New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

Our world has certainly been forced to change due to COVID-19. We now have measures in place to keep us safe from the virus, and we’re practicing new processes and operations to maintain any sense of normalcy that we can. Companies have been forced to migrate their model to cater to a work-from-home capability, and delivery services have skyrocketed so people can continue to get their essentials without leaving home. We’re living in a new world as we know it, and the presence of COVID-19 in our lives is going to change everything as we know it.

We are Online together.

Education is a category that has been affected by COVID-19 and the way in which students and instructors interact and engage with one another. Since the in-person model is no longer an option, digital and virtual capabilities are now being used to share lessons and incorporate learning behaviors. It’s entirely different, especially for the systems that hadn’t been using virtual options before. But now, across the world, students are “logging into” their classrooms and finding new ways to learn and adapt, and teachers are adapting their lesson plans to fit a virtual mold.

Whether you’re new to the New York English Academy or if you’ve been a student for some time, you’re probably wondering how these new circumstances have affected the curriculum and the learning structure. Luckily, similar to other institutions, the school has adapted quickly to fit this new way of life so students and teachers alike can continue their original goal of teaching and learning English in an adaptable environment. Here are a few ways and strategies that the new classroom experience integrates into the daily structure.

  • Attendance and participation

At first thought, it might be difficult to imagine a virtual setting and having the ability to monitor attendance as well as productivity levels. Since technology products like Zoom have proven to be an effective platform for interaction, New York English Academy have joined the ranks of other top educational institutions when it comes to virtual learning. Instructors can visually check attendance by seeing who is present at the start of the class, and with additional features within the platform, like chat and breakout rooms, instructors can then monitor participation and engagement there.

  • Student-teacher communication

We’ve lost the ability and luxury of in-person conversations, whether it’s formally during class or casually in passing throughout the campus. This kind of interaction is surely a benefit to in-person learning, but as we adapt to the new world and have to rely on virtual learning until further notice, there are ways that our virtual capabilities can still be beneficial for learning. New York English Academy supports a wealth of communication strategies in addition to Zoom; instructors can make themselves available through one-on-one video chat or phone calls, email supports 24/7 outreach, other vetted messaging apps, and Schoology – which will helps support students and teachers within the system for lesson planning, sharing documents, and connecting with one another. Even though this new world may not be ideal for the full experience of communication, our technology certainly allows us many other ways for connection and continued learning.

  • Student-student communication

A benefit of any kind of academic setting is the opportunity to engage with other students. Sharing ideas, providing feedback and constructive criticism, and refining social skills have always been true values of learning with other like-minded students. Again, missing out on the in-person value of this can be difficult, but with all the available tools listed above, students can utilize a multitude of resources to connect with each other. Plus, since students don’t need to worry about the appropriate boundaries between a student and a teacher, they can find each other on social media platforms and operate as social classmates, too.

  • Instruction abilities

Being in a physical classroom allows for various ways of teaching, through lecture, shared technology features, or the classic whiteboard/chalkboard capabilities. Physical handouts and sheets are unfortunately no longer an option, but again, our digital and virtual options certainly allow for valid substitutions for these. Zoom has a whiteboard function so that instructors can continue their lesson distribution, and students can continue to take notes and emulate the main ideas into their own notebooks. Zoom also has the screen-sharing capability so that participants in the class can see in real-time the same content as everyone else in real-time. With the cloud platform, students can also share materials with one another and collaborate in those same materials at the same time, which can actually increase productivity and help streamline projects and learning curves.

  • Classroom atmosphere

Physically traveling to campus and attending classes in-person might seem like a thing of the past already, as by now, many of us are used to a virtual learning and productivity atmosphere. It can be difficult to imagine how the in-person experience migrates to a virtual experience, but there are so many ways in which students and instructors can engage with one another while learning the content that is designed for the class. With scheduled video conferences, instructors can engage in valuable facetime with the students via lecture or engaged conversation. This is the opportunity for students to ask questions directly to the instructor while the other students are present, and it allows for the opportunity of an open discussion. There is also independent work, similar to what was expected out of physical classroom learning – this is the work that students must do in their own time, applying what they learned during class in their own practice. In addition, there is also the option for students to work with one another in small groups or one-on-one, which enhances the learning process while encouraging practice of the spoken English phase of the program.

