New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

If you’re not used to heavy snow, brutal winds, and biting cold temperatures, your first winter in New York City might be a harsh shock for you. Before I moved here myself, I had lived in other areas of the country that also had pretty intense winters, so I thought I’d have no problem adjusting. What I learned, however, is that a New York City winter is unlike any other: I’ve come up with some tricks that might help you adjust, even as you’re adapting to the English language.

1. Invest in some serious winter gear

I moved to New York City from Philadelphia, a city just a few hours south, so I thought handling my first winter would be a piece of cake. I was wrong! Since Manhattan is essentially one giant island surrounded by water, this means high winds, blasting cold temperatures, and sideways snow. I was used to this in Philadelphia, but then again, I drove everywhere and had to spend very little time outside. But now, since so much of my commute is spent walking outside, I suddenly realized that my winter gear wasn’t as protective as I once thought! Pay attention to the boots and jackets you see others wearing–don’t be afraid to ask them the brand, the price, or where they purchased it—if anything, they’ll take your inquiry as a compliment that a total stranger likes their winter gear! This will also help you practice your English and help you overcome an apprehension to engaging with others in New York City. Depending on the brand or the product, the cost might seem high, but trust me: after four months of weather this intense, your body will appreciate your investment.

2. Definitely check the weather–constantly

Like most New Yorkers, you probably don’t have a car. This means that for the whole day, you’re committed to carrying everything around with you. This also means bringing your snow boots in an extra bag if snowfall is expected in the evening. This means packing your umbrella if the sleet prediction at 3 pm is accurate. In an earlier post, I sang the praises of The Weather Channel app; this resource will give you hourly forecasts and what kind of precipitation or wind strength you can expect for the rest of your day. I find that I check it out several times throughout the day so I’m not hit with any winter surprises. I’d much rather be safe and prepared than out of luck with cold feet and wet hair. Again, your smartphone can be a great resource when it comes to practicing your English and engaging with other tools that other New Yorkers rely on; this particular app will help you with your weather vocabulary, and chatting about the weather is a great ice-breaker! (Pun intended!) So trust me on this one: you don’t want to be caught in a snow storm in just your heels.

3. Don’t become a hermit!

Hey, I know how easy it is to hole up in your apartment on those super blustery days, snuggle up with some hot tea, and commit to a full evening of Netflix. I get it—just the thought of layering up with scarves, hats, and heavy coats is enough to make you groan and convince yourself to stay in and be comfortable. But you also can’t forget that even though winter in New York City can be brutal, it can also be BEAUTIFUL! I will say that New York City does an excellent job with ensuring the city is a desirable attraction with stunning scenery. During my first winter here, I assumed that after Christmas, the city would become ugly with dirty snow, slush, and general disarray of post-Christmas gloom, but again, I was way off. Stores keep their twinkly lights on, restaurants offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere with soft candles in the windows, and timeless sites and attractions still look breathtaking with a fresh layer of snow. So call up a few friends, pick a spot in a neighborhood you’ve never travelled to, and take in some new sights under the glow of a winter moon. Hit the park with your buddies and practice your English, travel down 5th Avenue and check out the cool sales, and maybe even take a ferry ride and see the city from the water.

Category : New York

Learning a new language comes with steps and stages of progression. In the beginning, there’s a lot of tedious memorization and basic application tools to help you build your foundation. As you develop and advance, you start listening and speaking with more ease and fluidity. Eventually, you’ll begin feeling comfortable holding small conversations with other English-speaking individuals. But how do you continue practicing your English with strangers when you’re out and about without the cushion of your classmates or your English language dictionary?

In New York City, there is never a shortage of fun and creative activities. The city is full of diverse things to do, and I can guarantee that you will never be bored while you’re here. When you feel confident and ready to step out into the social scene, New York City is ready for you. I’ve come up with a few clever options that you can put your English to use. Put on your thinking cap, and get out there!

1.Bust your Brain with some Trivia!

You’re probably already familiar with establishments that organize trivia nights, but this is a competitively fun way to use your new English skills. Either bring a team of your own in or see if an existing team has room for one more (most people don’t mind this since the more brains in a group, the better the chances of winning are). You’ll be given rounds of entertaining questions that will test your sports, movies, music, etc. knowledge for the chance to win the competition, and in some venues, sometimes a prize is even awarded! The win-win out of this scenario is that not only will you be putting your English application to the test, but you’ll be testing your cultural knowledge as well! And you never know—you could even make a new friend or two out of this!

2.Sing your heart out at Karaoke!

