New York English Academy Rookie blog

In the following weeks, the chilly winter weather that NYC has experienced for the past few months will begin to fade away. Instead we will be greeted by budding flowers, light breezes, and sunny days.  Spring’s arrival marks a reset for some plants and animals, but it can also be a great time for people to reorganize their homes and goals.  Typically, “spring cleaning” refers to the deep cleaning of one’s home at the start of the season. However, we asked New York English Academy students to respond to prompts that contemplated “a little spring cleaning in life”. Let’s see what they had to say!

Are you happy with who you have become? How can you grow or improve?

I am rather satisfied. When I meet great friends, I get good stimulation to grow as a person.

– Saaya, Japan

Happiness is necessary for growth. Being a medical doctor is one of the most outstanding

achievements I have earned, and I am delighted. I am meant to be in this position, I know that right now. I can improve my life by acquiring more skills outside of medicine and gaining a broader understanding of the world. Education never ends. 

– Oritseweyinmi Sanni, Nigeria

I’m very happy with the person who I have become. I never thought I would be able to experience such amazing things in my life, like traveling around the world, learning a new language, adapting to a new culture, and seeing my dreams becoming a reality. I love how much I have been growing, all the new things that I made, and all the experiences that I have now.

– Estefania, Colombia

Name 3 things that bring you pure happiness, peace, and joy.

I would say dog, dog, dog. The dog park is the place that brings me pure happiness and joy. No matter how hard the day is, just watching dogs playing around can make me feel calm. 

– Mei, China

Three things that bring me pure joy are nature, mediation, and traveling. I love traveling and seeing the beauty of nature. Traveling helps me relax and learn new things. 

– Sameera, India

The first thing that makes me happy is traveling; nothing can motivate my life more than traveling. The second thing is to get lost in reading. An interesting book that you can immerse yourself in for a couple of hours and not worry about time is amazing. The third thing that makes me happy is a calm day without rushing. 

– Mila, Russia

What are the top things that have moved you forward this year?

It is my first year living alone without my parents. It took twenty-four years but finally I did it. I was always trying to be an independent man but living alone is different. It’s been almost a year since I’ve left my country and this makes me very sad because I really miss my friends and parents. I said I am sad, but that is not actually true: I am really proud of myself for doing it. I will see my parents soon and everything is going to be alright.

– Archil, Georgia

I’m so happy when I wake up earlier than my alarm clock. I can go back to sleep again, or I can just get up and do something different; this allows having more choices than usual. 

– Naoki, Japan

Three things that have moved me forward are taking more risks, not compromising my goals, and taking care of myself and my peace. Some things that have held me back are overthinking and having a closed mind sometimes.

– Romina, Uruguay

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Things to Try This March March 2, 2023

February went by in a flash! As the weather warms up and spring begins to arrive in New York City, here are some activities to look forward to:

See an Off-Broadway Show

Off-Broadway week ends March 5th, so act fast to get 2 for 1 tickets on a variety of shows.  Check out your viewing options here:

Celebrate Oreo Cookie Day

National Oreo Day celebrates one of the most famous cookies in the United States. Originally produced in Manhattan, these cookies have grown in popularity and have been made using a variety of different flavors. According to, they are the world’s best-selling cookie. Enjoy milk’s favorite cookie on March 6th!

Visit the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show

Visit New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx to view artist Lily Kwong’s designs at The Orchid Show. For its 20th anniversary, The Orchid Show features thousands of orchids to combine fantasy and nature. This exhibition is on view until April 23rd. You can find tickets at this link:

Ride the Roosevelt Island Cable Car

The Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway provides a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Manhattan skyline. The tram crosses over the East River, reaching a maximum height of 250 feet above the water! The best part is, the ride only cost $2.75 each way and you can pay with your Metrocard!

Enjoy Free Fridays at the MOMA

The Museum of Modern Art, commonly referred to as the MOMA, is one of the largest modern and contemporary art museums in the world! It houses over 150,000 artworks in a variety of mediums and its free to all visitiors every Friday, from 4 pm to 8 pm.

The Spring Equinox is March 20th so if you’ve been waiting for warm weather, hang in there and enjoy these activites in the meantime!

