Understanding General English Courses at Byron Bay English Language School

General English photo

General English is the most popular English course at BBELS. Students can choose between studying part-time or full-time depending on their type of visa and length of their study period.

BBELS offers 5 different levels of General English courses: Elementary, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate and Advanced. Students are allocated in different levels according to their English skills and knowledge. General English courses are designed for students who want to improve their ability to communicate in English in both social and work situations. The programme provides a solid foundation of the English Language, with each level being designed to cover the skills of speaking, reading, writing, listening, as well as pronunciation and grammar.

BBELS Cooking Class

BBELS Cooking Class

Our General English classes are very dynamic and topic based. Students learn in a very natural and enjoyable way, including through the use of interactive materials, such as DVD’s, CD’s, books and outdoors activities. There is a variety of class activities too, from individual work to pair work to small group exercises.

At BBELS, Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate and Advanced students can choose elective classes to complete the General English programme. Elective classes offer full time General English (GE) students an opportunity to focus on their own special needs and interests. It is a very popular part of our GE programme. Student feedback indicates a high level of satisfaction with this component of our GE course. Elective classes are mixed-level, and currently we offer the following themes:

• Vocabulary and Speaking
• Australian Studies
• Cinema Studies
• English Structure
• Work in Australia – Hospitality and Tourism
• Listening and Pronunciation
• Reading and Writing skills
• Aromatherapy and Wellness
• Business English
• Conversation Class

Elective classes take place in the afternoons, and a minimum of 6 students is required for a particular Elective class to run.


BBELS English plus Surf

General English is also recommended to students who want to come to Byron Bay to combine studies and holidays. BBELS has different options for part-time students to enjoy the natural wonders of this area. For those who love sport, we offer our “English Plus” courses, which are a combination of General English part-time, and different sports. English learners can enjoy surf lessons, diving, music or Yoga after the English classes.

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BBELS English plus Skateboarding

No matter which English level you are, General English is suitable for you. Are you interested in an intensive English course, or do you want to combine English while immersed in the Australian culture? General English covers it all. Are you keen to enjoy Byron Bay’s beaches during your holidays and improve your English skills? Come to BBELS, enrol in a G.E. course, and learn to live!

Meet the students: Diego from Spain

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Diego enjoying the surf at Byron Bay

Meet Diego! He is one of our Spanish students here at the Byron Bay English Language School. Diego has recently completed a course to prepare him for the First Certificate in English exam. His time at the school was so positive that he will be coming back to complete an IELTS course. In this interview Diego talks about his impressions of Byron Bay and our school.


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

I decided to come to Australia because right now Spain is in a bad economic and social situation. That made me think about going abroad for a period of time until the situation in my country changes. Another reason that made me choose Australia was the weather and the lovely and friendly people who live here.

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Cycling back to town from the Lighthouse

Why did you choose BBELS?

I chose BBELS because my idea of being abroad was to find a job and learn English at the same time. One of my friends back in Spain told me about the school and after comparing and looking at different things, BBELS was the chosen one due to the location of the school and the reviews that I read on the internet.

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Diego and his Cambridge teacher Ash

Can you tell us your impressions of BBELS?

The school is good, the teachers are good. Almost everything in and around the school is good.

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

Actually I don’t want to go back to my country. Once you are abroad you don’t know what your future will bring you but nowadays if I need to choose something I will choose stay longer in Australia. One of my ideas is to apply for the work and holiday visa and then go to Melbourne and try to find a job in design, which is what I have studied. But if I get back to my country, English as a language will help me to find a better job in better companies.

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BBELS Soccer Team consisting of students from all over the world

Could you tell us about how the school supports its students? Have you had any assistance from the school to find a good accommodation, a job or for further visas?

The school has been helping me since the first day I arrived. Special thanks to Sonia and Marcos for all the support and good vibes that they have given me. Sonia has helped me with every problem that I had. Sonia not only is a good employee for the school but is also a really good help for the students, helping us with problems from the school and also problems outside the school. Marcos is the perfect example of happiness in Byron Bay. He is always helping and always smiling. He will stop doing his job to sacrifice his time for helping the students, a really good man. About visas, Sonia and I are working to apply for my work and holiday visa.

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At BBELS, everyone should….?

At BBELS everyone should speak English. It’s so annoying when people make groups and only talk their mother language.

Meet the Staff: Clare the accommodation manager


In today’s post we are happy to introduce you to Clare who works as our Accommodation Manager. Clare works hard to place students into suitable accommodation including home-stays and student houses. Some of our students’ best experiences come from the time they spend with their home-stay families and house-mates, with Clare always trying to arrange a good combination of nationalities and age-groups under the one roof.

Clare, tell us about yourself. Are you originally from Byron Bay?

I grew up in Sydney and then moved down to the South Coast with my husband and daughter when she was 18 months old. She is now 15 and I have another daughter who is 13 and a 10 year old son.
We always holidayed in Byron Bay as a family and 5 years ago decided to move here permanently. My kids love the lifestyle here and so do I.

One of the BBELS student houses.

How long have you been working at BBELS?

I have been working at BBELS for 18months. I started helping out in the student houses and now I look after all the accommodation at BBELS. Before that I was raising my 3 children and before that I was a primary school teacher in Sydney’s west.


Inside one of the BBELS student houses.

What do you especially enjoy about working with the students at BBELS?

Because I have teenage daughters I feel that I can be a sort of mum to the younger students when their own is so far away. The most important thing for me is to make sure the students feel comfortable with their accommodation so they can get the most out of their study time at BBELS.

BBELS homestay

One of the BBELS home-stay families.

As the accommodation manager, what advice would you give a student who wants to study at BBELS and find a comfortable place to stay?

The most important advice I can give is if they are studying from September to March that they make sure they have booked a suitable amount of accommodation with BBELS. This is the busiest time in Byron Bay and accommodation is not easy to find. If they want to be close to town then the student houses are a great option but if they want to experience living with the locals then homestay is a perfect choice.


Inside a BBELS student house: kitchen and dining room area.

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

Surfing of course and experiencing our beautiful beaches. BBELS provides students with all sorts of wonderful extra-curricular activities that pretty much cover everything this region has to offer.