Does anyone know what the acronym MBPD stands for? If you guessed Miami Beach Police Department, you are correct! Today, Captain Mark Causey of the MBPD came to EC Miami to talk to students from the CAE, FCE, and Upper Intermediate classes at EC Miami. He answered many of our questions and we all learned a lot! For more pictures check out our Facebook page. Captain Causey told us all about the units of the police department in Miami, including the Segway unit and the police boats. Students asked questions about the tops crimes in Miami and were not too surprised to find out that theft happens most frequently in this city. Other students were interested to know about the officer’s personal experiences while on the job. We were shocked to find out that he has been shot, stabbed, and even shocked by a taser while at work. He also showed us videos of a high speed chase he was involved in and it was very exciting. The Captain also told us some useful information (for all of the Miami partiers) about the legal blood alcohol level. We even learned a trivia fact about beer bottles – green bottles contain the highest alcohol content. Finally, he did a demonstration with one of our teachers, Reese, about how to test if someone is drunk when they are pulled over by an officer. Don’t worry; she passed the test! We all left with some valuable information about how to keep safe at night and what to do if we are in a bad situation. On a day-to-day basis, Captain Causey reminded us to be friendly to police officers and remember that even though they arrest people and carry guns, they are regular people with families and bills and it’s nice to wave …
As part of our monthly lecture series, Mark spent this afternoon teaching some of our students about the basics of baseball. For many students who study in the U.S., this sport is the most foreign and sometimes most confusing to understand. Mark tried to make it easier for EC Miami students to appreciate the very American sport. During this lecture, he showed the group a baseball and talked about the speed of the pitches. He also went over the positions and the ways to score points through homers (i.e. home runs). The concept of strikes was easy for most of the students to understand, but balls required a longer explanation. Mark also educated the students about some of the most famous players in baseball history, such as Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth. He talked about the best teams in MLB, but it became a bit of a contest. Mark loves the Miami Marlins, but Eric loves the New York Yankees and a heated debate continued for a few minutes. All of the students left the lecture with a little more information about the sport. We don’t know if they are ready to pick up a bat and glove and start playing, yet but they might be able to watch a Marlins game on television. If we are lucky we might even try to get some tickets to the see the Marlins in their new stadium soon, so keep watching the blog, Facebook, and the activities calendar!
On Tuesday, a small group of EC students gathered at the Wine Depot near Jefferson and 6th street in South Beach to try out some French white wines. The free wine tasting event happens every Tuesday from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and it is a great chance to socialize in a calm, sophisticated atmosphere and to try wines from around the world. We were lucky enough to try the French wines with one of our French students, Rachel. She, as well as the wine experts, told us about the Alsace region in the Northeast part of France where this specific type of wine is produced. We were able to try a Pinot Blanc, a Reisling, and the famous Alsace wine itself. All students had different opinions of the wines, but everyone agreed that the most famous wine was definitely the sweetest. The wine expert told some of our guy students that the best way to win over a woman is to give them the sweet Alsace wine. We don’t know if it would actually work, but it was a funny suggestion! Even if you don’t like French white wines, the Wine Depot wine tasting is a great event because they show different wines every week. You can call ahead on a Monday to make a reservation and to find out what type of wine from which region they will be trying on Tuesday. The number is: 305-672-6161. If you don’t want to attend the tastings, there is also a restaurant patio outside to relax in and a huge selection of wines in the store portion of the Wine Depot. Check it out and let us know what you think or ask any of our students who attended the tasting this week for more information!
At EC Miami, we always hold Pronunciation Clinic on Tuesday afternoons and it is a great opportunity to have a free class and learn about the sounds in English. While some of you do come to the clinic, others of you are busy sunbathing at the beach. We understand that Miami Beach has plenty of distractions from learning English, but pronunciation is still important if you want native speakers to understand what you are saying. So, even if you don’t have time to spend 45 minutes at the clinic, you can spend 5 minutes reading our 5 quick pronunciation tips here! 1) If you have trouble pronouncing the [h] sound, the best trick involves a piece of paper. Hold the paper in front of your mouth and say the word “horse.” If the paper moves, you are saying the sound correctly. You can also do this with your hand; you have to feel breath on your hand. It is important that you blow air out of your mouth to make the [h] sound. This is especially important for all of you French speakers! 2) If you have trouble pronunciation the [th] sound, look in mirror. You must be sticking out your tongue to say the sound correctly. Put your tongue between your teeth and blow out. If you spit a little too, that is actually a good thing! This is an important tip for many different languages, but especially for German speakers. Watch this video for more information about tips 2 and 3: Th Pronunciation Video. 3) Just to confuse you more, there are two different [th] sounds. There is the sound of the word [think] and the word [this]. You stick your tongue out for both sounds, but one is voiced and the other is unvoiced. To find out …
EC’s Giving Back Day might be over, but there are always more possible opportunities to volunteer and contribute to the community. This weekend is especially a good time to volunteer for the environment because it is Earth Day. This Saturday, Jenny will be leading any interested students on a beach clean-up starting at 2:30 p.m. and continuing for a few hours. In Miami, most of us spend a lot of our free time on the beach and it’s never nice to sit on a dirty beach. So, instead of sunbathing this weekend, why not spend a few hours, making the beach look nicer for the next time that you go there?! In addition to beautifying the beach landscape by picking up trash, the group of volunteers may also be working on dune restoration. Dunes are the sand piles near the back of the beach and it is important to keep them in their natural states. Another advantage of attending this event is that, similar to last weekend, it will not only be EC students attending. The event is free and open to the general public, so there will be many opportunities for you to interact with native English speakers in the area. If you are interested in attending the Earth Day beach clean-up, sign up at the front desk by Friday afternoon. We look forward to seeing you there!
