“It’s like being part of a big family”

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Lovely ex-student Cristina Alonso Serrano left Lexis Byron Bay at Christmas and spent January travelling in New Zealand. She popped in last week to say hello and share  her memories of being a Lexis student.

My first memory of Lexis

I remember my first day clearly. It was 30 September 2013. and I couldn’t understand anything so I just copied what everyone else was doing. But it was great because there were two other girls my age, Mayumi from Japan and Celine from Switzerland. None of us could speak English very well but we all had fun trying together and laughing at our misunderstandings.”

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Going home and coming back

“Unfortunately, after only one month, I had to go home for a family emergency. Lexis made this easy for me and, because I was on a student visa, I was able to postpone my study until I was ready to come back.

“I was confident coming back in May 2014, because now I knew I could understand people and make myself understood. I stayed in a homestay with Claudia and Byron Bernardazzi. It was awesome; really, really awesome. They are a family of four and their two children are really sweet and funny. Byron loves surfing and Claudia is an architect and very creative. They have a beautiful home and they used to have big family dinners when the grandparents and other family members came. It was really fun.”

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How I learned English

“In my first month my English improved really, really quickly. As I got better and better, I felt like my progress was slower but now I realise it wasn’t really; it was just that I could already say the things I needed to in everyday life. I was still improving.

“One thing that really helped was I tried to avoid Spanish as much as possible. I didn’t read Spanish books or even speak to my family too much because I noticed that when I started communicating in Spanish it was more difficult for me to come back to English. I think this was a really good decision for me.

All of my teachers were excellent in different ways; Sarah-Jane was a brilliant teacher in that she made it easy for us Pre-Intermediate students to understand when we didn’t understand much at all. Kathleen was really motivating; she made up funny songs to help us remember the grammar, and also she always tried to teach using topics and discussions she knew we were interested in. Finally, Paul was really, really funny. He always used real-life examples about himself or us students to bring the grammar to life, personalise it and help us remember it.”

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The best thing about Byron?

“Everything: the energy, the people, the sky, the stars, everything. And there’s always something going on. If you want to be alone you can spend time in the beautiful nature but if you want to be sociable there are too many options. It’s so easy.”

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What I loved about Lexis Byron Bay?

“It was like being part of a family. When you are travelling around alone, you are grateful to find somewhere like that. I know that if I had any problems then every teacher and every member of staff would work together to help me. I’d like to say a big thank you to Lisa, Yvonne, Amy, and Anna, my teachers Sarah-Jane, Kathleen, Paul, Marie and Kat and everyone else who was always so friendly and kind to me.”

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