Students find Byron is cool

STOKED: Some of the teenage boys from Abu Dhabi who are visiting Byron Shire.
STOKED: Some of the teenage boys from Abu Dhabi who are visiting Byron Shire. Kate Oneill

THE Byron Shire's laid-back vibe is a long way from the bustling metropolis of Abu Dhabi, but our local culture suits 16-year-old student Khalid Waleed just fine.

"I can live with this," said Khalid, who has been busy taking surfing lessons, playing didge, meeting wildlife and listening to music in between his lessons at the Byron Bay English Language School.

Khalid is one of 35 teenagers from the United Arab Emirates who are spending a month in the Byron area to learn English and immerse themselves in Australian culture.

They've have been sent by the Abu Dhabi Education Council, which decided Byron Bay was a perfect place for its students to have an authentic Australian experience.

Some will visit cities like Melbourne and Sydney during their stay, but are based in Byron where they are billeted with local families.

Khalid said the weather was different to back home - it's about 30 degrees cooler than he's used to at this time of year, and we can have more rain here in a day than they do in a year in Abu Dhabi - but he says he loves the Byron environment.

"My country is very polluted. This is beautiful, it's so natural," he said.

Khalid said he counted his time in the surf as one of the highlights of his time in Byron.

"It was wonderful and I won't forget that moment. It was the most beautiful thing."

- Kate O'Neill

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Brave boy uncovers man's cow sex, child sexual abuse

A beast in the main arena at the 2012 Ekka.

Police praise boy for testimony of man's abuse and sex with a cow

DPI puts Dolphin Marine Magic 'all but out of business'

A battle over seal enclosures at Dolphin Marine Magic threatens the facility's ability to stay open, Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser warns.

DPI crackdown a threat to Dolphin Marine Magic, warns MP

Jethro Tull is back to Bluesfest

ICONIC: Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull at Bluesfest 2011.

Jethro Tull returns to Bluesfest next April

Local Partners

Back with Love and Violence

REUNITED, re-energised and ready to rock 'n' roll, The Superjesus are back after 13 years of recording silence with a new EP, Love and Violence.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

New acts announced for Falls Byron Bay

Northeast Party House are a six piece alternative dance rock band from Melbourne.

Seven new acts have been added to the line up

Xavier Rudd, Cat Empire announce joint tour

Australian singer songwriter Xavier Rudd at Bluesfest 2015.

Two of Australia's most outstanding live acts to tour together

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Salma Hayek: 'Trump planted story because I turned him down'

Actor Salma Hayek is the latest woman who says U.S presidential nominee Donald Trump acted inappropriately.

Salma Hayek latest woman to accuse Trump of misconduct

Leonardo DiCaprio nearly drowned while filming

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio

Oscar winner almost drowned in Galapagos

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge