Welcome to our new starter this week, Naoko! She is from Japan and transferred here from Lexis Perth. Naoko is already enjoying the Byron Bay lifestyle and hopes to visit the Nimbin markets and learn to surf while she is here. She will be with us at Lexis for four weeks and hopes to find work so she can continue living in this beautiful corner of Australia.
Enjoy your time at Lexis and in Byron Bay, Naoko!
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.
Today we went for a little adventure to see some of the surf spots around Byron and to learn a bit more about surfing. We even hiked to a secluded beach and to the light house and saw some dolphins and even whales!!!
The boys looking for whales and just seeing Mirko’s tongue!
At the Light house the boys got some Ice Cream and were on the hunt for whales and dolphins. It was a long hike with a lot of stairs and we even went to the most easterly part of all of Australia! We watched a few pods of dolphins playing and saw some whales breach and splash their tails!
S for Surfing!
At little Watego’s the boys posed for some pictures at a beautiful beach on a great sunny day!
Adventuring around Little Watego’s!
We stopped in at the local surf shop C-Skins and the manager Tom told the boys about surfing and surfboards! They even had some time to do a little shopping as well!
The boys learning about boards from Tom, manager of our local shop C-Skins!
A number of Lexis students, plus Marie, braved the chilly winter weather this afternoon for a great game of footy (better known as soccer to Australians/Americans). The teams were uneven at first so Marie took on the role of goalie, but luckily, shortly after starting, Miguel came along and saved the day.
This left Marie free to take the great action shots below. When the game was over, everyone enjoyed a bottle of beer and a nice chat in the garden.
We had the ever-popular Swiss Cooking activity this afternoon.
Claudia had nine students at start of the hour as she took charge of Yvonne’s classic Cheese Fondue recipe. However, by the time I went down to the kitchen to take some photos, there were a lot more students enjoying a dip. Everyone really enjoyed it, even those who’d never tasted fondue before. And DK said that since it contained schapps and wine, nobody would be able to do any homework tonight!
Two of the students took the recipe home so they could make it again at the weekend. And here it is it below in case you want to try it out at home.
600g shredded cheese (50/50 Gruyere and Emmental)
I garlic clove
A third of a bottle of white wine
3 teaspoon of cornflour
3 small glasses kirsch
Ground pepper and nutmeg to taste
Rub a heavy saucepan or fondue pot with the split garlic clove.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the kirsch.
Put the cheese and wine into the pan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
When the cheese is completely melted, add the kirsch and cornflour mixture, stirring vigourously.
Continue to cook and season to taste with pepper and nutmeg.
Serve over an alcohol lamp or candle plate warmer so the cooking can continue on a low heat.
Now enjoy by dipping in small pieces of bread, meat or vegetables speared on a fondue fork.
Linda and Bill have been providing homestay accommodation for Lexis students for the past two years. In that time they’ve hosted students ranging in age from 16-55 and from countries as diverse as Czech Republic, Japan and Reunion Island.
They always get excellent feedback from our students and I think this is because they really enjoy the process of welcoming students to their family.
I asked Linda to share some of their memorable homestay moments and photos and also to explain what they get out of being a host family.
Toshi at the Lighthouse on his first day in Byron
We’ve had so many memorable times with our students. I remember we took Toshi (pictured above) for his first ever snorkel, and I wasn’t sure once we got started… Bill had to put on his fins, and I had to get his mask on, and when we got over the wreck at main beach and he put his face in the water there was this enormous ray right underneath us and I thought he’d swallow half the sea he was so shocked and excited.
Priscilla, Dayan and Kay
This next picture shows Priscilla from Brazil with Swiss student Kay and our 14 year old son Dayan at an Xmas dinner. These two fell in love after they left our house… I’m pretty sure she is travelling to Switzerland in June/July to visit him.
Kainoa and his mum
Last year we played host to two lovely boys from Reunion lsland: surf enthusiasts Jean and Kainoa. At the end of their three week stay Kainoa’s family came out and joined them and we still keep in touch with them like we do with many of our students.
