New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

When the coronavirus hit the US in early 2020, no one could have anticipated the world in which we all now live. We have spent the past couple of months trying to adapt to a new way of life that includes physical separation, wearing masks at all times, and forgoing activities that were once a part of our daily lives. I never thought I’d admit this, but I actually miss the act of daily commuting – it brought structure and routine to my day, and it provided a sense of purpose to each day. I recognize that I’m lucky enough to be able to work at full capacity from home and not everyone has that luxury, but adapting to no longer commuting was harder than I thought it would be.

I also feel like I’ve missed out on so much of the city that I love. Because I’m spending so much time in my apartment, I’ve missed out on the social gatherings, the park visits, and even neighborhood bopping on the weekends with my friends. The sense of adventure that the city always provided me is now missing. Luckily, New York City has seen tremendous success after the physical distancing efforts and the sheltering in place that we all did – which has led to us being allowed to interact with others again – but, of course, with limitations. For me, I’m happy with that – I’ll take anything I can get.

So that brings me to the next thought. What do we do now? How do we move forward? What does our future look like?

I, of course, can’t answer all of these questions. There are so many variables, and we don’t even know what next month will look like, much less next week. This has left me feeling uneasy at times, as I’m wondering when I’ll be able to see my family again. When will I be able to return to the office? When will we see “normal” again?

This is a conversation topic that I see happening all over the place. In our news articles, in social conversations, and even in social gatherings – when we’re all sitting together, wearing our masks, we can’t NOT talk about it. What does our new normal look like?

Here’s what I can offer:

1. Find connections – in any way that you can

If we’ve learned anything since the start of this pandemic, it’s that we can’t sacrifice caution. I don’t mean to find connection by mingling with a bunch of strangers – but take advantage of the tools you already have to connect with others. For the first time of our lives, connectively, this pandemic is the one thing that we ALL have in common. This means that we’re all struggling with this in one way or another, some more than others. Check in with each other, ask how your friends are doing, and see if there’s anything you can do to help.

I celebrated my birthday during the pandemic, and I swear, this was the year that I felt the most loved – and I realized it’s because people knew that I was spending the day differently than anticipated. With our delivery tools and technology, showing someone you care is easier than ever. Who knew that my best birthday yet would be the one in which our world is upside down?

2. Be open-minded

Note that I said “open-minded” and not “optimistic.” I’m not saying there’s nothing to look forward to, but we simply just don’t know what our immediate future is going to look like. In March, when New York City was essentially shut down, I don’t think anyone anticipated that we’d still be feeling its effects into this late in the year. We have to wait and see. Be prepared for the worst, but celebrate the good. Is there a way to make lemonade from a lemon? We might see a day of low cases, but we might find the next day with a spike. We must continue to do what we’re doing with good spirit.

3. Be safe

I know that we’re all fatigued with our situation. I know there are some days I’m feeling mentally and emotionally defeated, wishing that this is all just a bad dream. But it’s our reality, so I encourage you to continue practicing your physical distancing, always use your mask, and don’t forget to send your virtual love to friends near and far. It’s as important as ever.

Category : Stay in New York

It’s no secret that our worlds have been turned upside down the past couple of months due to the pandemic. We’ve had to adjust to new ways of life and get used to practices that we’ll likely have to follow for months to come. It can feel like there’s no end in sight to what could be considered going back to “normal,” so we have to use that uncertainty to shift our mindsets and our regular habits to help us stay focused, positive, and motivated.

Since gathering for education purposes and learning opportunities still seem to be uncertain, you might feel a bit on edge regarding how you can maintain your learning regimens and utilize real world application for your English language practice. Since we live in New York City and it’s known for its incredibly varied cultures, you might feel like you’re being stinted from valuable and practical learning moments due to our ongoing restrictions. It can feel frustrating, but there are still many valuable ways you can take advantage of the city while staying safe.

1. Haircuts and personal care

Going several months without cutting my hair or really needing to pay attention to it has certainly saved me a lot of money. Since I was working from home full-time and wasn’t really interacting with anyone in person, I didn’t feel the need to style or look after my hair like I did when I was commuting to the office every day. There’s beauty in this, I recognize, but at the same time, I sure was pretty excited to get back into the salon. Luckily, they’re practicing high safety standards, like only allowing a certain percent capacity and restricting the use of their waiting lobby. Plus, all the experts are wearing masks and require all the guests to do the same.

It was so refreshing to sit in that chair again, so if you’re in need of some professional grooming, call your local salon to see how they’re operating right now. This is a great chance for you to also put your English skills to practice in person. It might be tricky with the mask on, but we’re all adjusting, so this shouldn’t set you back too much!

2. Outdoor dining

This might be what I missed the most. Going out for meals with my friends was our primary way of catching up with one another and enjoying all the great cuisines that the city has to offer. For months, we couldn’t see each other in person, so when restaurants started to allow outdoor dining and gatherings, we almost felt like our friendship could be back on track, too. It’s a bit unusual to get used to at first, but after a while, we chose to just look at it as a fresh take on a summer adventure.

Again, restaurants are being extremely careful as well. They’re spacing their tables out into the sidewalks and streets as liberally as possible, and all the workers are wearing masks. Be sure to check out your local spots to see how they’re complying with the new rules, and gather your friends for a unique catch-up session. Challenge each other to only speak in English so you can make sure your English skills aren’t getting to rusty from being in quarantine for so long.

3. Other outdoor entertainment

Summer has been in full swing for a while, and even though it may feel like we’ve been in this new pandemic world for eternity, keep in mind that summer won’t last forever. When the weather starts to cool down again, the outdoor capabilities of socializing and entertaining will start to diminish again. So take advantage of this time! Bring your friends to the park (with your masks and hand sanitizer, of course), and continue to pay attention to your physical distancing practices. Check out some outdoor museums, zoos, or even the botanical gardens for some fresh air, sunlight, and fun times with your friends.

It may feel uncomfortable to wear a mask in 90-degree weather, but it’s best to follow the guidelines that the CDC has set in place. Learning a new language can be difficult in a time when we’re required to wear a mask as much as we can, but the comforting notion you should keep in mind is that this is a mass effort, and everyone is working together to flatten the curve so that we can move forward as a society as safely as possible.

Category : Stay in New York