New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

The realities of living in the middle of a pandemic have proven to be a learning experience for everyone around the world. As the threat of health safety continues to be an ongoing presence, you’ve likely encountered a few ways in which your life has shifted to adapt to these changes. In New York City, since our communities are so densely populated, we have experienced arguably the largest sting of changes, as physical distancing and the shelter-in-place regulations have forced us to change the way we operate on a daily basis.

For the New York English Academy, we have adapted to these changes to best serve our students, teachers, and communities without sacrificing quality education or the safety of our communities. Since we live in a time when our technology and devices have allowed us to connect in ways that weren’t necessarily possible 10 years ago, we’re able to utilize those features into our day-to-day operations. While our lesson plans have surely shifted to cater to a digital classroom experience, our core values and mission have remained the same.

Our students are our priority, and ensuring that everyone stays safe and protected from the dangers of COVID-19 is paramount for us. We quickly shifted to digital platforms that allow our instructors to continue interactions with their students, and monitoring participation and engagement have allowed us to better understand what works and what needs additional attention.

As an educational institution, we understand that part of the experience of learning with other people is the interaction with one another. This interaction could certainly be education-related, but it could also be forming bonds with one another based off shared experiences. Learning and living in New York City is such a special and unique experience, and bonding with others that are familiar with that journey can be extremely beneficial to personal growth and long-term friendships.

Sheltering-in-placing and experiencing academic journeys at home can be challenging and also a bit isolating. It’s normal right now to feel an increased sense of longing for company from others and an increased desire to connect with other people. Communication platforms like Zoom have shown increased activity during the time of COVID-19, as people have shifted from in-person social gatherings to digital group hangs on these platforms to “see” their loved ones and share updates with one another. What started as a business tool for companies to hold virtual meetings with one another across multiple office locations has turned into a widely used consumer product for people to stay in touch with friends and family.

At New York English Academy, that sense of isolation and increased desire to see one another started to become very apparent for several individuals within our organization. To lift spirits and bring people “together” at a time when interaction was decreasing, engaging Zoom interactions started to sprout up. From study sessions with students and teachers to social “happy hours” and “game nights,” the New York English Academy community started to leverage Zoom’s capabilities outside of the classroom.

Zoom has helped students interact with one another to form study group sessions or just recap a lesson if additional help or guidance is needed. What we’ve noticed is that people are starting to get even more creative around how they use Zoom to stay connected with one another and entertained in this new and unusual environment. Here are a few ways to stay entertained during this odd time while staying connected with your New York English Academy community.

Zoom Celebrations

In New York City, most of us are now over 3 months into living in quarantine. This means that a lot of us have missed monumental moments in our lives, from weddings and vacations to birthdays and even meeting new family members after birth. This is how Zoom has helped bring people together. I’ve attended quite a few Zoom birthday “parties” now, and a friend of mine even got legally married over Zoom. Our circumstances may have forced us to change the way in which we celebrate with one another, but we’re lucky to live in a time when our technology and devices can give us the next best thing to in-person gatherings. It’s hard to think about it now, but certainly, one day, we’ll all look back at this odd time in our lives with appreciation and gratitude that we had the tools that we do now to keep us connected.

Zoom game nights and creativity

When COVID-19 became a regular force in our day-to-day lives, my friends and I would “get together” once a week over Zoom to talk about our weeks, reminisce about a time before COVID-19, and to just “see” each others’ faces. When these sessions first started, it felt odd to me that this was our new reality, but we all quickly adapted, and soon enough, I was looking forward to those weekly catch-ups to see my friends. In an odd way, those weekly calls brought us together even closer, as we were all experiencing the same struggles in real time – together.

After a few weeks of these social sessions, however, it almost seemed as though we were running dry. We were sick of talking about COVID-19 – one of my friends lost her job, and another group of friends were on the brink of losing theirs. As much as we knew that we all had each others’ backs no matter the circumstances, we were also craving for some distraction from the realities that COVID-19 placed on us. So we started to play games!

There are a ton of games available that are not only entertaining but will help you get to know your friends and fellow students even better! Browse the app store to see what kind of games are available where all participants can log in at once and play together. Another way to keep the entertainment going is to nominate someone each week to host a trivia session. These are easy to create, as there are tons of resources available online that will help you concoct these sessions and make them entertaining. There are ton of themes available, and you could even make them English-related if you wanted to make the trivia sessions informative as well.

New York English Academy recently hosted their own version of a trivia night, complete with a Hollywood theme. Not only did this allow the students to flex their English muscles, but because it was pop culture themed, everyone had a blast without feeling like they were in a formal educational setting. This allowed students and instructors alike to relax a bit and just engage with one another on a person-to-person level.

Key Takeaways

COVID-19 has forced all of us to think about how we live our lives in different ways. By now, after a few months of adapting to this new way of life, we’re all learning about ourselves and also how we operate as students, instructors, administrators, and even just people. It certainly hasn’t been easy, especially considering that peoples’ lives are on the line and our future as a society is so uncertain.

Living in New York City, a hotspot in so many ways, has probably also affected the way you all are living your daily lives. Losing the value of human in-person interaction has likely forced you to explore other options of connection and collaboration. It’s not always easy to be forced to think outside the box, but if anything, this pandemic has helped prepare us for the future. We now know that life can continue – it just has to be shifted a bit. For me, as a lover of this great city, it’s hurt my heart that I can’t explore it like I used to. I hate to see stores shut down and public transportation empty. What once was a lively city seemed to turn into a remote and desolate place to be.

If I can leave you with any hope, however, is that we will rebuild and recover. New Yorkers are tough, and we are resilient. We will come out of this stronger than ever, and your relationships with friends, your fellow students, and your New York English Academy community will be stronger than ever because you all endured this unique moment in history together.

Be thankful for your health, and be thankful that we live in a time when our technology can allow us to keep going. Cherish your human connections, as when this is all over, you’ll be so grateful to have them. Stay connected with your New York English Academy community, because one day, you’ll want to reflect on this time together with gratitude and hubris. Take advantage of the tools you have – you’ll appreciate the human connection, and be sure to lean on those relationships as we continue to navigate this new way of life – whenever and for how long we continue with it.

Category : Stay in New York