Freddie from Switzerland
Hynek from Czech Republic
We’ve also really enjoyed hosting Freddie, Linard and Kevin from Switzerland, Hynek from Czech Republic and Tomoyuki from Japan. Our Maltese dog Harry was so sad to see Hynek go that he kept going into his room and dragging the bathmat out of the bathroom.
Harry the dog!
As for us, I’m trying to think about what it is that we enjoy most about having the students and I think it is that because we are Canadian and don’t have any family here in Australia so the students who stay longer term actually become like part of our family. Dayan loves that he has these brothers and sisters from all over the world and he particularly loves it when they are keen to hang out and watch bad movies together.
Dayan loves to cook and guests love his speciality – Pork Ribs
Dinner times are great fun because that is when we all share stories about our lives, culture, food, travel experiences and so on. We love to witness the fun that student’s have at school, with the friends they meet, and the active social lives they have in this safe community. It is a joy to see so many students who enjoy surfing, the beaches and relaxed lifestyle of Byron Bay while they learn to improve their English language skills.
Ultimately it is a privilege to be a positive part of people’s lives when they are visiting Australia often for the first time and we enjoy showing them some of the more special places around the area.
Thanks for sharing Linda, and for providing Lexis students with such a wonderful homestay experience.
Ex-student Mario Koch dropped in today to tell us about his Farmstay experience, which Lexis organised for him at Hosanna Farm.
He told us that he loved it! During the week, he worked in the mornings, weeding, driving the trailer, feeding the animals and cleaning and then in the afternoons he got to swim, kayak and float in a rubber rind in the water.
He said that everyone was really friendly and would sit around and eat and chat together in the evenings. There were other volunteers there from England, Denmark and the Netherlands and Mario said his English really improved while he was there too.
Ever wondered what happens all day at a language school? All these pictures were taken at Lexis Byron Bay in the last 24 hours to show what a typical day looks like. It was an unusually chilly night last night, which explains the surprising number of hats and hoodies being worn in our usually extremely pleasant climate.
8am – 9am
Many of our students surf before class. Meanwhile at school, Miguel the student cleaner, the teachers and the office staff begin to arrive.
9am – 10am
Students are in class for the first 90 minute lesson. Today one class is enjoying having part of their lesson in the sun, while the rest are studying, more traditionally, in their classrooms.
10am – 11am
Break time is between 10.30am and 10.45am. Ping pong is always popular during the breaks. Meanwhile other students cook a late breakfast or relax and chat (in English, of course).
11am – 12pm
Everyone is back in class for the second 90 minute lesson. Claudia’s Pre-Intermediates are doing pairwork while Anji’s Upper Intermediate class are discussing new vocabulary.
12pm – 1pm
Lunch is from 12.15pm until 1pm. While some students are using the large, industrial kitchen to cook their lunch, others are chatting, doing ball tricks or just hanging out in the sunshine.
1pm – 2pm
It’s Options Class time for full-time General English students, while the Cambridge classes continue with their exam preparation. Julia’s CAE class head outside for a mingle activity, while Marie’s Movies and Songs class are in the student lounge preparing for, and watching, a film.
2pm – 3pm
Today’s free activity is slack-lining. So a group of students gather in the garden to have a go. Meanwhile, teacher Sammy is providing homework assistance, writing feedback, conversation practice and advice for students in GIL (Guided Independent Learning) and CAE student Jose is doing some extra listening test practice. As it’s a beautiful day, other students are grabbing their surf boards and heading to the beach.
3pm – 4pm
All scheduled activities are over for the day, but a group of boys set up their own football game in the gardens while star students Zoe and Madoka do some extra study in the sun.
4pm – 5pm
Most students have left for the day but the office is still open for anyone needing assistance and a few teachers are still here preparing their classes for the morning.
At 5pm the school offices and classrooms close for the night and the students who live on-site have the kitchen, lounge and gardens to themselves to cook dinner, watch TV, play games chat and relax. All until 8am the following morning when everything starts again!
