Luiz from Brazil! Luiz came to Byron Bay with his family a couple of months ago. His outgoing personality has endeared him to the students and staff at BBELS. In this interview Luiz talks about his time at school, his wife, and his daughter who is attending a local primary school.

Luiz, can you tell us why you decided to come to Australia?

I chose Australia because I’d heard many positive things about the country and the Australian people. The reason I came to Byron Bay is because I was looking for a small and unique town with beautiful beaches and warm weather. Well, I was looking for a paradise and I found it.

Why did you choose BBELS?

When I saw a picture of BBELS on the Internet with many bicycles and the blue balcony I had a good feeling about it. I knew I would love it. Of course, my agent helped me a lot with my decision too.

Can you tell us your impressions of BBELS.

It is a very nice place to study English, to meet people from all over the world and to make new friends. The teachers and staff members are very friendly and helpful. The school building doesn’t look like a school. It has a very funky atmosphere which makes it a great place to meet people and learn English in a very natural and fun way.


What is it like to travel with your family to another country while also learning English?

It was an old dream that came true. When I was 20, I decided to live for at least one year abroad. 42 years late here I am, with my family. It has been wonderful to have my wife Ana and daughter Julia with me. Ana is a brave, lovely and beautiful woman and Julia takes after her. Julia is going to the primary school in Byron Bay. It’s great to see my daughter growing up and learning English as a second language.

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

It’s a difficult question because there are so many amazing places here. But I have to say that Wategos beach, the Lighthouse, Main beach and Tallow’s Beach are amazing.

Luiz, tell us about your life in Brazil. Have you found any similarity between the Australian and Brazilian cultures? Have you found any Australian habits that you think are very different from your culture?

My life in São Paulo was very good. I have many friends there and a good job. But São Paulo is a city of twelve million people. It is very different to Byron Bay. As for the people, I think the Aussies are as friendly as the Brazilians and it makes me feel at home. Beside the language, I haven’t found any great differences between the two cultures.


Meet the staff: Chris

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In this week’s installment of “meet the staff” we are introducing you to Chris. Chris is popular with the students, teaching in both the General English and Cambridge courses.

Chris, tell us about yourself. Are you originally from this area?

No, I’m not. I’m originally from a great town in New Zealand called Nelson. I first visited Byron Bay in early 2009 for a yoga teacher training course, and fell in love with the place! Three years later, I made the move here and here I am, still!

How long have you been teaching at BBELS?

So far, I’ve had 3 years of great times here at BBELS.

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

I love their enthusiasm, open-mindedness, and passion to learn new things and have new experiences!

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

I’ve done all kinds of jobs over the years, from bar and restaurant work to ski guiding and photography, gardening and building to surf/snow/skate shop retail. All of them have helped me develop into who I am today. Also, teaching yoga to some very unfit and inflexible people helped me develop the necessary patience to become a better English teacher!

We know you are very engaged with the local community, and you are always keen to engage your students in very special local projects. Could you tell us about it?

One of my true passions is the natural world, and I believe a healthy environment is the single most important thing for our own health and happiness. With this in mind, I work with a local NGO called Positive Change for Marine Life, which seeks to educate people and raise awareness of the massive damage humans are causing to the ocean ecosystem. One thing we do is conduct regular beach cleans, and I’m always happy to have students from BBELS join us with these! It’s also a great opportunity for students to meet and chat to other members of the local community.

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Do you have any tips for the new students who want to improve their English skills?

Yes, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!! Hahaha, I’m just joking! Well, I’m half-joking… You should definitely do any homework your teacher gives you, but more importantly, remember WHY you are learning English: to communicate with people from other countries! So, get out there and spend as much time as possible speaking English to all sorts of people. Your English will improve a lot, AND you’ll make great friends and learn things you have never thought about before!

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

Do all the things that really make life great! Spend time with great people, listen to great music, dance like a crazy person, try surfing, watch the sunrise from the lighthouse or top of Mt. Warning, do some yoga, think about life, go snorkelling or diving with the incredible marine life we have here, eat yummy local food and drink a couple of cold, local beers sometimes!

An interview with Ainara: making grammar fun!


In today’s post we have an interview conducted by Luiz, one of our very popular and unique Brazilian students. Luiz interviewed one of our long-term students, Ainara, as part of a grammar activity. This type of communicative approach towards grammar is just one of the reasons our students enjoy coming to class each day.

On the BBELS balcony, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ainara, a 22 year old from the Basque country in Spain.

At first I wanted to know about her course. She told me that she had been studying for about seven months and added that she would be finished in eleven weeks. I asked her about her free time and she said that she loved spending time on the beaches of Byron Bay with her friends.

I wondered if her classmates had been helpful and she replied that they had. She added that she’d had a lot of classmates because she’d changed her level and had met a lot of students who had stayed at BBELS for a short time.

I wanted to know about her accommodation and she told me that she had been living with an Australian girl and that had helped her English. When asked about what tips she could give to new students, Ainara said that it is important to be an open person and to participate in class and afterschool activities. Ainara added that visitors to Byron Bay must definitely visit the Lighthouse and watch the sunrise from there.

My next question was what she had learned in Byron apart from English. She said that she felt she had learnt about how to survive on her own and all about her strengths and weaknesses. All of these things have helped her get to know herself. When I asked her to describe in a few words the difference between the girl who arrived in Byron and the girl who will return home she smiled and sat in silence. Finally she said that the girl who is returning has learnt to believe in herself.