Meet the Staff: Lauren at Reception

In this post we are happy to introduce you to Lauren. Lauren works at reception where she helps students with general enquiries. She is also fluent in Japanese and so she is able to help our Japanese students if they need to speak in their first language.

We asked Lauren to answer a few questions so you can get to know her better. Here they are 🙂

1. What is your role at BBELS? 

My job is student services and reception. I help our students adjust to life in Byron Bay and assist with any questions or problems they might have. I’m also in charge of Japan marketing because I can speak Japanese.

2. What did you do before coming to work at BBELS?

I worked as an English teacher in Japan for 6 years. I spent a lot of time traveling around the country and lived in Tokyo, Hokkaido and Kyoto. I have just moved home to Australia recently and was lucky enough to have the chance to continue my connection with English education at BBELS.

3. What are your tips for learning a 2nd language?

Do what you love in English! Whether it’s watching movies, listening to music, reading. Whatever keeps you interested will keep you motivated and help you to learn how to communicate in natural English, not just textbook grammar.

4. Where is a nice place you enjoy going to in the local area?

Byron Bay is very beautiful, but I also recommend visiting the surrounding areas such as Ballina (my hometown), Lennox Head and Bangalow. They have all the charms of Byron but without the crowds!

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

Welcome to BBELS, Byron Bay’s only independent English Language School

This year the Byron Bay English Language School is so excited to be celebrating its 21st birthday. Since 1998 we have had over 10,000 students from all over the world enter our classrooms. These students have successfully graduated from our General English courses as well as our Cambridge and IELTS exam preparation courses.

As you can see from this previous post our students graduate with results that are above the national and international average. So not only do we have a school in one of Australia’s most beautiful beach destinations, we also ensure that our students are receiving high quality lessons that will benefit them in their future chosen paths.

Being an independent school we are able to treat students according to their individual needs, unlike the bigger chain schools which follow programs with only a mass market in mind. Our students love it here and we know that you will too.

For more information about BBELS visit our website.

 

How to choose an ESL school

The entrance to BBELS

There are so many language schools around the world that it can be difficult to choose which school will be best for what you need. Here is a short guide to help you in your decision-making process.

1. Has the school been operating for a long time?

School’s with a long history will usually have experienced teachers and administrative staff to help you achieve your language goals. Their courses should also have a clear curriculum with learning outcomes that are nationally and internationally accredited.

BBELS has been operating for 21 years. This is quite an accomplishment for a small independent boutique school. During this time our teachers have developed fantastic methodologies to explain the details of English grammar in ways which are interesting to students. Our administrative team has also learnt how to support students when they first arrive as well as provide continuing assistance to our long-term students.

2. Is the school nationally and internationally accredited?

Before booking a course with a school it is important to check that it has passed the standards required within its own country as well as internationally. If a school isn’t accredited by serious governing organisations, it could easily not be delivering high quality services.

BBELS is accredited here in Australia through ASQA and NEAS.  Internationally we are proud to be members of the prestigious IALC organisation. To be accredited through these companies we are required to be inspected on a regular basis. During this process inspectors interview students and staff in order to check the school is maintaining a high standard of excellence. Inspectors also check the school building, observe classes, and view the course curriculum.

3. Does the school have positive online feedback?

Before booking a course make sure you spend time checking the school’s online feedback. Try to find reviews on Google, and comments on the school’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Be cautious of school’s that have no feedback. Also, schools with 100% positive feedback might look good but there is a big chance they have deleted any negative reviews.

At BBELS we ask our students to provide feedback when they graduate as well as to speak to us if they have any suggestions on how to improve. We are always ready to listen to new ideas.

4. Does the school have links with other education providers?

If you are interested in staying in Australia over an extended period it is a good idea to look for a language school which can provide a pathway for you to study at other institutions. If you study at a school that doesn’t have agreements with other education providers, you might not have the opportunities to extend your visa or study to your fullest potential while you are here.

BBELS provides pathways to other language schools throughout Australia. This means you can move to another part of Australia and continue studying quite easily. We also have agreements with other education providers in the tertiary sector.

5. Does the school provide discounted options for local activities and travel?

Of course your main priority should be to study hard while you are in Australia but this also needs to be balanced with the opportunity to travel around the country at an affordable rate. Students also need the chance to participate in activities after school so that they can socialise and pursue sporting or creative interests.

BBELS has a strong after school activities program. Students can participate in a range of sports such as beach volleyball and football or they can join more creative lessons such as music classes. We always get positive feedback for these activities.

Our travel desk also gets positive reviews from our students. Discounted flight and hotel prices are regularly provided by our travel officer. He makes sure that students are fully looked after with their travel itinerary.

6. Location

Before choosing to study overseas you should definitely consider which type of place you would like to stay in, whether this is for 1 week or a more extended stay of 8-12 weeks (or more). If you like the fast pace of a city it could be wise to avoid a country town, if you enjoy a slower pace of life or if you are burnt-out by city-living why not try a smaller town.

Byron Bay is one of the most desirable travel locations in Australia. We have quiet beaches, forested hills, along with a cosmopolitan-style hospitality industry which offers a wide range of healthy eating and bars to drink in. BBELS is centrally located within Byron Bay. We are a short walk from the Main Beach and there is a huge number of places to eat at during your breaks.

Before enrolling in a language course we strongly recommend that you spend the time researching each school’s suitability to your individual needs. If you have any questions about our courses or life in Byron Bay please email us directly at info@bbels.com.au or visit our website.

 

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

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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.

 

Welcome to our new Cambridge students!!

Some of this week’s new students

This week we are excited to meet our new Cambridge students from countries as diverse as Switzerland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Japan, the Netherlands and Spain.

Over the next 12-weeks these students will be studying hard in order to achieve great results in FCE, CAE, and CPE. They will be taught by a team of dedicated teachers who identify the students’ individual needs in grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

We wish this new group the best of luck over the next 12-weeks. Have fun at school and around town 🙂

 

Environmental Studies class at BBELS

Students at BBELS currently have the option to study Environmental Studies in our afternoon classes. We are very lucky to have 2 teachers with a background in both Environmental Science and Permaculture (organic farming). The teachers are bringing their knowledge into our classrooms in a way where students can learn about environmental issues while also developing their English skills. What a great combination!

Viewing a small part of the market garden

This week the classes visited an organic farm in the beautiful hills behind Byron Bay. The farm produces organic eggs, honey, and chickens for the local Farmers’Market and restaurants.

The students had a great afternoon at the farm. They walked around the organic market garden, they looked at innovative ways to catch and use fresh rainwater, and they spoke with 2 permaculture specialists about organic growing techniques.

The entrance to the farm (thanks for the photo Alvaro)

The Environmental Studies elective is a very popular class. Here at BBELS we always try to find classes that are relevant to both contemporary society and our students’ needs.

Free-range chickens – thanks again Alvaro 🙂

If you would like to know more about our Environmental Studies class or any of our other courses, please contact us at info@bbels.com.au or visit our website.