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.

 

 

 

Meet the students: Oscar from Chile

Hey, it’s Oscar!

This week we have the pleasure of introducing you to one of the nicest students that we have had here at BBELS … Oscar from Chile. Oscar arrived in Byron Bay in April and will continue studying here until April 2019. This is a great thing for the school as he brings a sense of peace, good humour and respect in whichever class he studies in.

We should also tell you that Oscar has just returned from a trip to Japan where he was interviewed by a Japanese TV show. He is going to be famous very soon 🙂

We sat down with Oscar and asked him a few questions about his life in Chile and Byron Bay.

Oscar surrounded by a few of his fans friends

Can you tell us where you are from:

I’m from a city in Chile called Viña del Mar. It is Chile’s 4th largest city on the central coast. It’s a nice place where it’s still small enough for people to get to know one another.

Why did you decide to study in Byron Bay:

At first I looked at some of the Australian cities as a place to study but I knew that what I really needed was a quiet place. I wanted to find a calming location that was natural and undeveloped. Byron Bay looked like the perfect choice.

How is your daily life here different from your life in Chile:

The biggest difference is that in Chile I had just finished High School, my life was based around class times and homework. I hadn’t experienced much time for personal freedom and growth. Here in Byron Bay I am still going to school but I am also working and earning money which allows me to travel more. I also use my free time differently … I am becoming more aware of my mental and physical health through meditation and good vegan food.

Oscar at the lighthouse with some fellow Chilean students

How do you think your time in Byron Bay will benefit you back in Chile:

I am really interested in naturopathy however in the past my access to learning about it was limited because most of the sources are written in English. Now that my English has improved I have a greater access to medical books which will help me in my future studies in naturopathy.

Being in Byron Bay has also changed the way I look at my social environment. I have learned to appreciate my friends more than I did before. I have also learned the value of self-discipline and responsibility to myself and others.

…….

Oscar is such a friendly and open-hearted student. If you see him around school or around town, make sure you say hello. We wish him luck in his future studies here at BBELS and back in Chile.

Meet the Students: Lucas and Joao from Brazil

Two friends from Brazil: Lucas and Joao

This week we are very happy to introduce you to two students who are loved by all the BBELS staff and students. Lucas and Joao are friends who studied in the merchant navy in Brazil. They then decided to come to Australia to study English so that they can improve their job prospects internationally. They have been studying with us for 16 weeks and are now finishing an IELTS preparation course. We love their positive attitude, good humour, dependability and sense of respect towards people.

Please read below for an interview with Lucas and Joao:

Why did you decide to study in Byron Bay?

We knew that the weather is similar to Brazil, that we could enjoy the day surfing in beautiful natural surroundings. We also knew that Byron Bay is a destination for Europeans rather than Brazilians so it provides a good opportunity to study English. Living here rather than in a big city we can appreciate the smaller things in life, for example sitting on the beach and watching a beautiful sunset. We don’t need all the things we had back in Brazil.

What do you like most about BBELS?

The methodology and patience of the teachers, the mix of cultures, even the building itself. We can go on trips with our classes where we can see more of the Australian culture and landscape and learn English in an authentic environment.

How do you expect the English you have been learning at BBELS to help you when you return to Brazil?

The best companies in the merchant navy are multicultural. You need to be able to communicate with other crew members in English as well as read manuals in English. We hope to prove that our English is good enough to be hired by one of these companies.

What do you like most about the Australian culture?

Australians are generally honest, they follow the rules, it creates a safe environment to live. They are also kind and friendly. People say “hi” to you in shops or in the streets, we are looked after well by the local people.

Both of you have found jobs here in Byron Bay. Can you tell us a little about them?

The work that we do is very different to back home but we enjoy it. Lukas works as a part-time support worker for an elderly woman at her house. Joao works at a local restaurant doing dish-washing. Both jobs help support us financially plus improve our English. We should also mention that we have a second job as cleaners at BBELS.

We genuinely love having Lucas and Joao at the school and we will miss them when they graduate.

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

 

Meet the students: Laisa from Brazil

Laisa enjoying her 20th birthday with school friends

Six months ago Laisa arrived at BBELS. She is a confident person who loves to talk and laugh. This confidence helped her move from an Elementary class to an Upper-intermediate class in just 6 months. We are very proud of her achievement and so we thought this interview would help inspire others who are thinking of coming to Byron Bay to study English.

1) Could you tell us a little bit about Byron Bay and your experience studying at BBELS?

I studied at BBELS for 6 months, during the entire period of the course I felt very well looked after and welcomed by both the teachers, the administration and all the school staff. BBELS provided me with the chance to be in contact with diverse cultures. The school always encouraged the integration of everyone through activities outside the classroom, such as going out for a coffee or a walk along the beach and weekly activities of sports, surfing and yoga classes. These things impelled us to always get to know more and take advantage of everything that Byron Bay has to offer, that is, being a beautiful, small and cozy town, with interesting weekly markets. It also has a strong sense of environmental responsibility.

