New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

We are in a very sensitive time right now. All over the globe, people are being quarantined, laid off, and tested for the coronavirus. It can be incredibly easy to let the fear take over you as you operate your day-to-day schedules. The unknown is a terrifying thought, and taking the proper and necessary measures to stay informed, safe, and calm will help alleviate that uneasy feeling.

If you’re like me and spending each day in isolation in New York City, you might feel a sense of stir crazy as well as frustration. Luckily, my job allows me to fulfill my responsibilities remotely, so I’m one of the lucky ones that hasn’t had to worry about income. I recognize how fortunate I am in this scenario, and if your job has been affected by this crisis, I hope you’re doing everything you can to stay calm.

I live by myself in a studio. I’ve come to love my personal space that I call “home.” Over the past two weeks, however, I’ve felt suffocated. I only leave my apartment to get groceries or make necessary errands. Often I’ll leave to take a walk just to get some fresh air and a change of scenery. Sometimes I’ll jog just to get my blood flowing. Not commuting every day has certainly made me realize just how much walking I was doing each day.

As I complete my second week in isolation, I wanted to share some tips that I’ve uncovered to help me stay safe but to also make sure that I’m mentally balanced amidst this uncertain time.

  • Take advantage of our technology

I have been FaceTiming with my family members all over the country to check in with them, connect with them, and make sure that they’re staying safe. Since my friends and I can no longer go to dinner to bond, we’ll have virtual happy hours together to talk about our days, how we’re coping, and how much we miss one another.

I also see a therapist once a week. Traditionally, these sessions are in person, but as of last week, we’re now holding our sessions virtually. Again, I recognize that I’m lucky enough to have the technology that can support this capability, and if you’re in need of a mental health session, there have been all kinds of alternative methods of therapy popping up amidst this crisis. She’s helped me work through my building anxiety over the unknown, and ultimately, it’s nice to see her face and hear her voice for the familiarity factor.

Of course, isolation means this is the perfect time to catch up on your binge-watching or finally getting around to watching that movie you keep hearing about. I know I’ve often fantasized about a staycation, so I’ve always been looking at this situation in that lens myself. Might as well take advantage!

  • Appreciate the solitude

As an introvert, I’ve always felt very comfortable with my own presence. I find I keep the best company! Even if you aren’t an introvert like me, there are many ways you can take advantage of this forced alone time. I’ve found this is a great time to get caught up on some reading I’ve let fall behind. I’ve picked up on my meditation – I’m still awful at it, but this is the perfect time to keep trying. Dust off your old hobbies, like crafts, working on a puzzle, or even painting.

When isolation first kicked off, I did a lot of laying around and being unproductive. This quickly set off some internal guilt – I felt like I should be doing more productive things and taking advantage of this time alone. So I told myself to commit to one project a day – since I’m working from home during the week, my Monday through Friday projects are a bit smaller, but no matter what, I’ve found this to be tremendously helpful. I’ll organize a drawer, go through storage and purge, or even clean.

  • Be safe

Your health is the utmost priority right now, which is why no matter what, you have to be as careful as you can. Take walks, but be mindful of the people you may pass. Go for a run, but if the park is crowded, come back a few hours later. WASH YOUR HANDS. Clean your commonly touched pieces often – light switches, handles, doorknobs, and even your phone. In a time like this, there’s no such thing as being too safe.

Category : How to Learn

We’re in the middle of a very uncertain time in our world, and it can be overwhelming to try and stay safe, calm, and sane when we’re being told to stay home. For those of us that are by ourselves or far away from loved ones, that isolation can be very loud. For me, I’ve been exploring all kinds of options for staying in touch and connected as well as staying in touch with myself.

stay home

When the quarantine first started, I saw it as a mini-vacation – I slept in frequently, parked myself in front of my TV for hours, and mentally checked out. After a few days of doing that, I started to feel unproductive and guilty about how I was spending my time. Before this virus came to New York City, I was always incredibly busy, wearing multiple hats of obligation and responsibility. I would often wish for a day off just to tend to personal matters. I realized that even though this virus is a scary and uncertain event, I had to be more mindful around how I was spending this time.

