Plus a special farewell to a very special student – Mariana Saraiva Malheiros


Sometimes a student is with us for so long and touches so many people that we begin to believe they’ll never leave. This is definitely the case with Brazilian Mariana Saraiva Malheiros who not only studied in FCE, General English and CAE at Lexis but was also one of our student cleaners.

Finally, she is leaving (although thankfully not Byron Bay) after finishing her classes at the end of November and handing over her job to a current student this weekend. We caught up with Mariana last week to ask her to tell us in her own words about her experience at Lexis English.

“I started at Lexis on March 17 2014 in Paul’s FCE class. In many ways, these first three months were the most important for me because this is when I learned to stop being shy about speaking in English. The class helped, of course,  but, also, I really recommend that students live in a homestay. Definitely, don’t live with anyone who speaks the same language as you. My homestay mum, Jodie Law, was amazing and we are still good friends now. I spent three months living with her and her daughter and it was so nice to be part of an Australian family. Plus, it had a really positive impact on my studies and my confidence as I spoke English at home all the time.

“I got my first job (cleaning the school and the student house) after I’d been here about two months. People did warn me that it’s difficult to find work in Byron Bay, but I think if you are persistent, you will succeed. Not long after I got my first job I was offered a second one, providing Aged Care, and since then, everything has just snowballed into place.

“When I first booked to come to Australia, I wasn’t confident enough to think I could ever pass CAE, even though my goal has always been to speak English perfectly. However, after I did so well in the FCE exam (78% and a B Grade) and then Lisa gave me the opportunity to do a trial CAE test, I realised that perhaps I could pass CAE after all. It was then that I extended my course.

“And my CAE class was amazing. I just had such great classmates; we all got on really well, shared the same goal and helped each other improve. Julia, our teacher, played a really important role too. She is very student centred, so she always knew when we were tired and  then she switched tasks or did something else to get us motivated again. She asked us for ideas and feedback and created the lessons to suit us, our needs, our preferences and our weaknesses. I’m so happy I made the decision to do this course!


Of course, it’s also nice to be able to study in such an amazing place as Byron. It was always my dream to study here and now I’m here I don’t want to leave. There’s a really positive energy to the place and the people are so supportive and welcoming. I’m going to do a Yoga Teaching Training course next. It’s on the Gold Coast but I’ll stay in Byron and travel up because I  don’t want to leave here . When that finishes, who knows? But maybe I’ll stay in Byron forever.

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