  • Assignments and homework structure

This is another area in which digital and virtual learning can benefit for students. Just like in a physical setting, New York English Academy expects its students to do work outside of the class in their own time. This tests their ability to apply their learnings into independent thinking, as if it were a test to see how well they comprehend the lessons. Depending on the structure of each class, it’s typical that students are assigned a weekly writing assignment, which helps determine the level of understanding of the written English language. In addition to a written piece, there is also a weekly speaking assignment to determine the level of comprehension of the spoken English language, which can be done over Zoom or even phone calls if need be. Depending on the class and how far along the student is in the program, this structure might change, but typically, the New York English Academy works to deliberately make the virtual experience as similar to the physical version as possible.

  • Testing and examination structure

It may be difficult to think about how students are going to be tested without an in-person atmosphere, but surprisingly enough, there are a multitude of ways that students can be tested on their learnings and comprehension. In this new world, it might be stressful to think about all these changes in addition to the natural stress that may come with testing, but malleability and flexibility is a skill that all adults require, so students can think about this as a method of adapting to life adjustments as well. In today’s world, there are many platforms that support private testing options so that instructors can guarantee students are adhering to testing policy while also maintaining their security and privacy. Since New York English Academy also assesses all aspects of English learning, testing also includes verbal, reading, listening, and writing English, which means that Zoom conferences with the instructor can satisfy many of these requirements, and with the cloud platform and screensharing, instructors can monitor that testing is done honestly and fairly.

  • Administrative capabilities

Instructor and teacher communication can be done easily and honestly with today’s digital and virtual capabilities, and while this atmosphere may not be ideal for everyone, it still supports the ability to complete the program and advance to higher learning. For additional communication with other departments beyond teachers, students can also interact with other members of the institution, like financial aid, admissions, and others in a digital or virtual fashion. This ability to access communication to other key players in a student’s progression means that students won’t have to worry about any delay in processing or movement throughout the program beyond the classroom. We’re all in a very odd and uncertain time right now, and safety and health should be the most important factors of all citizens. If you’re practicing physical distancing but want to continue the progression of your education, New York English Academy has adapted quickly and accordingly so that current and prospective students alike won’t have to worry about any kind of progression for their educational or professional future. You can rest assured that your studies will go on as scheduled, and you’ll be able to pursue your goals, even in the middle of a pandemic.

Category : NYC Today

COVID-19 not only took the entire world by surprise, but it forced every individual to completely reassess their priorities, routines, and ways they communicate. It can be difficult to adjust to these changes in an immediate sense in the first place, but additionally, these changes can also have a huge impact on our mental health, especially since we’re ordered to stay inside and avoid human contact. For us in New York City, this takes on an incredibly large meaning, as we’re used to being in close contact with others at all times – subways, crowded sidewalks, and even tight quarters at the office or at school. This city fits in millions of people in a very small land area, so for us, this change has probably affected us the most.

Quarantining in new york

Living in quarantine means that we all have to work together separately to achieve public safety and health. It’s an odd concept to think about, but containing yourself to avoid the virus and the possible spread to others is the most responsible thing people can be doing at a time like this. It’s worth noting, however, that it can have an incredible impact on people’s wellbeing.

I live alone in New York City. In a sense, I’m very used to my own company, and I actually find myself looking forward to it after a long and tedious day at the office and two frustrating commutes. The first couple of weeks I adjusted pretty easily, as I was able to work from home and leave my apartment for quick walks or trips to the grocery store for necessities. As time goes on, however, I’m certainly starting to feel the impact of isolation. My anxiety about the coronavirus overall has risen, and I find I have to go through different lengths to make sure I’m taking care of my mental wellbeing. Here are a few ways I’m listening to my mind.

  • Taking advantage of virtual therapy

I recognize that I’m lucky enough to have insurance that can cover my mental health. I’ve been in therapy for a little over a year now, and I truly feel it’s had a positive influence in my regular “maintenance checks” – even if I’m not feeling specifically overwhelmed about anything at that time, talking to someone on a regular basis has provided a form of consistency that I lean on, and it helps to have an unbiased opinion on events in my life that I need to work through or understand.

A few weeks ago (thanks big-time to technology), we started taking our appointments virtually. It was a bit odd and awkward at first, but we were able to move beyond that quickly enough. I only have 45 minutes with her a week, so I always make sure that I use my time efficiently. Every week we talk about how this new way of life is affecting me, how I’m handling, and what I do to cope with the tough moments. If I find something that has changed due to quarantine, she offers solutions that will help me find my way back or cope. Either way, having her as a companion during this uncertain time has helped me overall face the unknown road ahead.

