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 🙂

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from BBELS

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The entrance to BBELS

It has been a big year here at Byron Bay English Language School. We have had over 1,000 students enter our classrooms from all parts of the world. We are now in our last week of school for 2016 and our remaining 130 students are planning their Christmas holidays.

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A graph showing the success of our March CAE class

This year our Cambridge Exam Preparation courses were highly successful. Our students continued to get great results in FCE, CAE, and the CPE exams. The BBELS Cambridge Exam teachers have become highly skilled in delivering the strategies and skills needed for our students to pass the exams. We may live in a relaxed beach town but our teachers motivate their students to achieve their potential.

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Our students at Fraser Island

Although academic integrity is our highest priority we also appreciate the fact that our students need to have fun outside the classroom. Our activities team worked overtime this year sending students to Fraser Island and helping them buy discounted tickets to different parts of Australia.

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The BBELS Australian Football League team

Our activities manager, Max, was very busy organising regular activities each afternoon. These included surfing lessons, snorkelling and scuba diving, sky-diving, music lessons, yoga classes, polka tournaments. These activities were often free or at a discounted price. Max was particularly proud of his AFL team (shown above).

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One of our students from the United Arab Emirates study tour

During winter we had 5 study tours visit us from Japan, Laos, and the United Arab Emirates. These younger students got the chance to study in multicultural classrooms, live with homestay families, and improve their English.

From all of us at BBELS we wish you a very happy Christmas. We hope to see you here in the new year 🙂

BBELS team in AFL 9’s tournament for the first time ever!

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The AFL 9’s tournament is held every year from the end of October until mid December and it takes place at the grounds of the Cavanbah Sports Centre in Byron Bay. AFL stands for Australian Football League, a game unique to Australia and also its most popular sport.

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This year Max, our activities manager, has formed a team of students from various countries: LoĂŻs, Maxime and Loic (Switzerland French part); Kim, Nadja, Florian and CĂ©line (Switzerland German part); Gianluca (Italy); Julia and David (the Netherlands); William (France) and Alex (Germany) as well as Reuben (our travel consultant) to compete against seven other local teams. Each team comprises of six male and three female players plus reserves. That is one of the reasons why Max, coach and player, liked the idea of entering the school in a mixed team competition. It is also a special and unique opportunity for our students to play a game only played in this country.

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All the team members are enjoying this whole experience and are starting to improve their skills as well as their teamwork. After losing their first game through lack of experience, they have won their next three to sit second on the ladder.

All the school looks forward to supporting them in their upcoming games and wishes them lots of luck!

Interview with a student: Maribel from Mexico

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In this post we will introduce you to one of the friendlest and most positive students we have had at BBELS. Maribel comes from Mexico. She studied a combination of both General English and IELTS. You can read her interview below …

Why did you decide to come to Australia?

I decided to come to Australia because of my boyfriend. He is Australian and he was living with me in Mexico for 4 years until we decided to come to Australia to try to have a new experience in life.

How long have you been studying in Byron?

I have been studying at BBELS for 6 months.

What do you like most about BBELS?

I like most about BBELS the quality of the service that is offered to me as student, the variety of nationalities between students and the professional teachers. I have been enjoying my classes and the activities at the school.

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Which place is your favourite place in Byron Bay?

My favourite place to share time with interesting local people is the Aged Care where I have been volunteering since I came here. I enjoy doing activities there with people who have amazing histories to talk about. It is also a good place for practicing my English, they are always happy to help me with my pronunciation.

Another favourite place for having a walk is Tallow Beach, I love going to the beach with my dog. It is a perfect place for that.

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How do you expect the English you have been learning at BBELS to help you when you get back to your country?

I expect that I will use it in my job, and having a conversation with foreign people who visit my country. In addition, English is an important language around the world. For that reason it will be easier to speak with people of different nationalities when I travel overseas.

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What do you like most about the Australian culture as well as the people and how is it different from your culture at home?

In my opinion the Australian culture is one of the friendliest around the world. I love that Australia has a diverse culture. It is very different from my country but both are beautiful places.

Wherever there are friends, there is a party!

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School life at BBELS is not only about learning but also about spending time with your friends and getting to know people from many different countries. It is another important aspect of your experience here in Byron Bay.

That’s why we offer a variety of parties and fun activities at our school. From regular school parties to poker game nights to DJ nights with special guests at the Laneway Café (previously Café Oska), we have it all!

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Our regular school parties are held every two weeks on Friday evening. You can have a nice time with all the students from BBELS and enjoy some great live music on the school’s balcony.

A special event, which usually takes place five or six times per year, is our Buddy Barbecue. In this case, every student gets his or her own Buddy who will be their partner for the free barbecue dinner. We mix all the students so that they are not from the same class and not from the same country. Therefore it is a great opportunity for them to get to know other students of different nationalities and to have an interesting conversation in English.

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What’s more we organise an international student party night at BBELS and for that event we invite not only our students but also the students from other schools and colleges here in Byron Bay. During summer it takes place once every month.

And there’s more! Depending on the number of students who are interested we have a poker game each Monday. Here you can practice your poker skills for the real competition which might be waiting for you.

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If you are not interested in playing poker, you can join one of our Open Balconies which are held on a Wednesday evening once or twice per month. It is an informal get-together for our students to relax on the school’s balcony with their friends.

Enjoy your time at BBELS!

Highest Rating for BBELS Cambridge Test Centre

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One of our Cambridge Advanced English classes on graduation day

In order to continue our role as a Cambridge Testing Centre we are visited each year by an inspector who checks that we are fully compliant with the rules and regulations issued by Cambridge. The inspector checks our administrative history and observes our team as we carry out the test throughout the day.

The Cambridge inspector visited our centre this week and we are very proud to say that we were awarded the Highest Rating for compliance as a testing centre. Part of the report stated:

Congratulations on your centre being awarded the highest rating. We would like to take this opportunity to compliment you and your colleagues on this successful outcome and the positive contribution you have made to our high standards.

Clear and consistent communication between invigilator, DoS/CEM / Senior staff ensured a smooth test administration.

We have shown in previous posts  the good results that our Cambridge students achieve. Now this evaluation by the latest inspection shows that we can be trusted to make the test day as reliable and smooth as possible for our students.

Byron Bay English Language School is a fantastic place to prepare for the Cambridge exams. The next Cambridge Exam Preparation Courses start on January 3rd 2017. If you are interested in obtaining any further information about our exam courses and start dates please contact us at info@bbels.com.au.

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!