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Valentine’s Day is every year on February 14th, right in the middle of the month. In the United States, that means cards, flowers, and candy exchanged between couples and peers.  Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world, with varying traditions from country to country. Here’s a quick look at Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world. 


In Denmark, it’s tradition to send anonymous joke letters to your crush. These letters are signed with dots, so the recipient has to guess who the sender is. If they guess correctly, they get an Easter egg. But if they guess wrong, they owe the sender an Easter egg.

South Korea

Korean couples celebrate their valentine twice a year! Like the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th. However on this day, gifts are given to boyfriends and husbands. Women are treated to gifts on March 14th known as White Day. 


Chocolate is always exchanged on Valentine’s Day in Japan. If you have a crush or a partner, you give them honmei choco or “true feeling chocolate.” But if you’re giving some to a friend or relative, you give them giri choco or “obligatory chocolate.”  


In Mexico, February 14th is El Día del Amor y Amistad or the Day of Love and Friendship. Everyone, not just couples, celebrate with cute gifts and treats. 

The Philippines 

In the Philippines, the local government hosts mass weddings every Valentine’s Day. Couples gather to exchange their vows at the same time and celebrate together.  For many couples, this is an affordable way to have a wedding ceremony and reception. 

New York English Academy wishes you a Happy Valentine’s Day with friends, family, and loved ones.

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Happy February! February is the shortest month of the year, but it is also the most romantic. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner on February 14th, our students got into the Valentine’s Day spirit by using some English Idioms.  

What’s an Idiom?

Idioms are phrases that have a meaning that is different from its individual parts. Unlike sentences with a literal meaning, idioms have a figurative meaning. For example, the idiom “bite the bullet” doesn’t literally mean to bite a bullet. It means to accept an unpleasant situation. Idioms exist in all languages and have often been passed down by groups of people throughout history. 

Idioms with “Heart”

To celebrate February, our students used English idioms and expressions using the noun “heart”. Read some down below: 

When I was studying in high school, I thought about what occupation I will have to choose. I was sure that I would like to do something important in life and be useful to people. I had a heart-to-heart talk with my mentor, a teacher of biology, that had a heart of gold and she advised me to follow my heart. It’s the story of how I chose medicine. – Oksana, Ukraine

I love the USA, and I have always dreamed of living here. In 2021, I followed my heart and came to America. My dream became a reality. – Irina, Russia

I have my heart set on becoming the best market financial analyst ever. I’m not half-hearted about it. – Florent, Cameroon

Once upon a time there were two men. One had a heart of gold, and the other had a heart of stone. They wanted to be each other. – Avihai, Israel

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January 17, 2023

On the third Monday of January, the federal holiday Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors the memory of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. A social activist and Baptist minister, Martin Luther King played a key role in the civil rights movement from the mid 1950s until his assassination in 1968. Civil rights activists fought for the equality and human rights of African Americans. Despite hardships, MLK was dedicated to non-violent forms of protest, saying that violent attacks on him “deepened [his] faith in the relevance of the spirit of nonviolence if necessary social change is peacefully to take place.1” Using this ideology, MLK was the protest leader and spokesperson for the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955, which succeeded in illegalizing segregated seating on buses.  

In 1957, he and other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a group committed to achieving full equality for African Americans through nonviolent protest. In his role as SCLC president, Martin Luther King Jr. traveled across the country and around the world, giving lectures on nonviolent protest and civil rights as well as meeting with religious figures, activists and political leaders.

In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. worked with a number of civil rights and religious groups to organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a peaceful political rally designed to shed light on the injustices Black Americans continued to face across the country. Held on August 28 and attended by some 200,000 to 300,000 participants, the event is widely regarded as a turning point in the history of the American civil rights movement and a factor in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Listen to the famous “I Have a Dream” speech here: Editors. “Martin Luther King Jr..”, A&E Television Networks, 9 Nov. 2009, 

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A Day at the MET Cloisters November 15, 2022

On November 4th, Nathaniel’s class took a trip to the Met Cloisters.  Since The Cloisters are all the way in Washington Heights, we met at New York English Academy in the morning and headed out together around 11 am.  The journey to upper Manhattan takes about an hour. Luckily, we were able to take the A train all the way there, from Fulton St Station to Dyckman St Station.  The Met Cloisters is a museum specializing in European medieval art and architecture. A cloister is actually a type of covered walkway and this museum has 4!

