5 Reasons to Study at BBELS in Winter

The BBELS building

Byron Bay is a beach town so many of our students come to study here during summer. What they don’t realise is that some of the best experiences at BBELS and in Byron Bay are found during winter. This post will explain why winter is such a perfect time to study and live in Byron Bay from May-September.

Academic life:

During winter we generally have a smaller number of students at the school. Many of our students who  studied here during past winters said that they loved the intimacy of the school during the quiet time of year – they were able to make friends more easily and they enjoyed smaller class sizes. Past students also said that they had less competition finding student accommodation and accessing other facilities compared with the busier summer months.

Whale watching:

The winter period is a fantastic time of year for anyone who is interested in watching the whales migrate along Byron Bay’s coastline. Over several weeks you can see whales from the lighthouse and the local beaches. It is a great experience for locals and international visitors. The school can help you organise boat tours so that you can see the whales from a short distance.

A humpback whale photographed underwater from a local tour boat


The weather:

Byron Bay is a comfortable place to stay in winter – we enjoy warm days (with none of summer’s humidity) and cool nights. It is still possible to wear shorts and a t-shirt during the day but pack a pair of pants and a sweater for night-time. The coldest month in Byron Bay is July where the average maximum is 19.4 ºC – not bad for the middle of winter 🙂

The beaches and surfing:

 

A view from the park at Main Beach

In winter there are less tourists in the town so the local beaches are very open and quiet. The beaches are a perfect place to relax in the afternoon when class has finished.

 

What many of our students don’t know is that some of the best waves can be surfed between April-September. The water is still warm enough for surfers to wear a spring-suit (though a light full-suit might be needed some mornings). With so few surfers in the water this is a perfect time to learn how to surf, or for the more advanced surfers it is a great time to catch some long waves.

Hinterland tours:

A view towards Minyon Falls in Nightcap National Park

Byron Bay has some amazing local forests with short and long walks which our students enjoy. Winter is a great time to explore these forests because it isn’t so humid and walking is therefore a lot more comfortable. BBELS often organises school excursions to these forests during the week and also during the weekends.

If you are interested in enrolling at BBELS please visit our website or contact us directly at info@bbels.com.au

 

An Excursion to Minyon Falls

The view towards Minyon Falls

Once a month our teachers take their classes out on an excursion to local forests and towns. Many students don’t get to see these beautiful areas if they don’t have their own cars so it is a great way to broaden the appreciation of where we live.

A 100 metre drop

Minyon Falls is a 45-minute drive from Byron Bay. There is a circular walk that takes you from the top to the bottom. If you are lucky you will see a lot of different wildlife.

A lace-monitor at the BBQ area

One of the common animals at Minyon Falls is the lace-monitor lizard. It is attracted to the smell of meat cooking on the BBQs at the top of the falls.

Some of the students with their teacher at the viewing point

A local restaurant

On the drive home the students stopped at a nearby village where they ate sushi and drank some delicious local coffee.

BBELS is always sure to combine education with activities that link the students with the Byron Bay region. The students love it. We hope to see you here soon 🙂

Student’s story: how to achieve a dream

In this week’s student story Sara from Spain talks about the steps she took to come to study here at Byron Bay English Language School. It is an inspirational story and we hope it motivates other people to pursue their dreams …

After working for ten years in the same office I decided to abandon my comfort zone and chase my dream: to live for 1 – 3 years abroad, as far as possible away from home.

This wasn’t an easy decision and most of the people I know wouldn’t dare try it. However, if you are reading this article, you have already gone half-way.

Follow these tips to achieve your dream, they are based on my own experience.

  1. Start by writing on a piece of paper what you would love to achieve and the steps you have to take. It’s very useful to make sure you know what you want. Don’t panic if you have doubts at the beginning.
  2. One classic mistake is to rush into things. Take your time to save money and organise your steps. Everything needs its own time, be careful not to make decisions in emotional circumstances.
  3. Tell everybody about your dream. Take every opportunity to talk about it with your friends and family. It is absolutely essential that you are not embarrassed  – you are doing something very brave. Always remember this: if you follow your dreams the universe will conspire. People that love you will help you to achieve it.
  4. Make as many contacts as you are able to. It’s better to have several telephone numbers in case of an emergency. The last thing you want is to be alone away from home.

Good luck and at least try it!

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.

nationality-mix

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 🙂

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!

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.