An interview with Ainara: making grammar fun!

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In today’s post we have an interview conducted by Luiz, one of our very popular and unique Brazilian students. Luiz interviewed one of our long-term students, Ainara, as part of a grammar activity. This type of communicative approach towards grammar is just one of the reasons our students enjoy coming to class each day.

On the BBELS balcony, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ainara, a 22 year old from the Basque country in Spain.

At first I wanted to know about her course. She told me that she had been studying for about seven months and added that she would be finished in eleven weeks. I asked her about her free time and she said that she loved spending time on the beaches of Byron Bay with her friends.

I wondered if her classmates had been helpful and she replied that they had. She added that she’d had a lot of classmates because she’d changed her level and had met a lot of students who had stayed at BBELS for a short time.

I wanted to know about her accommodation and she told me that she had been living with an Australian girl and that had helped her English. When asked about what tips she could give to new students, Ainara said that it is important to be an open person and to participate in class and afterschool activities. Ainara added that visitors to Byron Bay must definitely visit the Lighthouse and watch the sunrise from there.

My next question was what she had learned in Byron apart from English. She said that she felt she had learnt about how to survive on her own and all about her strengths and weaknesses. All of these things have helped her get to know herself. When I asked her to describe in a few words the difference between the girl who arrived in Byron and the girl who will return home she smiled and sat in silence. Finally she said that the girl who is returning has learnt to believe in herself.

Byron Bay English Language School: Student Interviews, part two.

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Christian (Germany) and Laura (Spain) interviewing each other as part of an Upper-intermediate activity focussing on reported speech.

Today I spoke with Christian about his experience in Byron Bay. I began by asking what his first impression was of the town and BBELS. He explained that the people here are open-minded and very friendly. He met a lot of people on his first day. He told me that the weather is better than in Germany and the beaches here are awesome but sometimes it can be a bit windy.

Christian said that there are a lot of different cultures at BBELS and for him this is really interesting. He insisted that the teachers are very good and friendly and you can learn a lot of English.

Next I asked Christian what he had been doing after class and if he had any favourite places to go. He explained that he often goes to the beach or he stays at home in his pool. He also goes surfiing or meets his friends in town. He recommended going to his favourite places such as Tallows Beach, the lighthouse nad the tea-tree lake.

Then I asked Christian if he thought Byron Bay is safe and if he’d had any problems here. He assured me that Byron Bay is safe. He hadnt seen any fights but he insisted that you need to be careful with your bikes as they can be stolen.

My next question was about his accommodation. He told me that he lives in a student house. He admitted that he is very lucky because he has a beautiful house which is very clean and has a pool. He lives with four international girls. He told me that the house is really near the town, only ten minutes on foot or five minutes by bike.

Next I wanted to know what he has been doing at the weekends and whether he travelled around Byron Bay. He told me that on his first weekend he went to Brisbane, on the second weekend he explored around Byron Bay by bike and on the third weekend he went to Sufers Paradise.

Finally I asked him if he thought Byron Bay is a place he’d like to live for the rest of his life. He told me that it was a very good question. He said that he thought it is a nice place to live but he missed the winter and his family. I wanted to know if Byron Bay is a good place to have a family and he admitted that it is difficult because even though the people are really friendly he thought it is not easy to make a “very very” good friends.

Byron Bay English Language School: Student Interviews, part one.

heiko and maria
Maria and Heiko at BBELS.

This week Caroline’s Upper-intermediate class interviewed each other as a way to practise reported speech. Caroline was so impressed with the students’ work that we have posted a selection of it on our blog. The interviews reflect the experiences of the students who come to study at our school in Byron Bay.

The first interview was between Maria and Heiko.

AN INTERVIEW AT BBELS:

Today I’m here at Byron Bay English School (BBELS) in Byron Bay meeting Maria from Barcelona.
I began by asking her how long she is staying in Byron Bay. Maria expained that she will stay for seven months. She arrived in Australia on the 15th of September and began her studies at this time.

Her travel plan sounds fantastic – she is going to take a break from her studies on the 11th of December to travel around Australia for two months. In February she will continue her studies at BBELS for another month before she departs Australia at the end of March.

I wanted to know where she is living in Byron. She told me that she used to live in a share house before she bought her campervan. Now she is living in the van and loves to go and visit the stunning places around Byron in her free time and at the weekend.

At this moment I realised I was speaking to a real expert who finds out all the awesome places to visit here on the East Coast of Australia so my next question to her was, “What have you seen in Byron and this region?”
Maria recommended that a “must do” is to go to the lighthouse and have a walk on the walking track there. She explained that there are amazing views of the ocean, the beaches, The Arakwal National Park and Byron Bay itself.
Other terrific things are to walk to the top of Mt Warning, which is the highest mountain in the region and the point where the first rays of the sun meet the Australian mainland every morning. Also breathtaking are the abundant waterfalls in the region, for example “Minyon Falls” near Federal.

Maria looks very sporty so I asked her which sports activities she recommends here. Her suggestions came promptly. She said that everyone should try dolphin kayaking, surfing and local sports like cricket. I also wanted to know where I could meet other students or local people. Maria answered that it is really easy to get to know other people. Everywhere you go people want to help you or talk to you. She added that it was easy to meet other students at the school and learn about other cultures.

Byron Bay also has plenty of international restaurants and I wanted to know which kinds of food Maria liked the most. Maria explained that restaurants were too expensive for her however she loved local tropical fruit, especially mangoes.

Finally I had a last question to Maria. I asked her where you can find the best music in town. Maria said that it would be dependent on what kind of music you like. There are so many places where you can find excellent musicians playing their own songs. She advised me not to miss all the music festivals too.
I’m absolutely impressed by the variety of fabulous information I received. I’m very grateful as I say goodbye to the enchanting Maria from Spain.

(Heiko from Germany)

In our next post we will introduce you to two more students from this class. We hope that you can come here and enjoy the same experiences that Maria has described in this interview.