Located in Fort Tryon Park, the museum is surrounded by lots of foliage. We visited just in time to see the changing leaves. The Cloisters even have medieval gardens as well as chapels and themed galleries.  Not only did we see paintings and sculptures, but we also saw manuscripts, tapestries, and stained glass works. It was a long journey but the experience was well worth it!

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In a previous post, our teacher Shirley’s class took a trip to the National Museum of the American Indian. Since the museum is so close and admission is free, our teacher David took his class too! However this time there was a special exhibit for the Day of the Dead. After a 10 minute walk, our class lined up at the front of the museum’s steps to take a group photo.  Once inside, we visited the special exhibition, took pictures with the colorful display, and watched some short films that were projected inside. 

Going to a museum is actually a great way to study English! Reading about items on display helps us learn about the piece but we can learn new worlds at the same time. Plus, if you have trouble figuring out the meaning, the items on display can be used as a visual aid.  Before leaving we took turns taking pictures with the unique architecture.  We’ll be sure to visit again for the next special exhibition.

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Our teacher Nathaniel’s class goes on a field trip every Friday after class.  This week, they took a trip to South Street Seaport.  A short walk from campus, South Street Seaport is a historic district where Fulton Street meets the East River.  The neighborhood is home to some of the oldest buildings in downtown Manhattan as well as a variety of shops and restaurants. There’s also the South Street Seaport Museum, which showcases New York’s history as a port. Admission is free!

Our class took pictures with Lightship Ambrose and Wavertree, 2 of South Street Seaport’s historical ships.  The Lightship Ambrose was built in 1908 and served as a beacon for local shipping channels.  Wavertree was a cargo ship built in 1885 and it is the largest ship made of iron to float! From Pier 17, there are excellent views of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge.  

Our class in front of the Brooklyn Bridge~
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Another attraction close to New York English Academy is the National Museum of the American Indian. Only a 10 minute walk from our campus, the museum is situated between The Battery and the Charging Bull statue.  Even more convenient, entrance to the museum is free!  The museum is inside a former customs house built in 1907, so the architecture is stunning and impressive.  Inside, Native American art and artifacts, some dating back 12,000 years, are on display.  It was cool to see things that were made before the United States was even a country, as well as work from contemporary artists.  There are lots of exhibitions and new ones are added often, so students could easily come back for a fun visit.  

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With Halloween around the corner, the spooky season is in full swing.  We asked our students to tell us about Halloween in their home country. While some are similar to Halloween in NYC, others have different customs to honor the dead.  Keep reading to learn about Halloween around the world from NYEA students.

“China has a traditional festival to appease the souls of the dead. It’s called the Hungry Ghost Festival. It is said that the gates of hell will open at midnight on the 14th day of the 7th lunar month and hungry ghosts will be released to find food or take revenge. So, we need to prepare some food and light incense sticks to let them peacefully move into the afterlife”. – Wenjun, China

“In Korea, most people think that Halloween is a season for some theme parks or wearing costumes. In my opinion, Koreans don’t care about the afterlife on Halloween. It is just a party for them. However, there are some ceremonies honoring deceased ancestors in Korea that are called Charye. They usually proceed in the morning of Lunar New Year and Chuseok, which is the brightest day of the full moon in autumn”. – Soohee, South Korea

“In Ecuador, Halloween is not popular. However, we celebrate the day of the death. We make a special drink called ‘colada morada’ (spiced berry, with many fruits) and we drink it with sweet bread figures. We also go to the cemetery to visit the family members who passed away”. – Rosa, Ecuador

“In my country on Halloween night, children dress up in scary costumes. Then they ring the doorbells of the people living in their village. If a person opens the door, the kids ask: ‘Candy or a spell?’ As for me, I prefer to have a party with my friends; of course, we also dress up”. – Emma, France

Do you have similar Halloween traditions? And what international traditions would you like to take part in? 

Happy Halloween! 

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