Another BBELS Love Story

How many more stories can we post about relationships that have started here at BBELS?

In September 2010 Michael Jud and Nadine Lauber met while enrolled in our Cambridge Exam preparation course. Although they studied in different classes Michael and Nadine still managed to meet one another … and the rest is history! Michael said that he “fell in love with Nadine on the first day of school but it took her a little longer” 🙂

Our fabulous activities officer Max reuniting with Michael, Nadine, and Merel.

This week the lovely couple returned … with their newborn baby Merel! Interestingly September seems to be “their” month. They met in September 2010, they married in September 2015, and their baby Merel was born in September 2017.

We are so happy to see the three of them here at BBELS where it all began. If you have any more stories about friendships or relationships that started at BBELS please let us know.


Congratulations to Thomas and Rosa

Rosa and Thomas with Marlon

Here at BBELS we would like to offer a BIG congratulations to Thomas Schenker and Rosa Fazari on the birth of their beautiful baby boy Marlon.

Thomi is a former student at BBELS. He first studied with us in 2009 when he completed a 12 week Cambridge preparation course. He enjoyed his time here so much that he has returned twice! Thomi and Rosa met at the Primary School where they teach. On Thomi’s 3rd trip here Rosa also studied with us in our General English program.


We love hearing from our former students. If you would like to share any updates about yourself please contact us at Meanwhile, once again, congratulations to Thomi and Rosa.

Meet the students: Renan from Brazil



Renan, our 16 year old student from Brazil

In this post we will introduce you to Renan. Renan travelled to Byron Bay by himself to study English. He became a favourite student in his Intermediate class with both his teacher and classmates. He also became a popular house-mate in his Australian homestay house. In this interview Renan talks about his experience in Byron Bay as a 16 year old student …

Why did you decide to come to Australia?

I wanted to improve my English and I had two options. I could go to Australia or to Canada. But honestly, I think Canada is too cold. A friend of mine, who went to Australia before, showed me some pictures and told me a few things about the country. And I really liked it.

How long have you been studying in Australia?

I have already been here for three months. And I really would like to stay for a longer time. But I have to go back to Brazil, because I only took a break from high school.


Meeting the wildlife on a school trip to the local wildlife sanctuary

 What do you like most about BBELS?

The methods of teaching are very interesting. It is never boring in class. My teacher does a lot of different things with us, and we also do excursions or just have a class outside. We went to the Currumbin zoo, to the lighthouse and to some cafes in Byron Bay.

You are one of our underage students. What did you experience about being one of the youngest students at school?

All students and staff at school really take care of me. On orientation day I made a lot of friends from different countries already and everybody helped me. So I do not feel homesick at all.

The only thing that is a little bit different is going out in the evening. I am not allowed to go out, and I have to be at home when my homestay family wants. But I understand it because my homestay family and the school, are responsible for me.


Renan with his homestay family and housemates

You live in a guardian home stay family. Tell us a little bit about it.

My family is amazing. They care a lot and help me with everything. We really have a good relationship. And they cook for me what I want. There are 5 other students living in this big house, and I really feel like home in a big family. And they help me with my English.

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

 I like to play volleyball and go to the beach. It is good to meet the other students and become friends with them. I also took some surf lessons with the school. And now I go surfing a lot. And I like the school parties of course, because these are the only parties I can go to.



A big family meal at the homestay house

What do you like most about Byron?

The people here are very friendly and open minded. In my first week here, I was lost. I could not remember the way home. So I asked a guy in the street and he was very nice and just gave me a ride home.

I also love the beautiful beaches here. You have good waves and good places to surf.

Check out this interview with Renan and another teenage student Laura in Portuguese

Meet the Staff: Max the Activities Manager


In our latest instalment of Meet the Staff we are happy to introduce you to Max. Max is a positive force at BBELS, tirelessly organising sport and cultural activities for the students after class and at the weekends. It is often during these activities that our students get to know each other in a relaxed and fun environment.

Max, tell us a little bit about yourself. Are you originally from Byron Bay?

No, I grew up in Sydney. I came to Byron with a band I was playing with at the time. And then I decided to stay 🙂

How long have you been working at BBELS? I started in August 2003 and was only meant to be here for 2 months.  It’s been a long and exciting 2 months 😉

What other fields did you work in before you started working at BBELS?  Before I started my job here at BBELS I worked as a Drama teacher at one of the local High Schools. Before that I worked as an actor for 10 years


Why would you recommend a student to come to our school?

Because there is no other place in the world like Byron. Your experience at BBELS will change your life forever and for the better.

As the activities manager, tell us a little bit about the activities and parties at school.

