This week Amanda, our lovely center director, has announced a new program at EC Miami called the Student Ambassador Program. This concept, which is already going on at some EC locations in other cities, invites some of our top students to become ambassadors of EC Miami. These students will try to increase school spirit, help with ideas for the blog and Facebook, run the welcome lunch and walk on Mondays and serve as sources of information and advice for new and current students. Throughout the week, Amanda has been interviewing candidates for this prestigious program and the official ambassadors will most likely be announced next week. To be an ambassador, a student must be in a high-intermediate level or higher and most speak English confidently. Additionally, this person should be very social, should want to promote EC Miami, and must be in Miami for at least one month. A huge benefit of participating in this program is that you will get to meet all of the new students first and you will also have many opportunities to speak English. After you have finished your time as an ambassador, you will receive a nice recommendation from the EC staff thanking you for all of your hard work. The EC Miami ambassadors will be chosen soon, so good luck to all of our interviewees and keep your ears out for our official announcement!
Some of our students (and teachers) have spent the past week making the trek to Key Biscayne to watch the Sony Ericsson tennis tournament. This event, which has been going on since the middle of March, brings many big tennis stars from around the world to Miami. Lucky for us at EC Miami, the event has still had many tickets available and many people were able to watch matches. Michelle’s class was able to attend the matches as a group on Thursday and they saw some of the women’s games. Before taking them to the sporting competition, Michelle went over some sports vocabulary with her students. Other students decided to go on their own and they decided to take public transportation quite a long way to get to the event location. Although all students said that they enjoyed themselves, some of them were very tired after long nights commuting back to Miami Beach from Key Biscayne. One of the most surprising matches in the tournament was between Andy Roddick and Roger Federer because Roddick unexpectedly won. Some Swiss students here were not too happy to hear about the loss. Despite winning in that round, Roddick, lost a later match. To sum up, no matter how students arrived at the Sony Ericsson event, they all had a good experience. We are sure that many of our students will be watching the final this Sunday, April 1st, which is the last day of the event. We love that there are so many exciting activities all around us here in Miami!
As promised, this post will give you more information about EC Miami’s Giving Back Day. If you don’t know about EC Miami’s Giving Back Day, click here. To volunteer and give back our time, EC Miami staff and students will be working at Villa Lyan – a school for differently-abled children. Villa Lyan is located in a part of Miami called the Hammocks, so participating in this event will give you an opportunity to see a new part of the city. At the school, there will be many possible projects and you will be able to choose whether you want to participate in work related to construction or work with children. If you decide to do construction work, you will most likely be helping the school with painting projects and/or unpacking boxes. If you choose instead to work with the children and their families you might be doing arts and crafts activities to encourage creativity and fun! EC Miami’s Giving Back Day is unique because we will be taking part in an event that is bigger than just our school. Volunteering at Villa Lyan is part of a project in Miami called City Serve. This project brings together people from all over the city to volunteer at many different locations on April 14th. Because of this, you will have many opportunities to speak English with native speakers and possibly meet friends from the Miami area because you will all be working together at the event. Another great thing about City Serve and Villa Lyan is that the event is open to everyone! Almost all of the EC staff and teachers will be there and we are also encouraging people to bring their friends, family members, boyfriends/girlfriends or anyone else who would like to help (and speaks English!). Make sure you …
As all of our staff, and most of our students, now know that EC Miami will be participating in a Giving Back Day. This day is important because we want to help our communities and volunteer our time. The special day will be on Saturday, April 14th from about 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and it is a great opportunity to practice your English while also helping people in the Miami area. This event is a worldwide EC project and all of the EC schools will be participating in their own way. Some schools are cleaning up the environment while others are offering free English classes to refugees in their areas. No matter what we are doing and where we are, all of EC will be coming together for this good cause. Almost all of EC Miami’s teachers and staff members will be participating in the event and we encourage you to participate too! You may have seen it written on our activity calendar in the “upcoming events” section and there is now a sign-up sheet in the front binder too. We would love to have as many students as possible participate because we will be working with students! EC Miami will be working at a school for children who have special needs. We will be doing a variety of tasks because the school is moving locations to a new building. Therefore, we will be doing everything from construction and clean-up to interacting with the students through art-related activities. Everyone will definitely be able to find something they enjoy doing on this special day. Keep reading our blog this week and next for more information about EC Miami’s location and the Giving Back Day. More is coming soon!
Every week on the activities calendar there is a small box in the corner that you might not notice, but it is very important. The box asks you to “like” us on Facebook, come read our blog (here!), and rate us on mylanguagetravel.com. You may not have heard about this website before, but it is a great place to go because it contains reviews of many language schools around the world, including us – EC Miami! This website is similar to yelp.com for restaurants ratings or tripadvisor.com for hotel reviews. You can rate EC Miami with a certain number of stars (hopefully a lot!) and write a review (hopefully positive!) about your time at EC Miami and in South Beach in general. These reviews can be very helpful for students who are deciding where they want to study in the world and which specific language school they want to attend within a city. In addition to writing your own review of EC Miami, you can also read what our previous students have written about us on My Language Travel. You could also read reviews about language schools in other cities around the world and see how amazing EC is worldwide. If you have some free time, log-on to My Language Travel and write your review. We want to know what you think of us because we want to make EC Miami as great as possible!