  • Take breaks

This might seem silly, but I found I had to force myself to do this, especially in the very beginning. Since I’m working from home now, I found that I was working many more hours each day – I wasn’t taking lunch breaks with my coworkers, I wasn’t catching up on weekend activities during the afternoon, and I certainly wasn’t commuting two hours each day. So I filled those gaps with more work. It started to weigh a toll on me, and I started to become more agitated, impatient, and slept worse.

Since there wasn’t a clear and deliberate start to my day (arriving at the office) or an end (putting my coat on and heading to the subway or the gym), it was difficult to place boundaries on when my professional and personal time shifted. I now make sure to completely shut my computer down by 6 pm, I block out time on my calendar to eat lunch away from my desk, and I don’t open email during non-working hours. Sometimes I’ll even put myself as “unavailable” for 15 minutes to just take a stretch break, talk a quick walk outside, or to just catch up on texts.

For as long as this continues, I’ll keep providing tips on how to manage this difficult time. I’ve found that what helps from a macro sense is that everyone is in the same position – we’re all trying to figure this out both individually and globally – and we’re all in this together.

Category : NYC Today

What I love about living in the Northeast is that our winters are actually winters. When I was growing up, I lived in the south for two years, and the winters were so mild that it barely felt like winter at all. I’m one of the rare people that actually enjoy the cold weather, and December is the best winter month in my opinion. The holiday season tends to put everyone in a great mood, and I’ve noticed that everyone’s spirits tend to be just a bit more uplifted and jovial. Since Christmas and Hanukah both fall in December, you’ll notice that travel is extensive, and people travel the world to visit their friends and family to celebrate the holidays.

Because everyone seems to be in a great mood this month, it’s a great time for you to put your English skills to practice. You’ll notice that everyone is much more friendly and willing to ask you how you’ll be celebrating the joyous season. You can learn popular English sayings through social media, you can exchange pleasantries on the subway, and you’ll be able to express the beauty of the New York City in the winter with those around you. December in New York City is a magical place to be, and you’ll love being here during this time of the year.

I’ve narrowed down some unique things to do this month in New York City so you can marvel in the sights and lights while simultaneously putting your English skills to practical use.

  1. Rockefeller Christmas Tree, all December

This site is a no-brainer for the holiday season. Tourists from all over the world come to New York City just to see this iconic scenery. Rockefeller Center is a quick walk from Times Square, so it’s a pretty hub any time of the year, but it’s recommended to plan ahead if you’re interested in seeing this destination, as it can get pretty busy. Avoid the weekends if you can, and if you’re looking to get an up-close view, be prepared to face long lines and heavy crowds, but once you get the perfect picture, you’ll realize how worth it it is! Bring your friends so you can practice your English-speaking skills with your group and other admirers. When you’re thinking of the perfect hashtag for your social media post, you’ll also be able to see what everyone else is using, further utilizing your English comprehension skills.

  • SantaCon, Saturday, December 14th

If you’re interested in a unique holiday celebration, this is an event you should check out. Twenty-somethings all over the city dress up as Santa or elves during the day and frequent select bars throughout Manhattan. It’s fun watching all the Santas travel throughout the streets of the Big Apple. If this doesn’t sound like fun to you (I’m one of those people), this is a good day to hibernate and catch up on your classic Christmas movies. No matter what you do this day, you’ll surely put your learned English skills to use. Be sure to stay warm no matter what you decide!

  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise, December 31st

Surely you’re aware of the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, but standing still for hours on end (without a bathroom!) in the cold isn’t for everyone. If you need something to do with plenty of sights of New York City, be sure to look into the options for this cruise. Not only will you be away from the massive crowds, but you’ll have a beautiful view of the city skyline. Grab your friends and mark your calendar to ring in 2020! No matter what you choose to do to ring in the new year, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to putting your learned English skills to use!

While December in New York City can be a bit on the colder side, the excitement around the holidays will surely keep you entertained and warm. With plenty to do no matter where you go or what holiday you celebrate, December has no shortage of activities. And if you’re trying to put your English skills to use outside of the classroom, you’ll be surrounded by tons of people this month, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to socialize with these people as you marvel at the beauty of the city. Grab your friends, stay warm, and have a wonderful holiday season!