This is something I would never, ever have the courage to do, but this is truly a fun way to put your English learning to use. Maybe you just learned and perfected your new favorite English-language song, and you want to show off to the world (or maybe just that bar in New York City) that you’ve nailed it. This is your chance: have fun with it! Get up on stage, and sing your heart out. And if you mess up or forget the words halfway through the song, don’t even worry about it—you definitely weren’t the first one—and you won’t be the last! (And of course, don’t forget that you have the cushion of the screen in front of you that scrolls the lyrics as the song progresses—another perfect way to utilize your English reading comprehension skills!) Plus, half the fun is watching everyone else sing!

3.Get silly with Scrabble or Charades

Not all the activities have to be at the bar! There are so many fun cafes and bookstores in the city that organize game night gatherings. For your case, as someone that’s working on perfecting their English, I recommend either an establishment that hosts a Scrabble night or a Charades night. Scrabble is a board game that challenges you to create words out of other words—think of it as Dominos but in word form. This will get you thinking about your early days learning English vocabulary, and it’ll get your competitive juices flowing, too!

Charades is never a bore, as you simply act out a specific “thing” (movie, song, person—anything, really) without using your words. The other team has to guess what you’re acting out, and the laughter that comes from this game is worth the silliness. You’ll be thinking about your English vocabulary without even realizing it! Do some research on spots that host evenings like these, and give it a shot—more than anything, you’ll have an absolute blast.

4.Get your flirt on at Speed Dating

This one might sound like a silly one, but if you’re single and looking to mingle, this is a fun option! There are many organizations within the city that are always hosting some kind of singles night. This provides you with the opportunity to try out your real-world conversational skills and get a feel for the social environment within the city limits. Even if you don’t meet the love of your life, it’ll be a perfect setting to chat with new people and in turn, learn even more about New York City and all the wonderful things it has to offer.

Category : New York

One of my favorite parts of living in New York City is the constant bustle and conversation. It just makes the city feel alive and somewhat magical—it’s the reason it’s called the “City that Never Sleeps.”

There’s no better place to learn English than New York City for this reason—you’re always surrounded by people conversing with one another, either professionally or personally. Additionally, there’s always something going on in the city where you can surround yourself with English natives to learn the language outside of the classroom. You can be perfect at English by the textbook, but hearing and experiencing the language beyond the class walls is just as crucial.

I’ve come up with a quick list of places you can check out that would be a great resource for English exposure. Start up your Google Maps and Yelp apps, and start making your list of places to see and hear in New York City!

1.Satisfy your curiosity at the Museum

New York City is a cultural hub full of rich history and remarkable memorials to different moments in time. People come from all over the world to visit New York City museums; with almost 100 to check out, you have the ultimate opportunity right in your backyard! Find one that interests you and grab a group of your friends. Practice reading the brochures and the placards, ask the tour guide questions, and listen in on other conversations around you. This way, you’re not only learning about a subculture or moment in time in New York City, but you’re expanding your English skills at the same time!

2.Mall Madness!

Shopping malls offer a wide variety of products, services, and great foods. New York City is one of the world’s fashion capitals, and to maintain that title, The Big Apple has some of the coolest malls and shopping centers you’ve ever seen. Find one close to your neighborhood, put on your comfortable walking shoes, and prepare to learn! I suggest finding a table in the eatery and start by just listening in on some of the conversations taking place around you. This is also a great opportunity to learn about different types of food in the comfort of being under one giant roof! From there, as you pass by store windows, get a feel for some catch-phrases, like: “Today Only: 40% Off Everything!” or “Black Friday Sale: Doors Open at 5 am!” This is the perfect chance to get to know some of the cultural approaches to consumption.

3.Parks and Recreation

One of my other favorite things about the city is the number of public parks. They’re spaced out enough so that you don’t have to travel very far to find one near you, and New York City does a stellar job at keeping them clean and safe. Bring your study group to a park of your choice and practice your English with one another. Or maybe just go solo with a novel in English (and your English translation dictionary) and lay in the sun, enjoying the solitude and peacefulness. Plus, depending on the park you choose, there’s always a chance that you’ll be close to someone else’s conversation—listen in to get a feel for how they communicate with each other, jot down phrases you’re not familiar with, and congratulate yourself when it makes sense to you!

4.Turn up the Volume and Jam Out

There are some days when you won’t want to hear all those other conversations going on around you. Trust me—it can get overwhelming at times, and you’ll crave the space in your own head. That’s when I recommend always having a set of earbuds with you. Regardless of how you aggregate your music on your device, it’s always helpful to have your own private music library. There are endless genres you can listen to in English, so the choice is yours, but this is another great tool to get an idea of the English language and how it’s applied in the real world—and outside of the classroom. Keep in mind that each genre is different, so their slang or dialect will vary depending on your choice and taste. If you come across a song that you enjoy but have a hard time grasping the lyrics, look them up and practice reading them as you listen to the song—this way, you’ll hear the intonation of the language, AND you’ll get to learn the lyrics to your new favorite song!

Category : New York