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.

 

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.

 

February Nationality Mix at BBELS

A graph detailing the BBELS nationality mix for February 2019

It’s already February (!!) and our students at BBELS are enjoying dynamic lessons throughout the day and beautiful summer weather before and after class.

We are especially pleased to have such a diverse nationality mix at the school. Our students are meeting people from countries whose cultures are very different from their own. Studying with classmates from different countries (and different continents!) is one of the most satisfying experiences for our students. They enjoy the exposure to cultural differences and also make friends for life.

If you are interested in studying English with an international class, contact us at info@bbels.com.au or visit our website.

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.

Excellent Cambridge Results

A graph comparing BBELS Cambridge Proficiency students (dark green) with national and international students

Students have been coming to BBELS to prepare for the Cambridge English exams for over 15 years. During this time period our students have received some brilliant results. This period has also allowed out teachers time to develop skills and strategies to help our students get the results they dream of.

 

A graph comparing BBELS Cambridge Advanced students (dark green) with national and international students

By looking at these graphs you can see that students who study the Cambridge Preparation courses at BBELS receive higher grades than the international and Australian national average. This is a great visual representation of the quality of our courses and academic staff.

A graph comparing BBELS Cambridge First Certificate students (dark green) with national and international students

Our students work hard to achieve these results (but they still have time to enjoy our beautiful beaches). Our next Cambridge preparation course starts on January 7th 2019. If you would like to study in a relaxing natural environment with highly dedicated teachers, please contact us at info@bbels.com.au

A Morning in the Sunshine

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Students from Chile, Switzerland, Japan, Brazil enjoying the sunshine

It may be winter in Australia but the sun is shining and our students are enjoying the warm days. Having just finished a mid-course test our Intermediate teacher thought a good reward for excellent results was to take the students on an excursion into the Byron Bay hinterland. First they traveled to Minyon Falls to check out the amazing view down into the forested valley.

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The class then drove down the hill to the beautiful beachside village of Brunswick Heads. If you look carefully in the photo you can see Byron Bay just to the left of Rina’s (white cap) head!

We love taking our students out of the classroom and placing them in authentic learning environments. These short excursions are such a great way for the students to understand more about the region where they are studying too.

If you would like to know more about the Byron Bay English Language School please follow this link.