Even though I’m able to fulfill my job’s responsibilities remotely, I still found that my mental gymnastics were greatly reduced. I recognize that a lot of that is because I’m distracted by the anxiety of the uncertainty around this virus, but I also wasn’t doing the same things I normally was. I wasn’t interacting with people as much – obviously – and many of my activities were being cancelled. Now that we know this is going to be the norm for some time, I’ve actively decided to make sure that I’m doing something at least once a day that triggers my brain’s activities. It’s very easy to just burn a hole on your couch to make the time go by, but I’ve found these few changes have made a difference. Play word games

  • Play word games

We are very fortunate to live in a time that allows us to connect with one another virtually. Through games on our phones to board games that you can “play with others” over FaceTime, you can keep your brain active and challenged. I downloaded Scrabble Go and play with friends or strangers to keep my thinking cap on. There are tons of other “brainfood” games out there, especially now, to keep your mind juices flowing.

  • Read, read, read

I get that this is kind of a lost art these days given our extreme digital connectivity, but there’s no better time to dust off those books you’ve been meaning to crack open for some time. Not only will the stories take you to another world and distract you from current reality, but the activity itself will keep your brain much more active and checked in. If you’re looking for help or suggestions, GoodReads is a great place to get started.

  • Exercise

I get that this is a physical activity, but getting your heart rate up is proven to also stimulate your brain. If you’re feeling frustrated, nervous, or defeated, simply going for a quick job can help you clear some of that clutter and feel a bit more at ease. You’ll also be able to rest easier during the day knowing that you’ve taken care of your body.

  • Connect with friends and family

This one is probably the most paramount, and I’ve found this to be crucial when it comes to managing my health during this time. Since I live alone, the solitude is much louder than those that live with others. I’ve been calling my family members more and connecting with my friends more often to not only bridge the gap of isolation a bit, but it helps me to understand this scenario from others’ perspectives.

My sister has young children, so she worries about their health. My mom’s parents are in a nursing home on the other side of the country, so she’s worried about them. I have younger siblings in college that are now having to experience their academics away from campus. All of these unique and individualized experiences have put my own situation into perspective.

This is an uncertain time for people all around the world, and while I’m fortunate enough to be able to do my job remotely, I also recognize the impact that this is having on others, the economy, and our future as a whole. Personally, I hope you’re staying safe and calm, and remember to reach out to your loved ones.

Category : New York

If you’ve spent some time at New York English Academy, you’re likely used to the classroom dynamic and working with your classmates to enhance your learning skills. The instructor and the resources available have likely aided in your English skills, but you probably also have learned just as much by working with and practicing with your classmates. Since all of you are there for the same reasons, there’s likely a level of connection that others not in the program would not understand.

graduation of college

This sense of community has helped our society shape other programs in the academic field. Even for those that may not be incredibly social-minded, working with your classmates proves to be beneficial for all involved. This kind of work provides a perspective that simply cannot come from your textbooks or your instructor. Additionally, you can help one another out with difficult subjects without judgement, and this kind of collaboration utilizes a more active part of your brain than traditional classroom learning or lectures.

If you’re looking to continue your advanced studies after your time at New York English Academy, it’s highly recommended to check out the programs available at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. Not only do these two institutions have a partnership that allows easier entrance into the college, but there is a built-in community from which you can greatly benefit. If you choose to continue your higher education career at St. Francis College, here are just a few ways you can get involved in the community to enhance your English skills as well as your social skills.

St. Francis College Student Life

The college design is meant to shape young adults not only in their academic studies but in their social lives. The student life programs at St. Francis will help students develop their participation in the community and understand how they can make a difference in their world. With this kind of real-world exposure and experience, you can complete your time at St. Francis with more than just a degree.

  • Clubs and organizations

There are many options for you to get involved here. From academic clubs to cultural and special interest clubs to even Greek life, there’s likely a concentration that would suit your specific interests. If you find there’s a club that doesn’t exist that you think others would be interested in, here’s your chance to take action! It’s an easy task to contact representatives at the school to make your case, and before you know it, you might have your very own club!

