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.

 

Meet the teachers: Prue

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In this post we are happy to introduce you to Prue. Prue has been teaching here for over 1 year. She always gets great feedback from students who love her enthusiasm and humour. Prue is currently teaching the Advanced General English class and the Hospitality and Tourism elective in the afternoons. She has also just finished teaching  some Japanese High School study tour groups.

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

I grew up in country Queensland – from a really young age I lived on really big farms all over the state, from Stanthorpe to the Gold Coast Hinterland. Basically my parents moved whenever it didn’t rain! However, growing up, I spent a lot of time hanging out and visiting Byron – it feels like home.

How long have you been working at BBELS?

I have been working at BBELS for just over a year.

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

I’ve been an English teacher since 2003 and have never looked back. I love the satisfaction that you get from teaching and seeing students improve. I also have a Masters in Journalism and still work as a freelance copywriter and journalist, so as you can guess, I love words, languages and grammar!

What do you like most about teaching students of different nationalities?

The diversity and richness the students with their life experience and cultures can bring to the classroom – I have discovered so many interesting things about so many countries, simply through listening to student’s stories – this has saved me a lot of money on flights!

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Do you have any tips for the new students who want to improve their English skills?

Get out of the house, be confident in your ability and practice your English on some Australians – the pub is a good start. Try to immerse yourself in the English language – be it movies, the radio or conversation with other foreigners. Other than that, all I can say is that practice makes perfect!

What do you like most about working at BBELS?

My work colleagues, the management team and the DOS – what a hilarious, creative and inspiring bunch of people. I also love the fact I can walk to the beach in 5 minutes after work!! I guess the students are ok. (Just joking, you guys rock!)

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Byron Bay has (got) so much to offer. What are some of the things you’d recommend students to do while they are here in the Byron Bay area?

Don’t stay at home watching DVD’s, get out there and explore all the surrounding nature and beaches Byron Bay has to offer.

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.

Interview with the students: Caden and Magdale

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Caden from South Korea and Magdale from Switzerland

In our ongoing series of student interviews Magdale interviewed Caden about why he came to Byron Bay and BBELS; things that he enjoyed doing here; things that he missed from home. We always love reading these interviews and we hope that you do too:

Today I spoke with Caden at the Byron Bay English Language School. Firstly,  I asked him how he had found out about BBELS. He told me that he had searched for English schools online and had found great comments from other students.

Before he came here Caden had started surfing in his country, Korea. He told me that here in Byron Bay there are better and easier waves so he prefers to surf here. Caden added that his best memory so far in Byon Bay is the time when he first stood up on his surfboard for a long time.

I asked him if he ever felt lonely here and he replied that he had never been alone because he arrived with his best friend Yongki.  Sometimes he misses his family because they are very important to him.

I wanted to know what was Caden’s favourite place in Byron Bay and he answered that he loved going to the Lighthouse.

Finally I asked him about his plans for the weekend and he replied that he was going to meet some friends and cook Spanish paella with them.

Good luck Cambridge students, welcome new students

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Graduation Day for our Cambridge preparation course class

It’s amazing to think that 10-weeks have passed since our latest group of students arrived to prepare for the Cambridge exams. We wish them luck in their exams and future careers and hope that they enjoy their trips around Australia.

The students left very positive feedback relating to the course and their teacher. One student said I am sad but happy at the same time but above all I am grateful to you guys and our wonderful Cambridge teacher. A thank you is not enough.

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BBELS continues to be busy. This week we had students arrive from South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, Spain, and Japan. It is a great time of year to study at BBELS – Byron Bay has less tourists than usual and the surfing conditions are great.

We hope to see you here soon 🙂

After exam excursions

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Our Upper-intermediate class at Brunswick Heads 

This week all of our General English students took their monthly exam. Exam weeks are usually filled with lots of revision to reinforce the grammar and vocabulary that has been taught throughout the month.

Students in the Upper-intermediate class were rewarded for their fantastic results by being taken on an excursion to the local sea-side village of Brunswick Heads.

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Brunswick Heads is only 20 minutes north of Byron Bay. It has a beautiful river where you can watch the sunrise and sunset and if you are lucky you can see dolphins and whales there. It’s a great place to surf and go fishing and of course, for our students, the perfect spot to unwind after a week of revision and testing.

New Afternoon Class: Vocabulary through Drawing

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Our Vocabulary through Drawing students studying at Byron Bay’s Main Beach

At BBELS we like to explore new approaches to learning vocabulary. For this reason we have opened a new afternoon class called Vocabulary through Drawing. Here students get the chance to study English in a creative context where they learn new vocabulary to describe landscape, people, form, shades and textures.

Each lesson requires the students to learn new drawing techniques that develop their artistic skills. After each drawing session the students give a presentation of their work, in English of course, to the rest of the class.

The Vocabulary through Drawing class is a great way to develop your level of English. The class is taught by one of our favourite teachers, Andrew, who has a background in visual art. It is open to all full-time students from the Intermediate to Advanced classes. We hope to see you there!

Meet the students: Renan from Brazil

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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

20 reasons to study English at BBELS in Byron Bay

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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.

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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.

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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!