Meet the staff – Homestay Officer, Koko

You may have noticed a new face in the office, over the last few weeks. This is Kayoko (Koko) our new Homestay Officer.

Koko is taking over from Naomi, who sadly will be leaving Byron Bay next weekend to continue on her  travels. Koko has already settled in really well and we are enjoying her positivity and enthusiasm in the office.

We asked her a few questions to introduce herself:

  1. Where did you grow up?
    We moved a lot when I was little so, many places in Japan plus Brazil for couple of years when I was 7.

    2.   Which languages can you speak?

    Japanese and English.

    3.  Which countries have you visited?
    America, Brazil, Thailand, India, Laos, Malaysia, England, Greece, Mexico

4. What do you love the most about your job?
I’m still new, so my experiences are still quite limited, but my colleagues are all super nice and it’s wonderful.
Also all the students I’ve been meeting from all over the world are so gorgeous, fun, nice, and I’m loving them. There is a great fun vibe to the school, it is a great place to work:)

5.  What is your top English learning tip?
Get a boyfriend or girlfriend!  If not, homestay is a great way:)

6.   What have you always wanted to be?
Free!

7.  Where will we find you at 11pm on Saturday?

In my jammies about to go to bed.

8.  What about 8am on a Saturday?
Hopefully jogging up to the lighthouse.

9.   Tell us something not to miss out on in Byron Bay…
Whales! If you are visiting here during June – Nov, you can see many whales migrating up north  from the lighthouse walk; often mothers with their calves. It’s a great way to enjoy the beauty of Byron and spotting whales is so exciting. The best way to experience them is to go on the whale watching boat. You get to see them so close, and they are truly magical….

10.  Which is your favourite restaurant/cafe in Byron Bay?
Kinoko for very good sushi. Miss Margarita and Cyprus Tree are very good too. Cardamon Pod and Heart and Halo for good cheap hearty meals.

11.  What is your dream holiday destination?
There are so many…  All the beautiful places in the world

12. Tell us something we didn’t know…
Less is more.

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Learn English in Byron Bay. Lexis English students study General English, IELTS, FCE, CAE and English plus Surfing or Yoga in a friendly and professional school right in the heart of Byron Bay and only 15 minutes from the beach.

Happy Student – Sakiko!

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Sakiko is 24 years old and she is from Kochi, a small town in rural Japan. She studied law at Kobe University and came straight to Australia after she graduated. She arrived in Byron Bay in June 2016 and has been at Lexis for an incredible here for 52 weeks! I interviewed Sakiko on her last day of school to find out about the remarkable year she has had.

Why did you choose Byron Bay?

While I was at University I was living in a big city, it was very crowded and busy for me. I wanted to live somewhere quiet and peaceful. My agent recommended Byron Bay to me and it is exactly what I wanted. Also I love yoga; I practised it in Japan for many years. Yoga is a big part of life in Byron, I practice yoga 3 or 4 times every week here.

Byron is a great place to come if you don’t know anybody. If you go to a big place it is hard to meet people but Byron is community so it is a good opportunity to speak with local people – it has a very friendly atmosphere here, everyone is happy to talk to you.

 

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What were your weaknesses in English before you came to Australia?

I found listening and speaking the most difficult – I think most Japanese have this problem. We don’t have speaking practise in class at school in Japan so I was not used to speaking. On my first day I couldn’t understand everything, even though everyone was speaking slowly, I just guessed what they were saying.  I did not feel ready to speak English yet, I’m afraid to make mistakes when I spoke. After 1 month and 2 months when I made a lot of friends from different places they really influenced me. Especially my Brazilian friends because I saw that they were not scared to make mistakes. I asked them once: ‘you don’t care about making mistakes?’ but they said ‘no I don’t care, I just speak.’ That was a really good lesson to learn.

 

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Tell me about your teachers and your classes.

I started in Intermediate class. I studied a lot of English to enter University, and my grammar was good. I have had so many great teachers. Paul is my favourite teacher because he is so interesting and he always makes us laugh. He taught me pronunciation, how English and Japanese are so different because of emphasis and intonation. It was very hard, I almost gave up, but he never gave up to teach me!