Category : NYC Today

By the time November rolls around, I’m already quite used to the chilly days and even chillier nights. I love bundling up with the fresh fall air and appreciating the colorful sights of autumn. You might find, however, that this seasonal change may be harder on you than, say, people like me. November also translates to a lot of travel for many, as Thanksgiving at the end of the month beckons people to their loved ones from all over the country and maybe even all over the world. This month tends to kick off “cozy season,” as meals become heartier, your wardrobe grows additional layers, and many people choose to spend their extra time in the warmth of indoors.

New York City is a place with endless things to do. I’ve probably mentioned this over and over again each month, but no matter the time of year, you’ll never run out of activities. The added bonus is that if you’re trying to put your learned English skills to use in real life, New York City is the best place to do it since it’s just a giant cultural melting pot. There’s plenty of excitement in the air this month with all the pending holidays and winter being right around the corner, so be sure to brush up on your social skills, pull out your warmer clothes, and get ready for a month of fun in the Big Apple.

  1. The New York City Marathon, Sunday, November 3

This is truly one of the most humbling experiences to watch as a resident of New York City. People from all over the country (and the world!) train for months leading up to this 26.2 mile race, and if you plan accordingly, you can likely watch the runners in person! The race starts in Staten Island and travels through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx, finishing right in Central Park. Bring your friends and cheer on all the participants, and maybe you’ll even be inspired to start training for next year’s race! Practice your English cheers and you’ll easily be a part of one of New York City’s greatest events all year.

  • Fall Foliage Cruises, all month

If you’re willing to spend a bit of money for this activity, these cruises are well worth every penny. With tons of options available, you’ll be able to pick which journey and route is best for you and your schedule and budget. Your location in the Northeast means that you have some of the best scenery available for checking out all the seasonal color changes. Plus, you’ll travel through tons of different areas on the Metro NYC area, so you can even experience a completely different location. Brush up on your English reactionary phrases (“How lovely!”) so you can truly appreciate the beauty of autumn.

  • Ice skating rinks, all month

It wouldn’t be a true New York City experience without trying out your skills on the many ice skating rinks throughout the boroughs. While these locations get pretty busy right away in the day, you’ll have to be a bit strategic when it comes to choosing a day and location to test out your skating talents. These rinks will surely prepare you for the start of the holiday season, as many pop-up booths are located around these rinks, selling holiday crafts and gifts, so brace yourself for the beginning of Christmas season as well! To rent skates and any other essentials, you’ll definitely need your wallet (especially for that hot cocoa after being on the ice). Engage with other skaters, and here you can put your speaking English skills to use. Be sure to take some great pics so you can post them on social media and engage with popular hashtags.

New York City in the late fall and early winter is a beautiful sight. Some days are on the warmer side, while you’ll also likely experience some early signs of the winter ahead. It’s important to think ahead when it comes to dressing yourself (stay warm!), but it’s also important to enjoy the change of seasons! As I’m sure you remember from last winter, the dead season can be pretty brutal at times, so appreciate the mild temperatures while you still have them.

Always be practicing your English while exploring the city, as it’s a huge learning experience at every corner. So brush up on some new English phrases, dress warm, and hit the city!

Category : NYC Today

You guys have heard me talk plenty about how New York City is a location that certainly has no shortage of things to do. One of the benefits about living here is that you have the whole place at your fingertips, and you have all the time in the world to see and do what makes this city such a wonderfully exciting place to be. September is one of my favorite months here, and in general, just because the weather takes a break from the hot summer days, and it’s still comfortable enough to hit the town without pulling out your winter gear just yet.


If you’re in the process of learning English and trying to figure out how you can put your learned skills to use, all of these activities will allow you to practice your English listening, speaking, and reading skills in some way. This way, you can take your classroom learnings and apply it to real life – after all, that’s why you’re in this program! So gather your friends and pick out a few of these activities to check out for the month of September!

  1. Wanderlust, Sunday, September 8, 2019, Prospect Park

If you’re into wellness, yoga, or even general exercise and movement, this is the event for you. Starting with a 5K run or walk, you’ll transition into a massive 90-minute yoga class with hundreds of other attendees, and then close the experience with a huge dance party and guided meditation. This is a great opportunity for you and your friends to cleanse your bodies of negativity, maybe a day of indulgence, or even just to relax and unplug for the day. It’s all about peace and mental tranquility on this day. Given the huge attendance that this event attracts, this is a great way to meet new people and put your English skills to use. Be sure to practice your “Namaste!”