In Miami, we are lucky enough to live in a very international city that is largely influenced by Latin culture. To experience some Latin food and music, some of our students had a Noche Latina with Elisa last night. The group started the night on Espanola Way at Havana 1957 restaurant and tried various different Cuban foods, such as ropa vieja (shredded pork), yuca frita (a fried root vegetable), and mojitos (an amazing, Rum-mint drink). After trying Cuban flavors, the students headed to Mango’s Café on Ocean Drive to learn about Cuban music and dancing along with many other tourists to Miami. Although some students were hesitant about the Latin music at first, they eventually started dancing the night away. They may not have known how to salsa, but they were definitely creative with their dance moves. While our students are here to learn English, it is also important to embrace the Latin culture of Miami and to appreciate the bilingual atmosphere in our city. Noche Latina was a great way to see a side of Miami that was relatively unknown to some students, but a very important part of Miami’s heritage.
Many students at EC Miami often say that it is difficult to avoid speaking their own languages outside of class because they have the same native language as some of their friends. After hearing this from many students we have decided to give you a list of ways to ensure that you speak English as much as possible while you are here. 1) Find friends who are not from the same country as you (or the same language background as you). This is especially important because you want to be sure that you are not tempted to speak your native language in class or in the hallways at EC Miami. As everyone knows, EC has an English-only policy and the easiest way to obey the policy is by finding friends from other countries. Additionally, this helps you to meet people from all over the world and continue speaking in English with them by email or Facebook after you both leave Miami. 2) Attend as many EC activities as possible. All of the EC Miami events on our calendar are in English and there are many free events. If you want to practice general conversation, it is a great idea to come to Chill and Chat. During this event, students talk with an EC staff member in a relaxed setting about a fun topic and the goal is to speak as much as possible. Our events on the Fun Bus are also English only and you have the opportunity to meet students from other schools. Even coming to a beach soccer or volleyball event gives you the opportunity to continue speaking English while having fun on the beach. 3) If you have many friends who speak the same language as you, give yourselves a challenge to speak English for a certain …
Get ready for green shirts, hats, shoes, and even beer because St. Patrick’s Day is this Saturday, March 17. Many people do not understand why St. Patrick’s Day – a traditionally Irish holiday – is so popular in the U.S. The answer is that many immigrants to the U.S. in the past were from Ireland, so many Americans have Irish ancestors and heritage. On St. Patrick’s Day many cities in the U.S. have big parades and celebrations. In Chicago, they even dye their major river green! St. Patrick was actually a real person from Ireland who supposedly eliminated paganism* from Ireland. Many people today do not celebrate this transition when they go to parties on St. Patrick’s Day. Instead, St. Patrick’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate everything Irish and it’s an excuse for non-Irish people to drink a lot of Irish alcohol, such as Guinness. Some common symbols associated with the holiday are three-leaf clovers or shamrocks and leprechauns. Four-leaf clovers are thought to be lucky. Leprechauns are tiny, green, fairy-like men who supposedly protect pots of gold under rainbows. The pictures of them are usually of drunk men wearing green hats and many people like to dress up like them on St. Patrick’s Day. Although there is no big parade in Miami, there are plenty of Irish pubs with special bands and drink specials. Many students like to go to Drexel Pub on Espanola Way. Even if you are not Irish, it is a great opportunity to learn about a new culture and to have a few drinks too. *paganism: any religion that worships many gods, rather than one God
With all of this rainy weather in Miami lately it seems wet enough outside to swim on the flooding Miami Beach streets! Instead of heading to the beach today, many students took the opportunity to come learn about water sports in Florida, especially about scuba diving. Eric, our Upper Intermediate teacher, gave an interesting lecture about scuba diving and the students learned many funny and serious facts about this underwater sport. Eric told us about the best dive locations and about the beautiful and sometimes scary things that people can see when they dive, such as sharks! The highlight of the lecture was definitely when Eric volunteered one of the students, Omar, to put on the air tank. Amazingly, the air tank weighs almost 80 pounds or 36 kilograms and Omar definitely struggled to hold it on his back. Eric tried to convince Omar to put on the wetsuit too but the tank was more than enough! Although Eric tried to convince the crowd that scuba diving is safe, some people continued to be unsure. On the other hand, some students seemed eager to take a scuba diving course and start exploring the underwater playground while they are in South Florida. Check the blog next week to read more about Eric’s lecture from a student’s point of view. Remember that whenever there is a lecture, there is also a competition to write about the fascinating points you learned at the lecture. The winning article will be published here and the winner will get a sweet treat!
When students learn the perfect tenses for the first time, they can definitely be confusing. Once you know the basic rules about how to form the perfect tenses and how to use participles you can talk about some pretty silly topics. A fun activity in some of our classes is to play a game called, “Have you ever…?” During this game, students ask each other questions about things they have and have not done and they can also guess information about their classmates. For example, you could say, “I think Kyung Woo has never surfed.” Kyung Woo could reply, “You’re right! I’ve never surfed, but I have swum in the ocean.” In Mark’s class, they learned about the perfect tenses a while ago and they used some interesting questions to practice. As you can see from the picture they discussed, “Have you ever eaten frog’s legs?” We decided to ask some staff around EC Miami to use the perfect tenses and tell us whether they have ever eaten frog’s legs. We also asked them, “What is the most interesting thing they have eaten recently?” Here are their responses: Elisa – Academic Director: “I have never eaten frog’s legs, but I have eaten some interesting things. Although it wasn’t recently, I have had guinea pig. I ate it when I was in Peru.” David – Accommodation Coordinator: “Frog’s legs? No. The most interesting thing I have ever eaten is definitely iguana soup. That’s as crazy as it gets. I had it in Curacao awhile back.” What about you? What is the most interesting thing you have eaten recently? As you can probably see, we use the perfect tenses a lot in English, so it’s always good to practice. Next time you are talking to your EC friends start asking some perfect …