New York English Academy Rookie blog

At the Embassy September 30, 2014

So you have decided to study in the United States. You picked a language school, filled out the application, arranged the dates of your classes, and made a payment. And after few weeks, you received your I-20 form. Now it is time to go to your embassy and apply for the F1 (student) visa. Please remember, neither PCTECH nor any other language schools can guarantee that you will be granted a student visa. It all depends on you, on documents you provide, and sometimes on an official who will interview you. One of my friends once told me that the process is like a lottery: you can’t predict the result.

However, the more you prepare, the more opportunities you will have for success. I remember my interview at the embassy. Before my visit there, my travel agent had given me a list of questions I could be asked and carefully checked all my documents. I studied all the questions, and prepared an answer for each of them. My documents seemed to be in good order. Basically, your documents have to prove that you will return to your country after the completion of your program. As for the questions, the most common included regard the length of your program and your decision to study in the United States.


            Also, being nervous before the interview is absolutely normal, even if you have prepared very well. I was very nervous before my interview. My parents and I came early because we were told that it might be very crowded. And yes, it was very crowded. People were standing outside hours before their scheduled interviews. I had to wait for two hours before I was called. To my surprise, the official who interviewed me asked me only two questions: “For how long a time am I going to be the U.S.?” and “Where am I going to stay while I am there?” Altogether I spent about three minutes in front of him before I was granted a visa. I was surprised and, of course, very happy.

However, I want to warn you that my example does not mean that the process of getting your visa is very easy. It was so in my case, but your experience may be completely different. So be prepared, study the questions, and make sure you have all the required documents.

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

Arriving on Time September 25, 2014

Staff member Tamila shares some ideas about punctuality:

My mom has always told me that I am totally my grandmother’s personality.  And she is right. There are many traits that she and I share in common.  And one of these things is that we hate being late.  My grandmother used to come to school/college/work/appointment/date always on time and sometimes a little bit earlier.  And for me, it is better to come super-early than to come late.  Of course, it does not mean that I don’t have days when I am late to somewhere: anything can happen – accident, emergency, sleeping over, hangover, etc.  Moreover, being late when you have a date is normal (I usually go on dates on time – just saying), and being accidentally late (not every day though) is also normal for me.  However, when you have a school, job, or professional meeting, it is always better to plan ahead in order to not be late.


Here at PCTECH, your attendance is very important.  You have to be at the class no less than 80% of the total length of your program.  Coming late three times is considered one absence.  So it is very important be on time. The commute in New York City, as in almost any big city is…hmm…difficult at best (let’s be honest).  In the mornings, trains are packed and buses and cars get stuck in endless traffic. However, everything is not that bad.  Among the all types of transportation, the NYC subway is the most convenient.  It usually comes on time and it does not get involved in street traffic, of course. So if you want to be on time, it is better to choose this type of transportation.  For those who live in New Jersey, I suggest not taking a bus or driving to New York City, especially in the morning – the traffic is very heavy. It is better to take a NJ transit train (you can choose between express and local routes), because it departs and arrives almost always on time.  In total, it will take about 30 (express) to 50 (local) minutes to get to New York City, depending on where you live. So the trains can be very convenient.

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

What Could a Cat Be Thinking? September 24, 2014

Ernest from France has been coming to PC TECH every autumn for the past three years to improve his English skills.  His writing has become more and more interesting.  Here is his imaginary account of Madchat the cat’s dream vacation.

My name is Madchat.  I live in Brooklyn with Sara and I’m her cat.  Yesterday, at the end of the afternoon, Sara invited two friends, Helen and Beatrice, [to her home].  They were speaking about their plans for a vacation and their favorite countries and places they would like to visit.  It was a busy conversation which went back and forth between their dreams and reality.  They were excited.  They spoke about the distant countries whose languages I had never heard spoken before, like Malay, Indonesian, Japanese, Mongolian, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, and the beautiful landscapes [of those countries].              They were talking as they were drinking tea and eating small cakes.

“We could swim in the clear and deep ocean.  We could spend time lying on the warm sand, drinking delicious ice-cold fruit juice,” said Sara.

“We could walk up mountains and look at the sunset.  It’ll be so romantic!” said Helen.  “We could visit several museums and taste local foods.  It’ll be so exciting!” said Beatrice.

“But what will you do, Sara, and who will take care of him while we’re traveling?” asked Helen, looking at me.

At this time, I feel down because I don’t want to stay alone while they are having a good time.  I’m becoming depressed!

I shall suggest to them that we stay in the USA together.  It’s be fine for me because there are a lot of places to visit, and it’ll be nice to [take a trip] with these tall, attractive young women.  Cool, isn’t it?


[Ernest doesn’t explain to us how the cat Madchat will speak to the women, so we have to use our imaginations too!  -Editor]

Your PC TECH teacher will help you correct writing errors and offer suggestions for improvement.