  1. Brooklyn Book Festival, Monday, September 16 – Sunday, September 22, 2019

If you’re a reader (like me!), this will really be your jam. This week’s worth of events brings together some of the most amazing current and legendary writers from across the world to talk about literature, culture, and the human experience. There are tons of things to do during this week, so this is a great opportunity for you to brush up on your English reading skills and come prepared for discussions on your favorite pieces of work, favorite writers, or to simply share some of your stories about your own experiences. It’s also a great time to mingle with other book lovers, so be open to your English-speaking skills! Everything is welcome this week, so don’t be shy! (And don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes – this event has a lot of strolling and walking around Downtown Brooklyn!)

  1. Museum Day, Saturday, September 21, 2019

One of the best parts about being in New York City is the easy access to all the wonderful museums that are timeless and attract people from all over the world. Even though we live here, however, that doesn’t mean that we frequent them as often as we’d like. But this is the day in which we should all be taking advantage – participating museums provide free entry on this day, so be sure to check out the list and design your itinerary for the day so you can hit up as many as you can. You’re certainly in for a full day of learning and cultural exposure. Given all the tours and guides, you’ll easily put your English reading and listening skills to use. Be sure to ask questions along the way so you can practice your speaking skills, too!

When September hits, you’ll notice that things seem to somewhat go back to “normal.” The kids are back in school, and the adults are done taking their summer vacations. Rush hours are full again, and the light crisp in the air might get you inspired to get excited for the upcoming fall season. For me, there’s nothing better! As I always say, there’s always something going on here in the Big Apple – all you have to do is do a little research, and you’re bound to find something that will interest you. And more than likely, you’ll find an activity that will challenge your learned English skills, and what better way to put those learned skills to use than back in the real world!

Category : NYC Today

There are many reasons to love New York City in the start of the summer. For me, the start of summer seems to just put everyone in a great mood, which makes my daily commutes more tolerable, the interactions with my coworkers more pleasant, and the Vitamin D from all the sunshine just generally lifts my spirits overall. The temperatures aren’t super high just yet in June, so it’s still bearable to be outside. With kids being out of school, there’s also just a level of excitement in the air, all over the city. My advice for June: get outside as much as you can while the weather is still tolerable (before it gets too hot), and enjoy the sunshine!

gay parade

While you’re out and about this month, the first official month of summer, be sure to think about ways you can put your English skills to use. Luckily, since this month tends to bring everyone out of their apartments and in the fresh air, you’ll be surrounded by plenty of opportunities to engage with other people. Here are a few things going on during the month of June for ideas on how you can not only have fun and take advantage of this amazing city but also put your English speaking skills to use.

  1. Governors Ball, Friday, May 31st – Sunday, June 2nd, Randalls Island Park

This is a pretty huge event that takes place every year, and it’s a pretty deal in New York City. As a three-day music festival, it can draw in thousands of people, so really think ahead if this is something you want to attend! While you’re there though, it’s a great experience to be around so many iconic musicians and all the other huge fans. For some unique English practice, look up some of the artists on the lineup for the event, and start learning their music. It’s a great way to not only learn more music and genres, but it’s a great way to learn some new English words and maybe you’ll even connect with other fellow fans while you’re there.

  1. Gay Pride, all of June (Gay Pride March is Sunday, June 30th)

If you haven’t noticed by now, New York City is one of the gay pride capitals of the world. Many people come to New York City just to experience the culture of openness and acceptance that the city has to offer for those that do not identify as heterosexual. Events all over the city will be held for the entire month of June to commemorate this movement, so you’ll be sure to see tons of rainbow symbols during this month. You can get involved by attending one of the many comedy shows, art exhibits, marches, and even the music festival held at Pier 97. So gather all of your supportive friends and take part in this really crucial, social movement. You can practice your English by sharing your support with members of the LGBTQ community and praising their bravery and pride.

  1. Shakespeare in the Park, through June 23rd, Central Park

This is another one of those New York City staples. Since the 1960s, this series produces free performances at the outdoor Delacorte Theater in Central Park. For the month of June, Much Ado About Nothing runs Tuesdays through Sundays at 8 pm. These events are wildly popular because not only are they outside in the summer night, but they’re free! On top of that, many noteworthy and iconic actors have taken part in these productions, so there’s almost always a great chance that you might experience a legendary performance! If you’re new to Shakespeare, this is a great chance for you to be exposed to the greatest playwright of our time. Or, you could read the play before watching it so you’ll get your English reading in as well as your English listening practice in. It’s a double win! P.S. Bring a blanket – the nights can still be pretty chilly in June!