Some EC Miami students spent last night at Abraxas Lounge with Michelle trying to see how many trivia facts they knew. Abraxas Lounge, a cool bar near 4th street on Miami Beach, has trivia nights every Tuesday and EC had a few teams entered in the competition yesterday. Although the questions were difficult, one of our teams got fourth place! Questions were from many different categories and some students said they were too difficult. A few people said that the questions would have been easier for Americans. For example, one question about the NBA asked the bar participants which conferences have not yet determined which teams will be going to the basketball playoffs. It was hard enough for students to think of all of the basketball conferences! Other questions were about different topics, but it was a great challenge and a way to practice listening skills and team work while having a few beers too. The fourth place team was happy to be the winner of the EC groups, but some students claimed that that team had an advantage because one of its members was EC Miami teacher, Michelle. We don’t know if it’s true, but Michelle is originally from England, so I doubt she knew the NBA answer either! Today, we are looking forward to watching an NBA game ourselves as EC Miami attends the Miami Heat vs. Toronto game this evening. The Miami Heat team is already in the playoffs, but it will still be an exciting game. Look for pictures of the action on our Facebook page tomorrow!
Today was Gogi’s birthday as you may have noticed from the videos on our Facebook page. Gogi turned 23 today and was kind enough to bring everyone yummy donuts for a break time snack. While Krispy Kremes are one of Gogi’s favorite sweet snacks, for lunch he has another recommendation for his EC friends. For his FCE class, Gogi wrote this review of one of his favorite lunch and dinner time spots called Nexxt. Many friends in Switzerland advised me to go to the Nexxt Restaurant on the Lincoln Road. It’s not a restaurant where there is only one national specialty. Nexxt is famous for very big salads and a huge assortment of dishes. In Nexxt you will find everything, from pizza and pasta to salmon and lobster. I was there in my first week because it’s located just five minutes-walk from the school in the direction to the sea. I really like the location because it is very central and I like the large selection of dishes because I can make myself comfortable, and then decide what I want to eat. The restaurant is very popular and especially in the evening there are many people and sometimes you must wait for a free table. Especially then it’s very noisy and hectic and sometimes a waiter bumps you when he is running around your table. Perhaps that is the reason why the service is so fast. The price is fair because most of the dishes are very big, delicious and well served. My favorite dishes are salmon for $15 and also the two lobsters for $30. Pizzas and big salads cost about $15. I recommend going to eat there because it is not much money for really good food.
Our Giving Back Day at Villa Lyan on Saturday was a huge success. We were SO happy that our students, staff, and teachers woke up early and braved the pouring rain for this good cause. We spent the day working with other volunteers in Miami on a city-wide community project called City Serve and we met some amazing locals who were also volunteering their time. Our day was filled with priming the walls of a special needs school and beginning to paint as well. In addition to the manual labor, we were able to meet some of the differently-abled children at the school and interact with them over lunch and arts and crafts. We asked some of our student participants to tell us what they thought about the day. Here are their opinions, in their own words about the volunteer opportunity. Rachel, France In all the EC schools across the world, this day was special because we can do something for the others as volunteers. So that, here in Miami, I experienced the way how Americans people helped each other and it was really interesting because it’s not the same in my country. We painted the walls in a school for disabled children. So we gave them a little of our time and our modest contribution for them and their parents. There were a lot of people and we painted all together and we shared some sandwiches, chips, candies,… I came with my friend and her 4 years old daughter. The little girl made some art crafts with other kids and I think that it was an interesting experience for her too. I encourage every student to experience that special day in an EC school. Olga, Russia The giving back day was the most unexpected experience during my studying at …
It’s time to meet our final student ambassador Goran (Gogi) from Zurich, Switzerland. Gogi, who is studying to take his FCE exam in June, is very active at many student activities and he speaks many languages because of his Swiss and Serbian background. Let’s find out more about Gogi now! Why did you choose to study in Miami? I’ve chosen Miami because the weather is always so nice and warm here and you can go to the beach every day. What do you like best about the city? I like the Latin flair here because everything is more relaxed and you meet many different nationalities. What interested you about becoming an EC Miami Student Ambassador? I see this as a very good opportunity to meet new students and speak more English. What is your #1 recommendation for new students at EC Miami? I advise to visit all the school activities because it is a good way to meet students from other classes.
Some EC Miami students claim that they have difficulty finding fast cheap food options in the area. While we love Shake Shack, it’s always nice to try different options in the area. According to one of our students, Sandro Angeli, the best place to eat close to the school is Lime. Read his restaurant review below to find out more about this local place. I tried Lime for the first time a few weeks ago. Lime is a small Mexican restaurant where you can eat excellent food. It’s a kind of fast food restaurant. You order your meal and just get a panel with a number on it first. The waiter then brings your order to you when the meal is ready. The waiters are polite and very helpful if you have questions. On the menu there are different Mexican dishes such as Burritos or Fajitas. I recommend one of the Burritos because you get a tasty meal for a fair price. In general the prices are reasonable and they are between 8$ and 15$ per person. You will find Lime at 14th and Alton. Because of this, it’s just three blocks away from EC. From the outside it doesn’t look very nice but the food is delicious and there are about 50 different salsa sauces for you to choose between. I suggest this restaurant to everybody who likes Mexican food and I’m sure I will go to Lime a few more times.