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

Category : Student Essays

New York is an amazing city, one of the most beautiful in the world, and while some natives brag that they have never left it, there are many great places outside the five boroughs to explore.

A fascinating part of travelling through U.S. cities is that you can hear different accents; depending on the region you are in, people will speak differently with a thick accent. By exploring outside New York you will be able to learn more about these accents and find out if you can tell the difference between each area. Let’s look at three cities with easy travel options from NYC that offer amazing experiences and test your ears.

Freedom Trail in Boston, Massachusetts

You will notice that those who speak with a Boston accent usually have a silent “r” sound or no “r” sound at all. However, there is more to Boston than just its accent. Here you can visit a few amazing places such as the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile path through downtown Boston with 16 sites that are significant to early U.S. history. Also, if you love art, Boston is home to the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts; both great ways to learn more about U.S. culture and practice your English.


Category : American culture

The New York English Academy is moving to a new location, and what better place to move to in Manhattan than the Financial District. This historic area was famous through the 19th and 20th centuries as a home for traders, office workers, and some of the city’s most important financial institutions. Even today, many of the world’s biggest corporations and law firms have their headquarters here.


Shopping in New York September 19, 2014

Staff member Tamila blogs about how to save money when you shop in New York City:

Shopping in New York City can be a lot of fun. The variety of stores is fascinating. You walk on these streets and gaze into these beautifully decorated showcases. You might spend the whole day checking out the stores, buying those awesome clothes that you may never find in your own country. Then you return home, look at your shopping bags, check your bank account, and realize that you actually had spent a little bit more than you were initially planning to. But some clothes could cost you much less if you went somewhere else. So what if I tell you that I can give you few tips that can help you to save a good amount of money? Wow, right! I am sure you want to know that, so here they are:

  1. Use It will allow you to buy many things with really good discounts.
  2. Try shopping in stores like T.J. Maxx, Uniqlo, H&M, or Marshall’s where you can find almost everything you need. The good thing about these shops is that you can buy famous-brand clothes for really cheap prices.
  3. Plan shopping on specific dates. We all love holidays. Nothing feels better than having family and friends over for dinner and days off from work. However, another good thing about holidays that will make your heart melt is called “SALE!” Most stores begin their sales a few weeks prior to holidays, so you actually have plenty of time to pick the stores you want to visit and check what they have on sale. For example, last year I bought Michael Kors jacket on sale for only $60 (the original price: $219). The biggest discount sales are usually before and after July 4th, Thanksgiving, Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving and the most crowded), Christmas, and New Year.
  4. Take advantage of a store’s promotions. For example, shoe store DSW  often has promotions like “Buy one pair and get a second with 20/30/50% off.”
  5. If you need to buy electronics (computer, TV, tablet, etc.), check Best Buy. Their prices are very affordable, especially compared with other stores (and the service is also good!)
  6. Have you heard about If not, then you must have come from the moon or another planet! You are unique, because everyone knows what Amazon is! In short, Amazon is a very popular online store, where you can buy anything you can want. The good think is that you can find a lot of great stuff for very low prices! Plus, if you are not a big fan of shopping, you will definitely like the idea of buying things without the need of leaving the house.


These are a few pieces of advice that I hope will help you to shop, saving some money and time. I am sure that you will find at least one of these ideas useful, especially if you are a big shopping fan like me. Good Luck!

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

Close your eyes and picture this: you have arrived in Manhattan and have started attending classes at New York English Academy. You know the easiest way to travel from your new home to the school’s new headquarters in the city’s Financial District, and you feel that the cultural shock you first experienced is gone. In class, you make some friends and have enough time to get to know who everyone is. The first part of your English-learning journey in New York City is over. Now, you can start making this exciting experience into something truly unforgettable.

What you have just read can be very easy, but you really need to do your homework, not just for class, but also homework about the city and what it offers.


How Many $$$ to Bring to NYC? September 10, 2014

PC TECH staff member Tamila offers her suggestions for your time in New York City:

How much money should you bring with you when you come to the United States?  This question concerns many people who are planning to come to America.  Of course, the more you bring, the better!  Speaking practically though, using some simple calculations will help you to estimate how much money you will need during your stay here.