Whether you’re looking for something low-key or something intense, you should know by now that New York City has everything to offer, no matter what you’re seeking. Also, don’t forget that the Big Apple is a huge melting pot, meaning that people from all over the world live in this great city, so there’s always an opportunity for you to put your English classroom skills to practice in the real world – and there’s no better teacher than the streets of one of the greatest cities in the world!

Category : NYC Today

By now, you’re probably enjoying the warmer weather, the sunnier days, and the ability to move around without layers of scarves and heavy jackets. I know May is definitely one of my favorite months in New York City because people tend to be happier now that the weather is just a bit more pleasant. In addition to that, people want to spend as much time as they can outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and the feel of the warm sun on their skin, so you might notice that the sidewalks are more congested and the parks just have more people there.

madison square garden

One of the best ways to practice your English is to completely immerse yourself in the real world around others that speak the language. There are so many great opportunities to do that in New York City, as so many more people are out and about this month. So I’ve compiled some of the best activities that you can take advantage of and still be able to put your learned English skills to use – all while being in the greatest city in the world!

  1. Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, May 9

If you don’t know who Billy Joel is, I suggest you look him up. Chances are, you’ve heard of his music, as he’s been around for decades now and has made a tremendous impact on the world of rock and roll. Since 2014, Billy Joel has been a franchise of Madison Square Garden, meaning that he has agreed to perform at this venue once a month indefinitely. While this means that you can actually catch this living legend any month that you want, I decided to include it in this month’s round simply because it was time! I suggest downloading a few of his albums and practice your English by the way of music! You won’t regret it, I promise you!

  1. International Food Fest, 9th Avenue, May 18 – 19

For fifteen blocks stretching up 9th Avenue is this amazing two-day event to give you plenty to see and try. Entry into this festival is free, but I recommend bringing along some spending money because you’ll absolutely want to try all the foods available here since the tastes and bites come from all over the world. In addition to food, there’s tons of entertainment, like music, dancing, and of course, vendors. I included this event since most of you reading this come from all areas all over the world, so this is a great opportunity to get a little taste of home while you’re also learning more about other cultures – in the span of just a mile in New York City! Plus, with all these various cultures in this area, you’ll be immersed in many other languages as well, so this is your chance to not only put your English skills to use but to perhaps learn phrases from other parts of the world, too!

  1. BrunchCon, Brooklyn Expo Center, May 20

So, if you’re anything like me, you love a good, hearty brunch on an early weekend afternoon. After a few Bloody Mary’s and an excellent Eggs Benedict, my Sunday Scaries seem to just go away. So, I’m particularly excited about this event, as this is your chance to try out all the great restaurants that specialize in this in-between meal, and you can finally get the chance to try out all the dishes and drinks that you weren’t sure of before. Plus, interacting with these restaurateurs and other event-goers will give your English-speaking skills some exercise. So, put on your stretchy pants and get to this brunch event!

I really do love the month of May – it reminds me of my childhood when the end of the school year was near, and that excited feeling comes back to me every single year since. Plus, the end of May is the unofficial kick-off to summer, so there’s so much to do in this great city and plenty to see. And the best part is that so many new things continue to pop up month after month, so you’ll never be bored. Grab a group of friends and start thinking of all the things you want to do and see in the next couple of months because time will go by quickly! Don’t forget to put your English skills to use with everyone you interact with – before you know it, you’ll be speaking English without even thinking about it!

Category : NYC Today

March in New York City can be a tricky time of the year. In the beginning of the month, it tends to still be pretty cold and blistery, and by this unofficial tail end of winter, it can be hard to be optimistic for the warmer months. By the end of March, typically, you’ll start to notice some whispers of early spring. You might have a really sunny day with the faint sound of birds chirping. You might start to notice the weather slowly creeping towards a comfortable 50 degree benchmark. Either way, March is a transition month, which might make it difficult to decide what to do in your free time. Should you bring your jacket? What shoes should you wear?

spring new york

If you’re also new to the English language, it might make these decisions even more intimidating. I’ve come up with a few things to do this month so that not only can you take full advantage of this awesome city but so you can also put your English learnings to use in real life. Your weather app will be your loyal friend this month, so before you head out, check the forecast, dress accordingly, and remember: have fun!