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One lesson we went to Byron Bay farmers market (we have this once a week in Byron, in the mornings, we can buy local products: fresh vegetables, fruits etc. It’s a great community atmosphere.) Here we interviewed the people working in the market. I was nervous but they are so kind to us, even though we were still learning. It was great because I often go to the farmers market but I don’t often have the chance to communicate with the producers about the local produce.

 

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What was your favourite activity?

Yoga was my favourite activity. Every Monday at school there is free yoga and I went every week for a year. I think I improved my yoga a lot. I also tried a lot of new activities, like surfing, skate boarding, slack-lining, cooking (we made koala cupcakes). They were very sweet for me but I enjoyed decorating them.

 

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Tell me about your accommodation.

My first 6 weeks I was in homestay accommodation, staying with Gill and John. They were so kind. I was nervous about living with them, but on my first day they took me around Byron Bay, to lots of places. We went up to the lighthouse and to different beaches. We had lots of BBQs at the house and we baked cookies.

Afterwards I find a share house on Gumtree. It takes my five minutes to get to school on foot. At the moment with 2 Australian people, this has helped me to learn English. My host is very kind and speaks slowly and explains what words mean to me and this really helped my English improve.

 

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What are your favourite things to do in Byron?

After I took a surf lesson, I decided to buy a surf board. During the Summer I surfed almost every day. It’s a good life, study and then go to surf. I think I got a bit better and I enjoyed it. I would meet up with my friends at the beach to surf.

 

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I also enjoy going up to lighthouse to see the sunrise. It is the most Easterly point of Australia and the view is amazing. The view always changes as the seasons change. One morning I met my friends at 4:30 am and we walked up in the dark and the stars were beautiful.

 

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I also love yoga here. It is very different to Japan, it seems more difficult and there is more variety of lessons. I can chose which I want to do depending on the condition of my body.

What is your most magical moment in Byron?

While I was doing the light house walk in the morning I saw whales and dolphins. One time I saw many dolphins very close to us on the walk. I was able to take this amazing picture:

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What is your advice for people who are thinking about enrolling at Lexis Byron Bay?

You should come here, all the teachers are very kind and there are good quality lessons that are interesting and never boring. It is a very small school here so it is easy for everyone to get to know each other. March was my favourite month, because it is not too hot but the Sun is still out and it is not so crowded here. Winter is also good here, the sky is clear and bright but it is not too hot, you can see beautiful sunrises!

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What are you going to do now?

I have 3 weeks holidays now before I move to Lexis Perth. Tomorrow I am going to travel in New Zealand for 1 week. After New Zealand my sister will come here to visit in Byron Bay. Then I am going to do the Gold Coast marathon with my sister. I have heard it is a good route, around the beach but very flat. It is going to be a very challenging event in my life but I like to try new challenges. I am a little but worried about that but also excited. I will study in Perth for 3 weeks and then go home back to Japan. When I go home I think I will look for a job. I would like to live one more year in Australia or New Zealand, I want more opportunity to use English and communicate with English speakers. In Japan I would love to do an international job that involves using English and possibly working with sports, for example I would love to have a job related to the Japanese Olympics in Tokyo 2020.

 Good luck with your marathon and your travels Sakiko, you will be missed here at Lexis Byron Bay!

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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.

A Report from an English + Yoga Student

Angela Soledad Gonzalez Faro from Spain recently joined the Lexis Byron Bay Campus to take part in our English and Yoga course. Having previously studied Cambridge Advanced Exam Preparation at the Noosa Campus, Angela very kindly agreed to demonstrate her report writing skills to give us her thoughts on the English and Yoga experience.

See below for her (mostly) uncorrected report:

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Angela and Campus Manager, Lisa, demonstrate the Tree Posture

YOGA EXPERIENCE IN BYRON BAY

Introduction:

The purpose of this report is to give an overview of my experience doing different types of yoga in Byron Bay for 10 days as well as to include recommendations for improvements for attracting a great number of foreign prospective students.