So, you’ve decided you want to study English Australia but you are not sure about where to stay, during your studies, or how much it will cost? Here at Lexis Byron Bay we offer students three different options to suit their objectives, needs and budgets.
Photos from the home of homestay providers – Claudia and Byron Bernardazzi
Many students elect for the traditional option of a homestay as it not only provides a safe, comfortable living environment, but also plenty of opportunities to meet local people, make lasting friendships and get in lots of English practice. Homestay options include half-board (breakfast and dinner), B&B (breakfast only), executive homestay (own bathroom) and twin room. Prices (2015) range from $160 (twin room B&B) to $270 (half-board executive).
CAE students Samy Ben Miled and José Da Silva Barbosaare currently in a twin-share homestay. José explains below why he chose this option and why he is enjoying it so far.
“I chose homestay so I could have contact with locals and experience another culture. It’s also a great way to improve my English. My experience with my family has been really good because the father has the same interests as me; football (soccer). Only yesterday, we went to watch a game together. I’m really lucky. “
Jose (far left) and Samy (front centre) enjoying the beach with other Lexis students
Front of student house
Twin room in student house
On the other hand, many students prefer the independence of living in a student house and if you like to cook, don’t mind doing your own cleaning and washing and can get on with a house full of sharemates from around the world, this might be the option for you! Rooms start at $160 for a twin share, while the most expensive option is a single room at $200.
Reto Neuhaus, a current Swiss German student, booked to stay in the student house for the entire 20 weeks of his studies. Below, he explains why.
“I thought it would be a great way to meet other students and make friends quickly and also enable me to live more independently than a homestay. When I arrived, I discovered that it was right next to the school, which is perfect!”
Student house kitchen
Twin bedroom in on-site accommodation
Kitchen facilities for use by on-site accommodation residents
At Lexis Byron Bay we also have one other very special and unique option; students can live on-site in a purpose built accommodation block attached to the school. Students living on-site, share the lounge, kitchen and toilet facilities with the school while sleeping in brand new, light, bright, airy bedrooms. Laundry facilities and free Wi-Fi are included and standard prices range from $150 for four-bed dorm to $225 for a single. In addition, there are “Specials” at certain times which make the prices even more appealing.
I asked Sora Kim, from South Korea, how she enjoyed living on-site.
“It’s so good because you meet many people from lots of different countries and we all sit together in the evening and talk. Whenever I’m feeling lonely or homesick I can just go down to the kitchen and there’s always something going on. Also, because it’s attached to the school, I don’t have to worry about the weather or getting up early!”
The onsite student accommodation at Lexis school has been opened since late 2014 and has proved extremely popular with Lexis students, who can choose from single, twin or four bed dormitory style rooms.
For those of you that haven’t seen inside the accommodation, below are some photos of these gorgeous, clean, bright rooms.
It’s nearly six months since the opening of Byron Bay Student Accommodation (BBSA). I asked current Lexis English student and onsite residence Pedro Cesco Litwin, who has been here since February, about the benefits of living on campus.
Pedro (centre) in the student lounge
“First of all, you don’t waste any time travelling to and from school. But also, it’s really close to the supermarket and other shops and facilities like the library. Most importantly, it’s in the middle of all the best beaches and surf spots; the Pass, Tallows Beach and Wategoes.”
Surfboard rack for accommodation residents
“My girlfriend is studying at university in Melbourne. She came up to visit me earlier this month and, even though she didn’t study at Lexis, she was able to stay in the accommodation with me. This is a benefit you don’t usually get from a homestay or a student house. Also, while, I started in a twin room, I’ve recently moved into a four-bed student dormitory in order to save some money. This was really easy for me to do.”
3. Friends from all over the world
“When I was studying in Melbourne I stayed in a homestay and then a share house. Both of these were great at the time and enabled me to meet many native speakers. However, I really like the fact that, in the Lexis accommodation, I’m living with people from all over the world. It’s a real insight into other people’s cultures and ways of life. In the evenings we often share food or get together to play cards, ping pong or soccer or even to watch a movie.”
Thanks for sharing, Pedro. I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Byron Bay and your travels before you head back to Brazil.