New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

It’s certainly been quite the year for all of us – if you’re anything like me, you’re eager for this late spring and early summer season more than any other year in the past. I’m officially halfway to full vaccination, and this has brought me so much joy and hope for our future. I’m always excited for the month of May in the Big Apple, but this year just feels different – I feel like a little kid all over again! I can’t wait to see my friends, travel, and just feel like life is just generally getting back to normal. May is always an awesome month to be in the city, so if you’re looking forward to life in the city this month like me, I wanted to pull together a few things you can take advantage of.

If you’re trying to keep your English skills sharp, these activities will allow you to keep that practice going and ensure that your reading, speaking, and listening talents are in constant improvement – all while enjoying all the benefits of living in the best city in the world!

1. Central Park

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I know this may feel and seem pretty simple, but after being couped up for what feels like ages, this is the perfect destination to take advantage of the greenery, the fresh air, and the beautiful scenery. We’ll still need to practice mindful distancing and safety as everyone else continues to get vaccinated, but this the ideal place to get caught up on fresh air and time with your friends. Pack snacks, music, and a list of clever games to play that can get you reacquainted with your social circle – to make it fun and interesting with your English skills, try only speaking to each other in English and helping each other out if one of you gets stuck. Not only will you have fun in the coolest park in the world, but you can keep your English skills sharp and fresh.

2. Governors Island

After months of shut-down, this hidden gem is opening back up this month. It’s kind of one of the city’s best kept secrets – a simple (and fun) ferry ride out of Lower Manhattan, you and your friends can sightsee on a gorgeous spring day, get some fresh air, and get a change of scenery. There are a ton of historical sites for your group to check out and plenty of bike paths and walking trails to ensure you’re getting your exercise, too. Be sure to visit all the written guides so you can keep your English reading talents alert, and with plenty of island signs all over the place, you’ll be reading so easily that you won’t even realize it! (Don’t forget your sunscreen and your mask!)

3. Cinco de Mayo, May 5th

So while this is an event and holiday that the whole world celebrates, you can be a part of this regardless of your ethnicity or origin. There are TONS of restaurants all over the city that honor this fun holiday with dinner and drink specials to commemorate this widely celebrated Mexican holiday. You could actually get a win-win out of this holiday, as you’ll likely be able to practice your English with your friends as you’re socializing and catching up with one another, but most of the menus will likely be in Spanish, so you can also even see how skilled you are in this language as well! New York City is still operating at strict percentage laws, so be sure to keep that in mind as you’re looking for places to go, but with all the options in this great city, you and your friends shouldn’t have any issue finding the perfect spot to grab a few tacos and margaritas.

It’s been a difficult year for all of us in New York City – if you stuck it out and stayed here like I did, this spring season probably feels even more sweet for you. It can feel like we’re getting a second chance! If that’s the case, I still strongly urge you to practice safety and thinking as you’re spending more time outdoors and around people again. People are still getting vaccinated, so we’ll need to continue to operate wisely, so keep wearing your mask, bring hand sanitizer, and always think ahead about the plans you make. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we still have some work to do, so don’t let the warm weather take down your guard.

Category : Stay in New York

So it’s clear that 2020 was a year for the books. It’ll certainly be a time in all of our lives that we won’t forget, and generations to come will likely know of the eventful 2020. We faced a global pandemic that forced all of us to reassess our priorities, our relationships, and our habits. We saw perhaps the most tumultuous election season in history, dividing our country in a way that caused even more friction. We witnessed a major social justice movement for racial equality and a call for change. All of these events have caused significant trauma for many of us – for those of color, it’s brought generations of pain and suffering to the surface. For those that have been marginalized and segmented, it’s been a moment of silence yet disruption.

All of this friction has left a lot of uncertainty in the air – it’s caused many people to respond with physical violence, heated arguments, and silence. It’s forced all of us to think about how we’re talking to one another, interacting with each other, making decisions, and thinking about how all of this has an impact on our futures.

For many, this is an incredibly stressful time. Because we live in New York City, we have access to tremendous diversity and populations of all races, ethnicities, belief systems, and backgrounds. I’d like to think that for most of us, this is a valuable trait to have for the city that I call home. Others may not appreciate this as much and actually might be threatened by this diversity and open-mindedness. This knowledge, as a result, often makes me worried about my own safety from time to time. I know that at any moment, I could be a part of or witness a hate crime; protests are constantly taking place in areas all over the city.

I often think of all of these events and shifts in our world this way: we’re in the middle of a growth spurt. We’re adjusting to new developments with the pandemic. We’re making social change. We’re trying to soothe the divisiveness within our political atmosphere. It just so happens that we’re right in the middle of all this change. It can often feel uncomfortable and nervous about what this means for our future. But here’s what I also learned about staying safe and informed, especially since we live in a city that is diverse and progressive but also often in the public eye.

1. Stay informed

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This includes staying updated with current events around the pandemic, politics, and our social justice movement. Staying in-tune with these developments will not only keep you informed, but you’ll know about the tools that you have available to help in that change – volunteering in your community can help people with limited access get appointments for vaccines, speaking up when you see injustice can help shift behavior, and having conversations with people of different political opinions can help soften rigid thought processes.

2. Pay attention to time

We all have our personal rules about staying out late. For me, if it’s past 11pm, I won’t take public transportation – I’ll get a cab instead. Use this intuition. Despite the change that’s taking place in our city, there are still people out there looking to cause a stir. There are still people angry about injustice. The last thing you want is to get caught in the crossfire. Stay home. Use your instincts on what is the safest decision.

3. Keep talking with one another

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Again, there’s just generally a lot of unrest happening right now. As we all continue to spend a lot of time at home, it can be easy for many to become more isolated mentally and emotionally. Check in with your loved ones to see how they’re doing. Check in with your friends of color to find out what you can do to help support their community. Keep talking about “uncomfortable” things like race, access, and equality. Keep normalizing the mental health conversation. The more that EVERYONE talks about these topics, the easier it is that we’ll make and see long-term progress.

2020 and 2021 have been difficult years for our city and our country at large. If you want to be on the positive side of history, keep having these conversations and do what you can to be a part of the change – while also staying safe. Be mindful, be considerate, but also be daring. We can get through this all together if we work together.

Category : Stay in New York