BBELS Flexi Program: an interview with Carlos and Ana

Ana and Carlos (from Spain). Two students enjoying the BBELS Flexi Program

Did you know that BBELS has connections with other English Language Schools throughout Australia? These connections allow our students to easily move between schools in different cities if they enrol through our Flexi Program.

What is the BBELS Flexi Program?

We know that some students are keen to study at BBELS however they are concerned that Byron Bay may not be the right place for a long enrolment. This is why BBELS has created the Flexi Program. It provides students studying long term at BBELS (24 weeks or more) with the opportunity to move to a city school after completing 50% of their course. The BBELS Flexi program therefore gives some assurance to our long-term students that they can change destinations if Byron Bay is not “their place”.

We have found that only 5% of our students choose to move once they have been studying here. The other 95% choose to stay in Byron Bay due to friendships, work, the relaxed culture of the town, and of course because of our wonderful teachers and staff.

To learn more about our students’ experience on the Flexi Program we interviewed Carlos and Ana. Please read their interview below.

Flexi Program: interview with Carlos and Ana

Ana and Carlos at Byron Bay’s Lighthouse

This week we spoke with Carlos and Ana, a Spanish couple who enrolled through the Flexi Program. These 2 lovely students arrived here in February and recently decided to stay until August. We sat together to discuss what concerns they had before they arrived and why they decided to stay at BBELS.

What were your concerns about studying in Byron Bay before you arrived here?

Ana: we knew that we would be studying during winter and we weren’t sure if we would be able to find work. Luckily we have both found jobs here.

Carlos: also, we didn’t know if we would still be enjoying the lifestyle here after 3 or 4 months. We felt like we needed the security of a flexible program.

Why did you decide to study in Byron Bay?

Carlos: we were living in Barcelona where it was very stressful. We needed to have a break from that life. So we preferred to live in a town rather than a city.

Ana: we also liked the position of Byron Bay. It’s in the centre of Australia’s east coast, so we can easily drive north or south to see different parts of the country.

You recently decided to continue studying here rather than move to another Australian town. Why is that?

Ana: we feel so comfortable with the local people. We love the town. It is close to the beach and it’s close to the mountains too.

Carlos: yes, it’s like we have found our own little space here. It is especially good that we are able to work here and afford a car so we can drive to local places.

Ana: Carlos has joined Byron Bay’s local basketball team too so he is making friends with local people and his English has improved because of this.

Thanks to you both for your time and beautiful photos 🙂

If you would like to know more about the BBELS Flexi Program or any of our courses please visit our website or contact us directly at info@bbels.com.au. Please note that the Flexi Program is limited to certain nationalities.

 

 

 

10 Reasons to Study English at BBELS

20170406_142420

BBELS and student bikes

Since opening in 2008 the Byron Bay English Language School has hosted over 10,000 international students. Many of our students loved studying here so much that they came back a 2nd time … some even for a 3rd time!

We are so lucky to have such a high quality school in this beautiful part of Australia. If you are thinking about studying English but you aren’t sure which school to choose, here are 10 reasons why studying at BBELS is a great idea.

  1. Academic integrity in a relaxed environment. Our teachers are passionate about teaching students of all different levels and nationalities. We identify the needs and interests of each student so that we can plan lessons according to their targets.

BBELS Teachers and Administrative team

2. Experienced group of teachers and administrative team.  The individuals in our team each speak a 2nd language, they are all well-travelled and understand the needs and frustrations of English language students. Several of our staff members love working at BBELS so much that they have been here for 10 years.

An Advanced Cambridge class on their graduation day

3. Cambridge exam success rate. Our Cambridge and IELTS exam teams are highly experienced and have successfully guided students towards their exams for years. We are very proud of the fact that the results our students achieve is above both the national and international average. Many of our Cambridge students have been able to join the company of their dreams or enter their chosen university course after studying at BBELS.

4. Activities programme. Our activities officer makes sure that there are activities after school that all of our students can enjoy. Beach volleyball, music lessons, dance lessons, yoga lessons, card games, and cooking lessons are just some of the activities that our students can join if they choose. By participating in these activities our students often make new friends while enjoying themselves outdoors.

Afternoon elective classes

5. Afternoon classes. Students in the Intermediate to Advanced level classes join “elective classes” 3-afternoons per week. Depending on the time of year, students can choose to join classes such as: vocabulary and speaking, grammar, environmental studies, Australian Studies, Business English, cinema studies. By joining these classes students have the opportunity to develop skills in the areas of their interest.

Student accommodation

6. Student houses and homestay options. We have several houses throughout Byron Bay where students can live together. We try to make sure that students only live with other students from different countries. This is a great way for them to learn about each other’s culture while practising English. We also provide the option for students to live with local homestay families. Students who take this option get to learn about the local culture while living in a family environment.

An excursion to a local forest

7. Class excursions. Trips to local villages, forests, markets and galleries are a monthly event for our classes. We always try to make sure that students have the opportunity to see places around the Byron Bay area so they can understand the local culture a bit better. It is also a perfect opportunity to use  English outside of the classroom.