  1. The first thing that you should keep in mind is where you are planning to live.  The amount of rent depends on what part of New York you want to live.  Rent is much higher in Manhattan, on average costing you around $2000 for a one-bedroom apartment.  In Brooklyn and Queens, the same type of apartment could cost you somewhat less.  If you go even farther, for example to New Jersey, the rent will often be even lower, averaging around $800-$950 per month for the same size apartment).  Consider the option of living with a roommate: this way you will save even more.
  2. If you decide to live in NYC, there is no need to buy or rent a car, since public transportation here is very convenient.  Besides, the idea of spending hours in constant traffic would probably not sound attractive to you (unless you would love to spend half of your day in your own car!).  Buy a monthly MetroCard for $112 and use it as many times as you want!
  3. The food in New York City can be relatively cheap, based on my experience.  However, the money you spend on it will depend on what type of food you choose.  For example, eating fast food (caution: unhealthy, not recommended!), such as hamburgers and French fries; will cost you around $200-$300 per month.  Eating better quality food will cost you around $500 per month. Your choice.
  4. A mobile-phone connection is very important, especially nowadays. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on it, simply buy a prepaid card that will cost you around $40-$60 a month.
  5. Now we have come to a very important topic: CLOTHING!  Here in New York, all of us are lucky.  Compared to other countries, clothes in the United States are very affordable.  If you want to save money, you might want to compare prices at stores like Century 21, Aeropostale, H&M, and JC Penney.
  6. Regular spending: let’s add extra money that you may spend on things like a haircut, gym membership, entertainment, etc.  This is may be additional $80-$100 or more a month.
  7. Other expenses may include money that you might spend on different activities, such as visiting museums or dining at restaurants (don’t eat at fancy ones very often though!).


Knowing how much money you might spend on each of these items can help you to calculate how much you should bring when you come to the United States. Hope this information helps!

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

A Court Game and a Board Game September 4, 2014

Ona is a Level 2 PC TECH student, an American citizen whose heritage is Lithuanian.  She writes about one of her favorite interests:

I would like to tell you about a small country in eastern Europe.  This country is called Lithuania and is one of the three Baltic States, [the others being] Latvia and Estonia.  They are small countries, with Lithuania having the largest population of the three, about three million.

It is hard to find anyone in the country who doesn’t like basketball.  Some are really  crazy about it!

I am not an exception.  When I lived in my country, I [used to] watch every game.  After each game, we discussed – at home and at work – all the players, how they played, and all mistakes that they made.

My favorite games were when they played the Russians.  It was not only to win a game, it was prestige to beat the Russians.  [Russia has always had a powerful basketball team. –Editor’s note]  After the game, the whole country would celebrate with the players!


Flavio from Spain describes a more sedate game:

At this time [in my life], I don’t play video games, but when I was a child, I [used to] play with some friends.

Nowadays I prefer to play board games.  I play several kinds of games: strategy, knowledge, memory, etc.

My favorite board game is Risk.  This games is about the conquest of several territories.  One of the highlights of Risk is how you can use your creativity to design your strategy:  You shouldn’t show your main intention, so you don’t reveal your real strategy.

To win territory from your opponents, you will use the dice.  This is fun because the opponents you have attacked will try to attack you in return.

Another thing that I like so much is the end of the game because I have [already] prepared dinner [Flavio enjoys cooking. –Editor] and we have a couple of beers.  Good things!

           PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

Category : Student Essays

Life’s Challenges September 3, 2014

PC TECH student Flavio writes about his “Half Marathon”:

I have always been a person for whom [engaging in] sports isn’t a strong point.  But two years ago, my doctor told me that I had high cholesterol.  He blamed my habits as the catalyst of my bad cholesterol.  So I had to change my habits to good ones.

He suggested that I eat healthier and have a more active lifestyle.  If I wanted to solve my problem, I had to be more active.

At that moment, I promised my best friend that I would be able to run to his home.  My home and his are separated by about 21 km.

At the beginning, this challenge seemed like a fantasy because I couldn’t run more than three kilometers.  Then I read some advice and I used my best “weapons”; two months after, I could run 16 km.  So I decided to try my challenge.

My first 15 km were fine, but the next seven were harder.  I did not have much strength and my body was at its limit.  Yet my mind began to tell my body, “Come on!  Let’s go!  You can!  Go ahead!”

In the end, I could [run to] my friend’s home.  This was the biggest challenge of my life!


A different kind of challenge is described by Anton:

When I was a child, I studied some years of English.  But at that time, I was not really interested in learning another language; it seemed too difficult to me.  I had always preferred to study other [subjects] like science, computers – or to [take part in] sports, especially swimming.

After some years, I understood why I must learn English.  The major reason is my career.  I study computer engineering, and I need to know English for that.  Last year I needed to take an exam to finish my career preparation the [following year].  Fortunately I passed!

[Since then] I have chosen to continue studying English because I want to improve.  I think that I still need more English.  For example, if I want to travel around the world, I need English.

Another reason that makes me interested in continuing study is the cinema.  I love the movies and I prefer to watch them in their original languages; that is always better.  However, it’s still difficult for me to understand all the dialogue.  I put on the English subtitles and that really helps me.

So I’ll continue studying English because I have enough reasons to improve every day.

           PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

Category : Student Essays