Friday Night Activity: Buddy BBQ


Last Friday evening BBELS hosted another one of its very popular Buddy BBQs. The idea for these events is that for one evening students are given a “buddy” from a different country, class level and language group. This is to help provide a space where our very multicultural group of students can make new friends. The “buddies” sit together and have a free dinner on the school balcony before mixing with all of the other students to listen to live music and dance the night away.


Antonio from Spain and Louise from France


Students from Switzerland, Brazil and Japan enjoying the evening.


Tito from Spain and Medina from Switzerland

The Buddy BBQs are held quite regularly and are always a lot of fun. The BBQs are part of our activities program that is designed to help balance the needs of study with pleasure.

BBELS Activities Program: January


This month’s activities program

To make the time for our students here at BBELS even more special, we offer some fun activities every day. Most of our activities are free and are held after class like beach volleyball, soccer and table tennis. We also offer free conversation classes and music classes once a week in the afternoon.  And for a small price, you can also join yoga classes twice a week.


The BBELS soccer team with two South Korean soccer coaches

If you like water activities, we can book surf lessons, snorkelling trips and also dolphin kayaking trips for you, whenever you want. These activities are suitable for all levels of ability.


But we offer much more than sporting activities. This month we have also had a shopping trip to the Gold Coast and a walking tour into the forests of Springbrook National Park. Next week we have organised a Fraser Island trip for four days. For music lovers we have transport to take you to Brisbane’s famous Laneway Music Festival in the first weekend of February where you will see international bands such as Beach House, DIIV, Grimes, Chvrches and Purity Ring.


The activity program is updated each month. Check out the activities notice board outside the travel office. If you have any questions or suggestions for activities please speak with Max.

Meet the teachers: Ash


It is our pleasure to introduce you to Ash, who is one of our favourite teachers here at BBELS. Ash is our longest serving teacher and is extremely experienced in teaching Cambridge classes and General English. The students love him for his clear and focussed lessons as well as for his dry sense of humour.

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

I originally came to Byron about 16 years ago to study primary school teaching at Southern Cross University in Lismore, and I never left. Before that I grew up in Sydney but when I go there these days, I definitely feel like I’m from a small town. In Byron I love to surf, play golf and squash and to read grammar books in my free time. The last one is my favourite activity 🙂

How long have you been working at BBELS?

Let’s just say that when I started I had lovely blonde hair!


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

I really enjoy teaching English, especially to higher levels, and It’s always nice to see smiling faces in the morning. I also like working with people from all over the world … it lets me feel like travelling without actually travelling.

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

I used to be a primary school teacher, which has definitely helped with teaching English…especially discipline! 🙂

Why would you recommend a student take a Cambridge course?

Cambridge is great as it is a fully structured 12 week course which teaches grammar, interesting vocabulary topics, and improves student’s writing, reading and listening. And of course you get an internationally recognised certificate at the end of it. It’s also great for general English students who want something a little more academic to finish their studies with.


As a Cambridge teacher, what advice would you give a student who wants to do a Cambridge course at BBELS?

Some general English study is very useful prior to studying Cambridge, but aside from this, trying to expose yourself to as much English as possible is always a good thing.

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

The usual things like surfing and spending time at the beach is common, but many students don’t realise how amazing the area around Byron is. Travel up into the area west of Byron, check out towns like Bangalow and Brunswick.


Meet the students: Jules from New Caledonia


Meet Jules our New Caledonian student. He studied in the IELTS class and received a fantastic result in his IELTS exam. Jules could often be heard playing his guitar outside the school each afternoon but now he can be found working in one of Byron Bay’s Mexican restaurants. Jules is an example of how it is possible for our students to study and find work here in Byron Bay. Read below to learn more about this interesting man …

Why did you decide to come to Australia?

I wanted to start travelling the world, and Australia looked like a good starting point, I can work on my English, and enjoy the sea.

How long have you been studying in Australia?

I studied in Australia for 8 weeks, to pass my IELTS exam.

What do you like best about BBELS?

Meeting new people from around the world, discovering new cultures, the mood and feelings around and in the school, playing music with a lot of different musicians.


You are working in a restaurant and you worked at the markets. Tell us about it.

Working in a market is hard. It starts early in the morning, you have to work a lot to be ready for the never-ending waves of people coming, you are paid depend on the selling. That was pretty hard. On the other hand, working in a restaurant is only hard the first month. You have to learn everything, remember a lot of different stuff. When you are ready, it’s always the same thing, so it’s not that bad. Good money, anyway.

Can you also tell us a little bit about your passion for music?

I’ve been playing music for all my life, as far as I can remember. Started with piano, for 15 years, and then I started touching everything, try new instruments. Now, I’m working on my guitar playing and singing skills. But yeah, music is pretty much all I’ve got. That’s why I love to play at school parties and in town.


What do you like about Byron Bay?

Byron Bay is an amazing place for musicians, lot of opportunities if you know where to look at. Also great to meet people from different countries, which I love. It’s a really relaxed town, stuck in time, far away from world troubles and politic bullshits. It’s like a haven for lost travellers. Once you are here, you don’t want to leave.

What are you planning to do next?

I’m still asking myself the same question. Travel more, I guess, but where to go next ?

Friday night parties at BBELS

Friday party

A small group of our students enjoying the first BBELS party for 2016

At BBELS we know that the best way for students to make friends and socialise is through our regular Friday night parties. Students of different nationalities and English levels enjoy each other’s company as they eat, drink and listen to live music.

When students talk to us about some of their best experiences here in Byron Bay they often mention how much fun they had at the parties – the school balcony provides a perfect place to chill out with new friends in our warm tropical climate.

friday party

At last Friday’s party our new students mixed with the continuing students from 2015 for a night of fun. Our students are very open-minded and sociable so it doesn’t take them long to form new friendships, this is something we believe is an important part of the BBELS experience. If you missed last week’s party we encourage you to attend our next great night on the balcony!

Congratulations to our Cambridge students


Cambridge September-December 2015

The results have just arrived for our last group of Cambridge students and we are extremely happy with their achievements.

Our Advanced Cambridge classes got a combined total of 84%, with one student receiving a grade “A”. The First Certificate class worked extremely hard, they received an average of 93%.

These are fantastic results and we are very proud of the students and their teachers. The results show that students can balance the fun atmosphere of Byron Bay with the hours of study that are needed to pass the Cambridge exams.

We hope that the certificates help our students in their future careers and studies. Well done everyone!

Happy New Year from BBELS


Our first new group of students for 2016

Happy New Year to all of our students, both past and present. We hope that you enjoyed the holiday over Christmas and that you have entered 2016 with a feeling of optimism for all the exciting things you will achieve this year.

Here at BBELS we have started 2016 with a very friendly group of students who have come to study General English, IELTS, and the Cambridge exams. We have a big range of nationalities here at the moment, including students from Switzerland, Japan, South  Korea, Brazil, the Netherlands, Argentina, Chile, Belgium, France, Spain, Colombia, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, Germany, Italy.

We know that this culturally diverse group of students will soon make strong friendships here at the school. From all of us at BBELS, good luck for 2016!