The side entrance to the Laneway Cafe

8. The school (Laneway) cafe. At BBELS we are so lucky to have a school cafe. The meals are delicious and within a student’s budget. The cafe is also popular with the BBELS staff who believe that this little cafe has the best coffee in Byron Bay.

Trip to Fraser Island

9. Travel desk. BBELS has its own travel officer who has helps our students get fantastic discounts on bus and plane tickets, and accommodation in hostels and hotels throughout Australia. The travel officer also organises cheap trips to nearby towns and national parks at the weekends.

March Nationality Mix

10. Nationality Mix. As you can see from this pie chart, we are lucky to have students join us from all the continents of the world. Our students love the opportunity to meet people from different countries, many of whom make lifelong friendships while studying here.

Sunset in Byron Bay

11. Location. Yes, I know the title says “10 reasons to study at BBELS”, but here is 1 more. BBELS is located right in the middle of town. We are just a few minutes walk from cafes, supermarkets, bars and clubs. After school you can walk 10-minutes down the street to Byron Bay’s Main Beach. Byron Bay is a beautiful place to study. After school you can relax in our natural environment or enjoy cultural activities in town.

If you would like to know more about our courses contact us at info@bbels.com.au or visit our website.

 

English + Yoga. A Special Deal.

Here at BBELS we are excited to announce a very special deal with Byron Bay’s most prestigious yoga centre. For any new enrolments for English courses at BBELS (enrolments must be for a minimum of 12 weeks) our students will receive a FREE 1-month UNLIMITED pass at the Byron Yoga Centre.

(image courtesy of Byron Yoga Centre)

What a fantastic deal for our students. The yoga centre is close to school and has classes 3 times per day. You can take as many classes as you want at these times: 7:00-8:30; 4:00-5:30; 6:30-7:30.

If you are interested in this deal (or any other course options) please contact us at info@bbels.com.au. It’s a good idea to enrol quickly as this special deal with the Byron Yoga Centre is for a limited time only.

BBELS Spanish Siblings: Teresa and Paulo

sdr

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.

teresa-and-paulo1

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.

teresa-and-paulo-3

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.

teresa-and-paulo-2

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.

 

The BBELS Over-50-program

A special option to learn English for all the people who are still young at heart

General information about the program

The Over-50-program offers adults who are 50 years or older to take a big step and come to Australia in order to learn English or improve their existing English skills. You can enrol in different English courses at BBELS according to your interests while enjoying the easy-going way of life here in Byron Bay.

Of course accommodation is very important as well and that’s why we have a luxury student house for our Over-50-students which is located close to the school. The house consists of four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a nice living room and a modern kitchen. Our students have the possibility to use both laundry and dryer in the student house and are able to get free WiFi as well. You will live together with other adult students and can therefore enjoy spending time together but you’ll always have the chance to get some time on your own in your private area.

whitsunday-island

What is special about this program?

This BBELS program is only offered to adults at the age of 50 or more  and applies to all your needs and interests. We can select some luxurious excursions and activities for you if you would like to have a more comfortable way of spending their free time.

luxury-student-house

5 reasons to join

  1. You can learn English in classes with young people from many different countries.
  2. It is a great chance to spend your time, for example after retiring.
  3. Byron Bay has a lot to offer. You can relax in our beautiful natural spaces with many amazing beaches and at the same time discover all the exciting and interesting aspects of the area.
  4. You can finally fulfil your wish to travel far away which may have been a desire for a long time.
  5. This is a good opportunity to gain more confidence in your language skills and also in yourself.

20 reasons to study English at BBELS in Byron Bay

BBELS building-south

The BBELS school building

Thinking of studying English in Australia?

Here are 20 things that show why BBELS in Byron Bay is a great study destination for you!

  1. Location – BBELS is in the CBD – heart of Byron Bay

It will only take you a few seconds to be on Jonson Street, Byron Bay’s main street with plenty of trendy cafes, restaurants, and shops. And only a few minutes to be at some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. We have it all just around the corner!

  1. Class hours

We offer 22.5 hours of face-to-face tuition with highly-qualified teachers. All of them are native speakers, and have been working at BBELS for many years.

  1. BBELS Job Club

Brian, our Job Club Manager, can help you find a job in Byron Bay. During his Job Club workshop he will also show you how to create a CV in English, apply for your TFN, and set up an Australian bank account.

  1. Owned by a long-term local family- BBELS is a beautiful and charming boutique school

If you are looking for a school with a laid-back atmosphere which is also very professional, then BBELS is the ideal place for you!

  1. BBELS has 2 dedicated people to activities and travel desk

Max, our activities coordinator, organizes activities for our students each and every day. Whether you’d like to combine your English course with surfing, yoga, or some music lessons, you will surely have a ball in Byron Bay!

Reuben, our travel advisor, can help you with the booking of some Aussie tours including accommodation and flights. This way, you will have the chance to explore the rest of this amazing country just before you head back home.

  1. BBELS offers a supervised school party evening every 2 weeks at the school

The school parties on the BBELS balcony are legendary! The students easily make friends at these functions, and enjoy the evening with some live music.