Practising some moves …

2) How has your English language level progressed?

When I came to Byron Bay I was in the Elementary level but after 6 months I finished  in Upper-intermediate. I achieved great progress in English through great encouragement, lots of practice, having day-long speaking classes. and a lot of attention and patience from all the teachers.

Graduation day. From Elementary to Upper-intermediate. Well done!

3) What would you say to people who are thinking of doing travelling to Byron Bay and studying at BBELS?

I would say that BBELS is a school that can provide you with incredible experiences beyond the quality of teaching. Byron Bay is a special place with lush nature, a good opportunity to learn English. You can enjoy the magic of Byron Bay. Despite it being a small town there are many tourists so this provides great employment opportunities in the hospitality area.

Thank you Laisa for being such a positive force around the school 🙂

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

CPE results. Congratulations to Femke.

Femke with her teacher Kat

A big congratulations to Femke, our lovely student from the Netherlands, who completed the CPE Boost course of study at BBELS. She has just received the happy news of her success in passing the exam.

The Cambridge proficiency exam is a demanding exam and she was nervous about getting through it but Femke worked hard with her teacher to prepare. Well done Femke and good luck with your further studies.

We would also like to  congratulate Kat, our CPE teacher, for all the hard work and dedication that she directed towards Femke during the course. Kat always receives such positive feedback from her students for her caring approach to her classes.

If you would like to know more about our Cambridge Proficiency preparation classes or about any of our other courses please contact us at info@bbels.com.au or visit our website.

Nicolas from Brazil – a class activity

Nicolas from Brazil

This week our General English Advanced class was asked to write a report detailing the differences (both good and bad) between the students’ home town and Byron Bay. It is always interesting to read the perceptions our students have of our beach-side town.

One student who wrote a particularly good report was Nicolas from Brazil. Here it is …

Byron Bay is really different from my home city, Rio. We have great beaches in Brazil but the Australian style is unique. Byron Bay has many conservation rules to keep its nature vivid and clean. The street design here is way more modern than Rio’s and the architecture feels a lot more organised than in my city. Byron Bay can be more expensive to live as it is a tourist town and the population is quite small.

Something I really love about this place is the atmosphere, it’s so peaceful and friendly. You can have a good conversation with anyone on the street, they are polite and ready to help.

Another thing I love here is that this is a surfing town, there are many sports you can go and do and you can catch awesome waves.Rio is not as good as here for surfing as the waves are usually bad.

The animals here are really different from the ones in Brazil. There are kangaroos, sharks, salt-water crocodiles, giant spiders and dangerous snakes.

Thanks Nicolas, for this excellent piece of writing. Your ability to express yourself in English is impressive and we love what you had to say 🙂

 

 

Interview with our top CAE student Peter.

Peter and his CAE teacher Kat

The latest Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) results have been released and once again we are very happy with the high standard of our students. Congratulations to our students for doing so well, some of whom got the highest level possible in the listening, reading, writing components of the exam. We are so happy for you and we hope that your CAE certificates will grant you entry into the jobs or university courses of your dreams.

One student who did exceptionally well in the exam is Peter (Germany). Peter was a model student (and a really nice guy). He didn’t miss a single lesson throughout the 12-week intensive preparation; he consistently listened to his teacher’s advice; he worked hard in class even after big nights out on the town. The result? Peter got an incredibly high “grade A” (CEFR C2 level). This included 100% in the listening component. Well done!

Peter with his classmate Julien (Switzerland)

While Peter was at BBELS he made the decision to change his life and find strong connections with the people around him. Over the period of the CAE course he became an exceptionally social person. After class each day he could be found chatting with other students around the school or playing beach volleyball at Main beach.

A classroom activity

We asked Peter a little bit about his experience at BBELS…

Why did you decide to study in the CAE preparation course?

My objective is to study a Masters in Business back home in Germany. For this it is compulsory to show you have a certain level of English. A high level CAE test result is also good for employment, especially in the sales area.

Peter’s CAE class

What did you like about the course and your teacher’s methodology?

Kat is an amazing teacher. Her explanations and directives in the classroom are very clear. She combines this great methodology with with a very warm heart. She cares for the welfare of her students, often spending extra time with them when they need someone to talk to. Kat also helped us feel comfortable in our new town, she recommended places to visit, gave us the names of good cafes and so on. At first Kat was very serious but once we knew the school rules she showed that she is quite a funny person.

Now that you have achieved such a great CAE exam result, what is your next plan?

I will travel around Australia for 3 months. I made some great friends at BBELS and we will travel together along the east coast. It’ll be a continuation of study in a way because my friends are from different countries so we will have to speak English during our travels.

If you would like to know more about the courses at Byron Bay English Language School please follow this link or email us at info@bbels.com.au