Well where to start … we have got a wide range of activities here at BBELS. Surfing of course has to be the No.1.  Byron is one of the surfing capitals of the world and for beginners it’s a very safe place to learn surfing . We love the beach and we have many activities that are beach and ocean related. Scuba diving is amazing and even comparable to the Great Barrier Reef. Kayaking on a sunny morning with the dolphins is wonderful and some Beach Volleyball in the afternoon always goes down well. Basically Byron Bay is a very sporty and cultural town, so there are many activities to take part in. As for our School Parties, well they are world famous (!!!) with live music where students get to showcase their talents and unwind with new friends from all over the world!!!


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

Take a bus trip into the hills in the hinterland. Visit the local markets, especially early in the morning. Watch the sunrise from Cape Byron. If you like it, go mountain-biking in the rainforest. Talk to the locals in town. And last but not least be open-minded and speak English as much as you can!

Meet the staff: Liese our IELTS teacher

Liese 1

In this post we will introduce you to one of our most-loved teachers, Liese. Liese is our specialist IELTS teacher. The great thing about having her teaching IELTS is that she also works as an IELTS examiner so she knows which points to emphasise during our 12-week IELTS courses. Students who take the IELTS exam in her class invariably get great results. Many of our IELTS students have elected to take the course a second time because they enjoyed it so much.

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

I am originally from New Zealand, but have lived in London, Tokyo and Sydney before moving to Byron Bay. In Tokyo I mainly worked at Kanda Gaigo Gakuin, which is a very large and famous college. And I also taught English at Chuo University. Furthermore I worked for an advertising agency and for Mulberry.

How long have you been working at BBELS?

I have worked at the school for seven years.

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

The students at BBELS are an interesting eclectic mix of young people from a wide variety of backgrounds, nationalities and interests. BBELS reminds me of the Japanese language school I studied at in Kanazawa, Japan for the summer. We rode bikes to school and went swimming in the afternoon. The school had a wonderful environment and everyone in the town knew we were students and helped us with our homework.

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

I have done all sorts of jobs, from cleaning to working for an international advertising agency, which gives me insights into all kinds of life experiences. In London I worked in a law firm and as a result then got a job, marketing new alcohol brands for Guiness in Cameroon. It is still the most enjoyable and most highly paid job I ever had. Unfortunately I was arrested for taking a photo of the national bank. But luckily my company in London paid the “ransom” money.

Liese 2

Why would you recommend a student to take an IELTS course?

IELTS is the main exam required for entry to university and any post graduate studies. It is also needed in order to be considered for scholarships or funding  and for anyone wishing to have their previous professional qualifications recognised in Australia. It is also required for sponsorship and of course for all residency requirements.

As an IELTS teacher, what advice would you give a student who wants to study IELTS at BBELS?

The best reason to take IELTS in Australia is you get to have fun and improve your English and job opportunities at the same time. Australia uses a mixture of American and British English, so you are able to pick up truly International English.

IELTS requires a lot of study, but BBELS students always do very well in the test and feel very confident in all areas of English by the time they graduate.

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

See the sunrise and the sunset and watch out for the birds.


BBELS Student Emiliano

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Hi, my name is Emiliano, I come from Italy and I came to BBELS for the first time in 2012 enjoying a General English course. As long as I was doing high school in Italy, I couldn’t stay longer than one month, but I enjoyed it so much, the time spent at BBELS, that I had to come back.
So, once I finished high school I came back with a working holiday Visa, enjoying the IELTS class for 8 weeks.
Something that I really love at BBELS are the activities: there is always something interesting to do and student parties are by far my favourite activities as long as everybody get the chance to play live music.
As soon as I finished my classes, the Job Club helped me to find a job, first in a Café and then in a food processing plant.
I also volunteered helping disabled people sailing in Lennox Head. These work experiences gave me the chance to earn enough money to buy a car and be completely independent from my parents.
Afterwards I decided to start Griffith University on the Gold Coast the next year.


In April this year Max organised a group of long term students staying in Byron Bay (from April to September) to play a season of football (soccer) for a local team,”Eureka” a small village situated in the Byron Hinterland (20 mins from BB).

Max spoke with Norm Black,Eureka FC Team Manager and local businessman, to see if he could get some sponsorship to help the students cover some their costs.
Norm generously sponsored “Our Boys” through his business “Trip a Deal” and this looks becoming an ongoing relationship for all future BBELS students.

So if your planning on coming to Australia (April-September) to study English and love playing football come to BBELS and we will get you on the field.

ps. at the moment we are running 2nd. We average 5 goals a game and are a genuine contender for the title!!!!!


Photo (left to right) Francisco Arriagada (Chile) Eduardo Diuana (Brasil) Andreas Siegrist (Switzerland) Max Donati (BBELS Activities Coordinator) Marco Tepedino (Brasil)
Missing: Jono Aves (Switzerland) Chaiy Donati (BBELS)