  1. BBELS offers Buddy BBQs every 3 months

Each student joins the FREE barbeque with another BBELS student from a different country.

Our English only policy is a must during this fun event, and you will enjoy meeting people from all over the world.

  1. BBELS has its own licensed café- Café Oska

We have a school party on the balcony every second Friday, and a Buddy Barbeque every 3 months.

What happens when we don’t have the school parties? Then the fun goes on at Cafe Oska!

Besides special live-music events during the weekends, Cafe Oska offers some delicious breakfast and lunch specials with a great student discount. And yes, there is also a happy hour from 3pm until 5pm.

  1. BBELS has multi-lingual staff to assist low level students (we speak Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean at the school)

 We understand that our students might struggle with the language barrier during their first weeks in Australia. That’s why we are here! The team at BBELS is fluent in many languages, and we can assist you with anything you might need to know in your mother tongue.

  1. BBELS building is solar powered

Because here in Byron Bay, we like to protect our environment!

  1. BBELS is an IALC school

We have all the accreditations that Australian language schools require, but one accreditation is a bit special. IALC consists of a network of language schools world-wide that „have individual character and a real connection with their local community. All IALC language schools are quality assured and boutique, providing guaranteed professionalism, personal attention and an exceptional learning experience.“

For further information about IALC, please check their website here.

P1050633

One of our Cambridge classes on graduation day

  1. BBELS is an authorized Cambridge exam centre in Byron Bay

This means you can sit your Cambridge exam at BBELS, there is no need to travel to any other testing centre up the Coast.

  1. Excellent Cambridge exam preparation courses

Cambridge teacher Ash has been working at BBELS for 11 years, read an interview with him here.

Cambridge coordinator Kat has been working at BBELS for 8 years, read an interview with her here.

If you are still wondering why you should study Cambridge at BBELS, then read this interesting article here.

  1. Excellent IELTS exam preparation courses

IELTS teacher Liese is also an IELTS examiner, and has been working at BBELS for 9 years. Read her interview here.

Are you not quite sure what the differences between our IELTS and Cambridge exam preparation courses are? We explain this here.

  1. Own student housing close to school

We also have our own shared-accommodation for our students. All student houses are close to the school, so you can simply walk or ride by bike to BBELS!

  1. Lovely homestay family accommodation

Many BBELS students also choose to live with an Australian homestay family in Byron Bay. This is the perfect way to practice your English with some locals after classes while getting to know the Aussie culture.

Satomi volunteering

Satomi, one our Japanese studenst, volutnerring in the Northern Territory

  1. Own volunteering programs

As a volunteer you won’t only make a positive impact, but you’ll also have the chance to meet the locals, improve your English language skills and boost your CV!

Read an interesting article about the benefits of volunteering here.

  1. Academic Pathways with Southern Cross University and TAFE NSW

After successfully completing their English studies at BBELS, many students decide to continue studying at an Australian university or TAFE. BBELS offers an Academic Pathway with the Southern Cross University and TAFE NSW, which means you won’t need to sit an IELTS* exam. As long as you enrol for a General English upper-intemediate/ advanced or IELTS exam preparation course and you pass the English test with our Director of Studies, we can give you a reference letter confirming the direct entry to SCU or TAFE NSW.

*Direct entry is not accepted for the Bachelor of Nursing and Interpreting Services. Direct entry might also depend on the assessment level of the student visa application.

  1. Teen programs during Aussie winter months

 We understand that teenagers would also like to experience the fun at BBELS, and have therefore created a customized teen program which includes a General English course in combination with some typical Aussie activities like surfing, playing the didgeridoo, bush walking, and a lot more.

  1. Great nationality mix

Students from all around the world come to share the same experience at BBELS:

Study English and have fun with some typical Australian activities in beautiful Byron Bay!

 According to the BBELS motto: Learn to Live!

Teen Program

Teen Activity Program

Every year in July and August, we offer a special teenager program here at BBELS. For the duration of 2 to 6 weeks, international teenagers between 15 and 18 years can enjoy a special time in Byron Bay. Our “summer camp” style teen program includes a part time English course during the week and afternoon activities every weekday and one day at the weekend.

Teen bushwalking

Walking through a local rainforest

The teenagers take General English courses from 9am till 12.30pm during the week. Afterwards there are some special afternoon activities from 1.30pm. At the weekends there are exciting activities during the day. We offer different sport activities, like volleyball and golf, art activities like Indigenous painting and craft working and of course some interesting and fun trips like bush walks and sea kayaking. All of the arranged activities are guided by one of our supervisors.

Teen skating

Teen skateboarding class at the Byron Bay lighthouse

The students live with guardian home-stay families and experience Australian life as a part of the family. The teenagers have a single room in a house close to school, including 2 meals every weekday and 3 meals during the weekend.

Teen snorkelling photo

Snorkelling in the sub-tropical ocean at Byron Bay

The price of our program includes the airport transfer to Brisbane or the Gold Coast airport, all tuition materials and a free BBELS T-shirt.

So come to beautiful Byron Bay, and become a member of our big family!