1. Women’s History Month; all month

You may have noticed that recently there have been tremendous progress with feminism and women’s progress. This is a crazy exciting time to be involved in all the events around the city to honor all the achievements that women have made over the decades in all walks of life, from Congress and medicine to the entertainment industry and law. Throughout the whole month, there are all sorts of events set up, so depending on where you are and what interests you and your friends, you’re bound to find something that will move and inspire you. By checking out these talks and tours, you’ll expand on your English listening and engagement skills, so there’s no better time to put your learnings to practice.

2. Big Apple Comic Con; Saturday, March 9 – Sunday, March 10

While this event is smaller than the New York Comic Con, you can easily have a great experience rubbing elbows with some of the most well-known comic book creators of all time. Held at the Pennsylvania Hotel across from Madison Square Garden, you’ll have two full days to check out all the events and exhibits that this event has to offer. With some guests dressed up in costume or cosplay, it can be easy to get caught up in the feeling and reminisce about your favorite comic book superheroes. Check out the itinerary, grab your friends, and start practicing your favorite admiration English phrases, like, “I grew up with your work,” or “It’s such an honor meeting you.”

3. United Airlines Half Marathon; Sunday, March 17

If by chance you were able to check out the NYC Marathon in November, you’ll remember just how invigorating it was to cheer on so many participants as they stretched their physical limits all over the boroughs of New York City. If you’re chasing that same feeling, check out this half marathon will give you that fix. While this tour is obviously half in length as the race in November, the spirit remains. Starting in Brooklyn and ending in Central Park, you have amazing choices when it comes to where you want to take in your sights. Make signs cheering the runners on (great English writing practice) or pick out your favorite English optimism chants.

March is a fickle time of year, pretty much no matter where you go. It can be difficult planning your weekends when you’re not sure what the weather will be like, but keep in mind that you’re living in one of the best cities in the world, with so much to offer when it comes to activities. I always tell my visiting friends that if the weather is too extreme, don’t forget about all the museums New York City has so you can not only escape the harsh weather effects, but you can also be in the presence of incredible art and history. Always keep these options in the back of your mind when you’re making your plans. And as I always say, New York City is a huge melting pot, so if you’re trying to find ways to put your English learning skills to use in real time, don’t forget that you’re surrounded by thousands of other cultural transplants that are happy to help you!

Category : NYC Today

Listen, I’m going to give it to you straight. January in New York City can be pretty tough. The magic of the holidays is over, and things tend to just go back to normal, which can be kind of sad. On top of that, the weather can be cold and dreary, and I always tend to get sick this month. Snow is no longer fun and beautiful – now it just means that my commute is going to be annoying. In essence, January in New York City is a drag. But, to cheer you up and make sure you don’t fall into this funk, I’ve come up with a few ideas that will keep you entertained for this month.

winter in new york

One of the great aspects of this list is that all of these activities have opportunities for you to put your English skills to use outside of the classroom. By now, you know that living in New York City means you’re around people all the time. This gives you plenty of chances to interact with all those other people that come from all over the world—just like you! New York City is nothing but a giant melting pot of other cultures, so take advantage of being around such great diversity and put your skills to real-life practice!

  1. Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Swim; Coney Island Boardwalk; January

Believe it or not, hundreds of people come all the way down to the Coney Island Boardwalk to either watch people plunge into the ocean on New Year’s Day or participate in it themselves. Since it’s a movement that’s fueled by charity, dozens of people truly take the challenge seriously. If you’re willing to stand in freezing temperatures to watch this event, it might be worth it to cough up a few dollars for a good cause: Camp Sunshine, a charity that supports children and their families with life-threatening diseases. It’s surely a great way to nurse your New Year’s celebration hangover and gives you some fresh air. For your English practice, come prepared with your best, “People are crazy!” and you’ll be sure to have a few people in agreement with you! And hey, maybe you’ll summon the courage to participate next year!