  • Student government

No matter what your area of study is in, many students choose to get involved in this area of student life. Not only does it provide insight into action and advocacy, but it gives students a sense of operational process if change is desired. By looking at steps and elements that are required to achieve change, you may feel inspired to take greater action in your community and elevate your voice.

  • Religious options

If you belong to any kind of religious community, you will likely be able to find a group that represents your belief system. Not only will this provide you with the resources you need to worship as you see fit, but you’ll also have a built-in community of others that share your values. Be sure to check out your options here.

  • Athletics

If you’re an athlete yourself or just enjoy competitive sports, be sure to check out the schedules for these areas. With sports year-round, you can easily find the entertainment from basketball and soccer to track and field and swimming and diving. This is a great way to show support for the school as well as provide you the opportunity to meet new people and interact with fellow students.

The college experience is designed to provide you skills beyond the academic focus. By giving you the opportunity to interact with your classmates both in the classroom and beyond, you’ll develop enhanced social skills, community responsibility, and an organized mindset on how you want your life to look post-graduation. St. Francis College understands the value of interaction with one another, which is why the Student Life organization is robust and diverse. You’ll be able to have fun while simultaneously learning and designing the next years of your life.

If you’re ready to take the next step after your time at New York English Academy, check out St. Francis College today!

Category : How to Learn

They say March comes in like a lion and ends like a lamb – I’ve always remembered this since I was little, and I have to admit that I tend to cling to this idea to this day. It’s likely because by the time we get to this time of the year, I am so ready for some breaks in the cold, winter days and finally get some sunnier and warmer days. By the time March rolls around, it can sometimes feel like winter will never end, so this is the unofficial month of change in weather!

St. Patrick’s Day in new york

For me, I’m ready to break my hibernation habits and start socializing more and meeting up with friends. I also find that my mood is just generally better overall!

Luckily, when you’re out and about more often, you’re also probably going to be seeing your friends more often. This gives you the chance to put your English skills to use in real-life beyond your classroom. Not only will you get to see your friends more, but you’ll be able to use one another to give your English skills some practice. No matter how you choose to spend your month of March, you’ll have plenty to do and plenty of opportunities to get some real-world English practice. Here are just a few things to look forward to this month.

  1. March 9th; National Meatball Day in Little Italy

First of all, I didn’t even know this existed myself, so if you find your way down to Little Italy this day, you might just run into me! What better neighborhood to try out some of the best tastes in town! There’s an entire list of restaurants that are participating in this day in some way, so this is a great way to plan your whole day so you can be sure to sample some of the best there is. Bonus: even though this event is designed to get you out of your house and spend some time practicing your English, this is actually a great excuse to try out your skills at Italian!

  • March 15th; The Vessel; Hudson Yards

If you can believe it, it’s now been one whole year since this iconic attraction was unveiled. It’s already made an incredible impression upon the city, and what better way to celebrate its presence than honor its one-year anniversary! If you haven’t made it to the Vessel yet, now’s the time! With incredible architecture and stunning views, you can easily spend an entire day here! So grab a group of friends and put on your most supportive pair of sneakers, and get ready for a great day of site-seeing. Plus, you’ll easily be able to connect with other site-seers, since this destination is wildly popular with people on social media – you’ll get your written English practice here!

  • March 17th; NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

This holiday is celebrated practically everywhere, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you to find out that New York City goes all out for St. Patrick’s Day. On this day, New York City hosts one of the oldest parades celebrated in the city, and you can catch it if you’re anywhere near Midtown East or the Upper East Side. Be sure to wear your green, and practice some of your English phrases to communicated with other parade-goers. You’d be surprised how many people get into the Irish spirit – just make sure to dress warm enough just in case spring isn’t ready to show itself yet!

New York City is a city that has endless things to do. If the weather is still a bit too bitter for you in the beginning of the month, check out one of the many museums so you can still be active but in the comfort of warmth. If springs starts to show early, take a stroll through one of the parks you haven’t visited yet. No matter what the weather is, March will still give you plenty to do. And since the Big Apple is such a huge cultural and lingual melting pot, you’ll be surrounded by all kind of people that will help you out if you need some help either with communicating or even just navigating through the city. At the end of the day, we’re all here to enjoy the best of what New York City has to offer, so you might as well make the best of it!

Category : How to Learn