Shogo is 21 and comes from Tokyo Japan. He arrived in Byron Bay in February. While studying Law in Tokyo, he decided to take a break and come to Australia! And we are so glad that he did. Shogo has been a delight to have at school – his smiling face has brought joy to all of us. We are so impressed at how much his confidence has improved since he arrived, from a shy and quiet student to a loud and confident one who has even done a spot of modelling since has been here! He studied at Lexis for 3 months and is now staying local, working in Byron so that he can stay here for another 4 months. I decided to interview Shogo to find out a bit more about his experience here!
Why did you choose Byron Bay?
I chose to live in Australia for the weather; it is a hot country with beautiful beaches and beautiful people. Also the working holiday visa is much more convenient than visas for the USA or the UK. I chose Byron because I wanted to learn surfing and skateboarding. I have been to Sydney and Gold Coast before, but I thought that the experience there would be similar to Tokyo, busy cities with lots of other Japanese people. I wanted to live somewhere with not so many Japanese people so that I would speak English more.
What were your weaknesses in English before you came to Australia?
Pronunciation and sentence construction skills. In Japan we learn only grammar and reading, so we can read difficult sentences for studying law etc, but we can’t speak English. I think I have really improved in those areas since I have been studying here.
Tell me about your teachers and your classes.
In Japan we only write notes in lessons, no speaking in class at all. We don’t play games or do group work. We just sit on our own and copy down what the teacher writes on the board. Japanese teachers can’t speak English, so they can’t speak to us in English. It is much better at Lexis. I started in Elementary class and graduated in the Intermediate class. I have had 4 teachers here: Georgia, Mel, Adrienne and Michelle. In their lessons we played games, we played a darts game to learn grammar where we had to scrunch paper up and throw it at the target. Talking with a partner is really good, for example every Monday we talk to our partner about what we did at the weekend, I really enjoyed that. We usually talk about our culture, for instance we eat raw fish in Japan, Brazilians play soccer every day, the Swiss eat lots of chocolate. We got to make sushi and eat chocolate and share and learn about other cultures. There are so many students from all round the world.
What was your favourite activity?
My favourite activity was the slack lining. I had never tried this sport before, but the instructor says it’s good for your health and your mind because you walk along the rope and you need good form to walk and keep your balance.
Tell me about your accommodation.
I lived in homestay with Yvonne for 3 months while I studied at Lexis. I really enjoyed it; she has 3 children, who are 1, 10 and 17. The youngest girl is a tomboy so every day she is running around the house and riding her bicycle. She always used to ask me to lift her up and she would jump on me, it was so cute. Living with an Australian family really helped me to improve my English, Yvonne really helped me and taught me how to speak English and now I can understand her even when she speaks fast. She taught me lots of slang and native language.
Afterwards I moved into the onsite accommodation. It is very good because there are so many students in the accommodation who come from different countries and we cook every day together. I can try food from Brazil, Switzerland, and Spain. I want to work in a food company in Japan because I love food culture. Yesterday we made tempura and sushi for everyone and Bruno said he would cook Brazilian food for me too.
What are your favourite things to do in Byron?
There are so many good beaches in Byron so we can go surfing every day, long boards and short boards. Byron is a small town so we can go anywhere by foot. In a bigger city we would have to be using train or bus but in Byron Bay everything is walking distance. It has good clubs and pubs and then you can walk home. There are so many hippies and tourists; life here is slow and relaxed. Quality of life here is very high I think.
How difficult is it to get a job in Byron?
I think it is good to get a job, because every restaurant is so busy with tourists and they need lots of help. I have a job at the moment as a dish washer in a local restaurant. I did not want to work in a Japanese restaurant because maybe we would talk in Japanese. I came here to study English so I decided to only apply to local restaurants so that I would speak English all the time and continue to improve. In Lexis we have an English only policy, which is good for learning English. I wanted to continue this outside of school. I handed my resume out in Byron Bay and after 3 days I had a job offer!
What is your most magical moment in Byron?
When I go surfing I sometimes see dolphins, especially in Broken Head and sometimes at the pass. I really enjoyed the Sunday markets and the Easter markets too. I take pictures of Byron and send to my friends back in Japan, they are very jealous because when it is summer here it is winter Japan.
What is your advice for people who have enrolled/ are thinking about enrolling at Lexis Byron Bay?
You should come to Australia if you want to speak English more because in Japan you talk only Japanese. If you want to learn English in Japan it is very hard because we don’t talk English every day. When you study English every day for 2 hours, we talk English every day in Australia 12 or 13 hours with native speakers. I think Australia is a very good country, very good weather, kind people. If you want a vacation or a break you should go to Byron Bay!
Learn English in Byron Bay. Lexis English students study General English, IELTS, FCE, CAE and English plus Surfing in a friendly and professional school right in the heart of Byron Bay and only 15 minutes from the beach.