  1. A Night at the Museum; Museum of Natural History; January 4 and January 25

If you haven’t gotten around to seeing the movie, Night at the Museum, be sure to catch it before the Museum of Natural History hosts its sleepover! While this event can satisfy kids and adults alike, it’s an experience that only New York City can entertain. With plenty of snacks and entertainment and tours throughout the museum, you can really feel like you were part of the movie. (And hey, watching the movie gives you plenty of English practice, too!) Plus, the museum itself is a great place to practice your English reading and speaking skills; with plenty of information to absorb, you can learn tons of cool stuff just by being around other people. So make sure your translation app is up-to-date so you can feel prepared to ask plenty of questions without missing any details.

  1. Broadway Week; Broadway; January 21 until February 10

Seeing a live Broadway show is an amazing experience, but the downside is that seeing these shows can often be quite an expensive activity. So that’s why I wanted to highlight this really awesome time of the year for New York City. During this brief period of time, you can get two-for-one tickets to select shows. Get your friends together and start discussing (in English, of course!) which shows you’d all be interested in seeing. From there, do some research on timing and theatres to find the best deal for you, as you’ll of course have plenty of options! And naturally, there’s no better way to put your English listening skills to practice than watching and listening to a live show in English!

Don’t get me wrong: I love living in New York City—it’s just that January can be a little rough with the cold weather and the dreary days. Hopefully these activities will not only keep you entertained, but they’ll also keep you in love with the Big Apple, too. Don’t forget to keep practicing your English, even during one of the coldest months of the year – don’t let your skills get too “frosty!”

Category : NYC Today

Living in New York City in the month of December can feel like a constant Christmas carol. From the lights and the music to the shopping and overcrowding at the spectacular tree at Rockefeller Center, it can feel like it’s Christmas for the whole month. No matter how long you’ve been in the Big Apple, you still might be wondering about all that there is to do in this great city in one of the most exciting months of the year. In fact, there are SO many options that it might feel overwhelming.

winter in new york

They say that when you’re in New York City, you’re never really alone, but if you have questions, you might feel nervous to approach strangers for directions or help in translating. All of the events that I’ll be discussing in this post allow you to open up and practice your English speaking skills – and still get you into the holiday spirit in one of the greatest cities in the world.

  1. Take advantage of the seasonal tours; all month

Whether you’ve been here in New York City for months or perhaps years, it’s easy to feel like a tourist when you participate in a guided tour around the city, which may discourage you from taking one. But in December, thousands of people flock to NYC to check out the lights and all the festivities that the city has to offer, so there’s no better time to indulge and blend in as an outsider. From bus tours that show you all the holiday lights and holiday movie scenes to cruises that glide you through the river as you catch the cityscape and all of its holiday lights. If you have questions about the city or the holiday or even the culture, now’s your chance to practice your English skills by asking fellow tourists if they know! What better time to blend in?!

  1. Bryant Park Winter Village’s Tree Lighting; December 4th

If you don’t know by now, it’s somewhat of a good idea to avoid Rockefeller Center during the month of December—it’s always packed full of people and sometimes difficult to get a good view. (I recommend going either really early in the morning or if you can hack it, pretty late at night.) For a similar yet more intimate feel, Bryant Park puts on its own tree lighting ceremony, which is just as beautiful. They even put on an ice skating show to partner with the tree lighting, so you’ll be entertained at all angles. There will surely be hundreds of people at this event, so this is another chance for you to interact with others that are still learning the city or come from different cultures. We can all learn from each other!

  1. Harry Potter: A History of Magic; New York Historical Society

If you’re anything like me, sometimes I can use a break from the Christmas overload. There are times when I just want to enjoy a normal day without the holiday being all around me, so I included an event that isn’t centered around Christmas. This exhibit displays all of the artwork included on the popular series’ covers, and since the series is celebrating its 20th anniversary of the US publication, there will surely be many Harry Potter fans in attendance. If you’re a fan of the series and need a break from the overabundance of Christmas setting, be sure to check this event out, as more details continue to come out. And as an added note: if you haven’t read the series, these are great books to invest in for your English reading comprehension. Then, once you finish the books, treat yourself to the movies.

December really is a magical time to be in New York City, and there are always so many wonderful things to see and do during this time of year. It’s fun to get bundled up and listen to all the Christmas cheer and jolly. People tend to spend more money during this time of year due to the tradition of gift-giving, which also means that there will be many pick-pockets out and about. While I’ve always felt safe in this wonderful city, I’ve still always been very aware. So as you’re out and about with your friends this holiday season, practice your English listening skills and always be aware. Just as much as this time of year is the season of giving, there are many that need help, so be alert!

Category : NYC Today