Tell me about you: BBELS student interview

Noelle and Cassandra

This week our “Upper-intermediate A” class has been studying reported speech. The students perfected their understanding of the grammar point while getting to know their classmates through an interview project.

In this interview Cassandra (Italy) interviewed Noelle (Switzerland). Here is her report:

Noelle is a very nice girl from Switzerland. I asked her whether she currently had a partner and with a big smile her answer was “yes”. She has been with her boyfriend for four and a half years. She added that he was living in Switzerland.

My second question was about her academic life. She replied that after 9 years in a “regular’ school, she had begun studying while working in a travel agency. She worked there for 3 years. She added that she finished her studies with an interesting course directed towards children with disabilities.

After that I wondered if she was practising any sport and how she spent her free time. She explained that she went jogging, that she could play the violin and that she spent her free time with her boyfriend and friends.

My following question was about what the most important thing in her life was. Noelle’s short and poignant answer was her family.

I concluded my interview by enquiring whether she had a dream. Her shining eyes replied for her. She said she had many dreams but the biggest one was to travel around the world.

An Excursion to Brunswick Heads

Walking along the wall at Brunswick Heads

At BBELS we encourage our students to use their language skills in real contexts. For this reason we have regular excursions to towns and villages near Byron Bay.

Today our Upper-intermediate class visited the beautiful seaside village of Brunswick Heads. It is well-known for its surfing and fishing beaches, excellent cafes, and for its river with dolphins and turtles.

At the end of the wall looking north to the Gold Coast region

 

Our students always love the excursions that we organise. They get to see parts of the Byron Bay region that only locals know about. They also get to speak English in a relaxed environment with their classmates and local people. As you can see from these photos, it is a great way to learn English while sightseeing around Byron Bay.

 

 

 

Study IELTS at BBELS

Our next IELTS course starts on Monday June 19th. It is always one of our most popular courses and our students have achieved some really great results. This post will explain a little bit about the IELTS exam and answer some of the common questions that our students ask.

What is IELTS?

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an exam that tests your ability in English. More specifically, it examines your levels in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The IELTS certificate is recognised by 10,000 institutions around the world.

There are 2 types of IELTS tests: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.

IELTS Academic is suitable for students who want to study at universities and colleges. It is also suitable for professional accreditation in certain jobs, these include: healthcare, accounting, engineering, law, tourism, finance.

IELTS General Training is suitable for students who are interested in applying for visas. It is especially helpful for students who want to migrate to Australia, New Zealand, the U.K, Canada. We often recommend our students to take this exam if they are interested interested in getting an internationally recognised certificate which shows their level of English.

What is the test format?

The test is divided in listening, reading, writing, speaking. The listening format is the same for both Academic and General.

Listening (30 minutes):

You listen to 4 different recordings of native English speakers. These will include: a conversation between two people; a monologue in a social context; a conversation between up to 4 people; a monologue on an academic subject.

Writing (60 minutes):

Academic test: You will be presented with 2 tasks. Task 1 requires you to describe a graph or diagram. Task 2 requires you to write an essay.

General test: Task 1 asks you to write a letter in a semi-formal or formal style. Task 2 asks you to write an essay.

Reading (60 minutes):

Academic test: includes 3 texts from books, newspapers, whose vocabulary and topics are suitable for those at a university level

General Test: includes texts from books, newspapers whose vocabulary and topics are suitable for those who understand English on a general level.

Speaking (11-14 minutes):

The speaking test is divided into 3 parts. You will be asked to talk about yourself; speak about a particular topic; extend a discussion by expressing ideas and issues.

 

Our IELTS courses are a great way to improve your English level. You don’t have to do the exam, you can simply study in the class, however we do recommend it. We always receive great feedback about our course.

If you are interested in joining our next IELTS course (June 19th start date) please come and speak with us at reception or contact us at info@bbels.com.au.

Happy New Year from BBELS

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Our starters this week

It has been a fantastic start to the new year here at Byron Bay English Language School. Since the 3rd of January we have had 101 new students enter our classrooms. They are now studying in our Cambridge and IELTS preparation courses, and in our General English programs.

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As you can see from this graph we have an extremely diverse range of students studying here from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. We always enjoy seeing the way in which people from different cultures learn from each other and make life-long friendships.

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Some of our new students on their first day

We hope that all of our new students and continuing students have a great time here at the school and in Byron Bay. Happy New Year everyone 🙂

International cooking class

Cooking classes are always a fun way to spend the morning here at BBELS. With such a diverse nationality mix this class got to enjoy a range of Swiss, Spanish, Japanese, and French cuisine. During the classes the students speak in English as they work together. What a fantastic reward at the end to sit down and enjoy all of this beautiful looking food!

Student interview: Mar and Leandra

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Mar from Spain  and Leandra from Switzerland

As part of an upper-intermediate class activity Mar interviewed her classmate about her time in Byron Bay. Here is the interview:

Yesterday I spoke to Lea, a 21 year old Swiss girl who is studying a sixteen week general English course at Byron Bay English Language School. I spoke to her about her life in Byron Bay and her experience as a BBELS student.

I asked Lea how she would describe Byron and she said that it is an awesome place where you can find nice beaches and an amazing and healthy lifestyle. Lea added that the people there are really friendly, open-minded, spontaneous and very relaxed.

I wanted to know what the classes were like and she told me that they were dynamic and interesting. The teachers are also very professional but what she likes most is that she is able to work on each language skill daily (speaking, writing, listening, reading and grammar).

I then asked her what she was going to do when she finished her English course and she told me she has planned a seven week trip to visit the most stunning places in the country such as: Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Cairns, Tasmania, Kangaroo Island and Uluru.

Finally I asked her if she thought that Byron Bay was a good place to study English. She didn’t have any hesitation in answering “Of course!” She explained to me that the natural environment, the relaxed lifestyle and the multicultural atmosphere made Byron an unbeatable destination. She added that everyone should come here at least once in a lifetime.

 

BBELS Spanish Siblings: Teresa and Paulo

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Cooking Class at BBELS

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Sitting down for lunch at BBELS

Our students at BBELS are always keen to share their national cuisine with their classmates. This week one of our Intermediate classes excelled themselves in the kitchen.

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Joao and Luciana from Brazil cooking “brigadeiro”

With students from Brazil, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan the class had the opportunity to sample food from 3 different continents.

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Yu from Japan preparing a salad

It is always fun to have a break from class and use English in an authentic and functional way.

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A delicious feast

Looking at these mouth-watering dishes the staff at BBELS hope that there will be another cooking class soon 🙂

 

100% pass-rate for FCE students

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A group photo with some of our FCE students on their first day at BBELS

Congratulations to all of our June FCE students. You all passed your exam. We are very happy for you!

Over a 12-week period the FCE students studied a mountain of grammar and vocabulary that was necessary to pass the exam. Their fabulous teacher Katherina said that they were one of the hardest-working groups she had ever taught so it is so good to see that all their time and effort resulted in each of the students passing the FCE exam.

BBELS is a great place to prepare for the Cambridge exams. Our teachers have years of experience and consistently achieve good results. Each day our Cambridge students study for 4.5 hours and then balance this hard work with a few hours of relaxation at the beach at the end of the day.

Our next Cambridge courses start on the 5th September. We hope to see you there then 🙂