New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

Each one of us has different circumstances regarding how we’re handling the pandemic. Parents have unique needs, while young professionals require various elements to keep them afloat. Some have been able to keep their jobs and work remotely, while others have to lean on their savings and unemployment benefits. One thing is certain: the pandemic changed everything.

If you’re a student at New York English Academy and are looking for ways to not only satisfy your needs as a human but for options that will allow you to practice your English skills, there are quite a few ways to stay active in your learning processes. With anything these days, all it takes is an open mind, a little bit of creativity, and an endless amount of resilience. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can handle anything. So here are a few ways you can keep your English skills sharp despite our circumstances.

1. Take advantage of your phone’s abilities

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been spending a lot more time with your screens these days thanks to all the extra time at home. One of the first things I did when I realized that COVID-19 was not going to be a temporary presence in our lives is I deleted all the games from my phone that required no skill – these are the games that I used to play on the subway during my commute to shut my brain off and disengage from work. Now, I play games that require thinking, like Scrabble, which is a great option if you’re trying to stay on top of your English vocabulary. Be sure to also keep up with you English learning apps, like Duolingo, while you’re still staying home. There are tons of options available now, so be sure to do some research on what’s out there and collaborate with your friends. Don’t forget to also use your social media apps so that you can stay connected with your friends but also use the English settings so you can adapt organically to how you engage with your friends and family

2. Reading and journaling

This is something that I’ve also forced myself to pick up again. I used to be an avid reader and writer, but between balancing a job, a social life, and exercise, these habits always got pushed to the bottom of my list. So to make sure that I was using my time effectively while at home, I started to read again. Some nights I don’t want to or feel too tired, but even if I read just a chapter, I feel better. I’ve also begun journaling again, which is another practice that’s a bit tricky to break into in the beginning, but just with any habit, it became easier and easier to adapt to each night. Reading keeps my mind sharp, and it’s nice to escape into a different world outside of my apartment, and journaling helps me process any stress or anxiety I may be feeling during this time. I highly recommend both of these practices, as they’ll help you find a distraction and a processing method, and they will exercise your English skills in real time, too.

3. Staying connected

This might feel like an obvious one, but it’s also just super important given the time that we’re in. I live alone, and my family is spread out all over the country, so there are times I feel the physical separation from my loved ones heavier on some days. So that’s when I’ll have video calls or just spend time on the phone catching up. Not only does this make me feel closer to my loved ones, but I also find a way to use my time wisely instead of just sitting in front of the TV. For those of you that are looking for ways to keep your conversational skills in English sharp, this is a good way of practicing those skills. Organize a group video chat and promise one another that you’ll only speak English – help each other out if you get stumped or use the incorrect word. There are also a lot of fun games available that you can play during the call so that you’ll have fun while learning and practicing simultaneously.

We’re in tough times right now, but don’t let yourself get defeated. There are so many ways to keep your English practices sharp so you don’t get rusty – when things settle, you’ll be ready, better than ever before!

Category : Stay in New York

We’re approaching the time of the year when most of us reunite with our loved ones close and far away. We’re being told that this year will look much differently than that, and a lot of us are trying to get used to the idea that we’ll be spending the holidays with our loved ones remotely. For me, this bums me out because I won’t get to see the magic of Christmas morning through the eyes of my little nephews and nieces, and it means that I won’t meet up with old friends when I’m home for the holidays.

When I think about this, even though I get sad about it, I have to go through little practices to remind myself that I’m actually quite fortunate. I’m lucky enough to have not lost anyone due to the virus, and I’m lucky enough that I and my loved ones have access to the technology that will allow me to be as present in those important moments as possible. So many of us are far away from loved ones here in New York City, but another reminder that I pull out regularly is that isolation is the very thing that bonds all of us together – we’re all experiencing this at once, and this is a moment in time when we can all come together (virtually and remotely) and make the best of a challenging situation.

Here’s how I plan to approach this time of year with positivity, warmth, and hope (to the best of my ability) as I face a holiday season away from my loved ones.

  • Comfort food is key

For my family, the holidays are so reliant on the elaborate meals and the amazing food. I’m not the biggest cook in the world, and my kitchen in my New York City apartment is pretty small, but I plan on doing as much as I can to make it feel as special as possible. My hope is that during the formal meals, my family can Zoom me in, and we can all “go around the room” and share how much we’re thankful for one another and appreciate that we can still be “together” as much as we can. Plus, there’s nothing better than leftovers, especially on those days and nights when you’re just too lazy!

  • Decorations aren’t just for the kiddos

Ever since I’ve been living alone as an adult, I haven’t really invested much time or effort into decorating my home for the holidays. I always kind of figured that it was pointless to go through all of that when I was going to be away for the holidays anyway, but this year, I’m doing things a little bit differently. While I don’t have much extra space in my apartment, that won’t stop me from finding great deals on holiday decorations to make my home feel as cozy and welcoming as possible – I can’t help but feel as though it’ll make me feel that much closer to my family, even if they’re states and time zones away.

  • Pull out those family traditions

Every family’s got them. No matter how big or small, goofy or serious, this is the year to honor them just like any other year. A tradition that my family follows, which I think is fairly common, is to wear matching pajamas the night before Christmas Eve. My mom will get us all kids (and grandkids) matching outfits to wear that night so that everyone wakes up in the morning matching – even though I find myself rolling my eyes about it in my mid-30s, I also realize that it wouldn’t be the holidays without that tradition. I’m going to be doing my best to bring in as much feeling of joy as possible into the time around the holidays to avoid the feeling of loneliness or sadness – this means watching the Christmas movies that brought me joy when I was a kid, playing Christmas songs that I’d sing to in the car on the way to my Grandma’s house, and checking the window on Christmas morning to see if it snowed. On paper, they might seem silly to us, but we all have that little kid in us that comes alive around the holidays, so my goal this year is to pay as much attention to that kid as possible. I think this year, doing that is going to make the difference from a sad holiday from one where we all made the best out of a challenging time.

Category : Stay in New York