Byron Bay:

“Welcome to Byron Bay. Cheer up, slow down, chill out.” Is there a better way to welcome someone in a new place? I don´t think so :-). This small town full of alternative people, live music and lots of art in the street stole my heart. As a yogini and vegetarian looking for a healthy lifestyle Byron became the paradise for me. To make things better, you can find a tremendous variety of restaurants in which you can enjoy appetising and delectable healthy food value for money.

Yoga lessons:

Lexis Byron offered me the possibility of doing different types of yoga. I could choose among Bikram yoga, Yang to Yin, Vinyasa, Hatha and Restorative yoga. I generally practise Ashtanga/Vinyasa yoga, which is very active and dynamic and this opportunity was a doorway into the vast and amazing world of ancient yoga. My favourite styles were Restorative yoga and Yang to Yin yoga which both are very quiet, completely different from Aashtanga. They helped me to relax and rest. On the other hand, Bikram yoga was pretty hard for me due to the high temperatures in which this style is practised. I was struggling from the beginning to stay in the hot room and my pressure was low. Simply, it is not for me, each person is different. However my classmate really loved it. At the end of the Bikram practise I felt very relaxed and calm but I didn’t enjoy the practice.

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A Bikram Yoga class

Recommendations:

It was an enriching and lovely experience. However, I would recommend you providing us with a bike in the school owing to the fact that the yoga centres are pretty far from the school and downtown and the majority of people don´t want to buy a bike for staying in Byron for just 10 days.  The experience was great, I really enjoyed it!!!

Thanks Angela, we enjoyed having you 🙂

Learn English in Byron Bay. Lexis English students study General English, IELTS, FCE, CAE and English plus Surfing/Yoga in a friendly and professional school right in the heart of Byron Bay and only 15 minutes from the beach.

Lexis CAE catch-up in Switzerland!

One of our lovely teachers, Julia, is lucky enough to be travelling through Europe at the moment. On her travels, she managed to catch up with a group of her former Lexis CAE students who studied the Cambridge course in Byron Bay.

On Saturday afternoon, she met up with them at the Rote Fabrik (Red Factory), which is a great spot right next to the beautiful Lake of Zurich.

Julia said: “It was really lovely to see everyone and catch up on their news. All the students had such fond memories of their time at Lexis and in Byron Bay. Thanks for coming everyone!”

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Front row (left to right): Quentin, Joyce, Martina, Simone, Jessica, Michelle. Back row (left to right): Teacher Julia, Aurelie, Nora, Julia, Raphael, Neil, Till, Geri, Raffi, Jana, Luana, Julien.

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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.

 

Bye bye Josie

Today everyone is sad to say goodbye to the upper intermediate teacher Josie as she is leaving Australia…don’t worry though, it’s not forever, she is lucky enough to be taking a holiday for two and a half months! Her first stop is Hawaii, then Canada and after that a tour of Europe! She’ll be back refreshed in time for the rush of summer when our CAE and FCE Cambridge classes start up again on the 5th of September. If you want to catch her before she jets off then head to the Railway bar this evening at 6pm where some of the students are going to have a few beers and celebrate the start of the long weekend! And if you don’t know already, there’s a Brazilian party at the Buddha Bar later on this evening so don’t forget your dancing shoes!

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Volleyball in the sun

Today’s activity was volleyball in the garden and we had a great time hanging out trying to play volleyball and sunbathing in the glorious sunshine, Byron Bay winter is pretty amazing!

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IMG_2815 (1)With only two upper intermediate students leaving Lexis this week, Josie had a a cosy and intimate graduation in her class! Marco from Switzerland has been here for two months, he has a great sense of humour but also knows how to work hard. He has added enthusiasm and great conversation and has been in the class from the beginning so he will be missed a lot by everyone. Blanka has been in Lexis for a month and moved to upper intermediate two weeks ago. Everyone was delighted to have her join the class as she is friendly, really great to talk to and always ready to smile and laugh! They both have fantastic English and we will all miss them. However,they have to move on to discover some more of Australia and we wish them all the best!