New Year, New Beginings

On January 7th, 2013, EC Miami will officially open its door for its second annual school since the inception of the school last year. A new year brings on a lot of new, fun, and exciting things. EC Miami is busy preparing for the arrival of our largest class till date. The empty classrooms and hallways will be overtaken by almost 100 new students from all over the world. Each of them, ready to learn a new language and take part in the American culture infusion in Miami Beach. Making a NYE (New Years Eve) resolution is a hard task for anyone, well at least keeping up with them.  The top 3 NYE resolutions in the US are: lose weight, save money, and lastly be happier.  What will be your New Year’s resolution? The EC Miami staff would like to wish everyone a Happy New Years!!!

EC Miami Library

On the first day that students arrive at EC Miami, we always give them a tour of the center and tell them that the EC Miami library is located inside of Elisa’s office, but many students seem to forget! Although our library is somewhat small, it is growing everyday as teachers and students bring in more books to add to the collection. If you want to borrow a book or DVD, all you need to do is sign it out and bring it back before you leave Miami.  We are open during the holiday too if you want to come visit us during your vacation and borrow one from us. If you want to donate a book, we would love to have your used ones! Why should you go to the library? Good question! The answer is that one of the best ways to expand your vocabulary and keep learning English outside of class is to read! You can ask any of your teachers and they will definitely say the same thing. Readers make good writers and reading is a great extracurricular activity. If you don’t know which book to read, you can always ask Elisa or your teachers for suggestions. We know that many students are reading books for Reading Circle with their teachers and these are good because they are appropriate for your level, but it’s always good to challenge yourself and read a “real” book too. So, borrow a book and read it beside the pool or the beach. Don’t worry about looking up every word. Just try to guess the meaning from the context and only look up words that are very important to understand the overall meaning. Miami is a perfect relaxing destination to read as much as you can in English!

99 Reasons to Shop at Lincoln Road.

    EC Miami is home to some of the best shopping in Miami Beach. The world famous Lincoln Road, a few footsteps away from EC Miami, is any shoppers’ dreams come true.  Lincoln Road offers a wide range of various shops from unique boutiques to large department stores like, Macy’s. Lincoln Road offers unique shopping, sidewalk cafes, bars, galleries, and fine dining. It is truly a place where anyone can find something to suite their own unique style. The latest additions on Lincoln Road have many shoppers even more excited this holiday season. Worldwide retailers, H&M and Forever21 have just opened their new locations on Lincoln Road. The multistory mini mall offers trendy clothing and apparel for both men and women. The new addition to the outdoor mall brings the total number of retail stores to a whopping 99 stores, not counting all the restaurants, galleries, and cafés on Lincoln Road. This gives a whole new meaning too the phrase, “Shop Till You Drop”!

The Port of Miami – Cruise Destination!

To continue with our goal of giving our EC Miami friends as many fun ideas for things to do during your holiday break in Miami, we wanted to tell you about the Port of Miami. The port is located in downtown Miami near Bayside and it is the location where many cruises depart for the Bahamas and other Caribbean destinations. Some of the large cruise companies that leave from the Port of Miami are Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Disney.  If you are anywhere along the bay in downtown Miami or at South Pointe park, you might see some of the enormous ships leaving or arriving into the port. Many of our students at EC Miami are eager to go on a cruise during their time here. EC Miami does not arrange cruises because the immigration laws are different for each student and visa type. Before you decide to go on a cruise, make sure that you talk to your embassy and consult Dipshika about the rules for you and your visa.  If you are okay to go, the next step is to decide where you want to go and for how long. There are many ways to search for possible cruises: you can go directly to the cruise line you are interested in or you can go to a third party site like Expedia or cruisedirect.com. Many of these websites allow you to search by the length of the trip or the destination. You should always make sure that the cruise is leaving from the Port of Miami because this is the closest place to you. Another good way to get a cheap price for a cruise is to go on standby. If you have a flexible schedule, you can show up on the day that a ship or multiple ships … Read more

Top 5 Things to do in Key West

Have you been to the beautiful Florida Keys yet? Many of our students look forward to going to Key West during their time in Miami, but not many EC Miami students know what to see or where to go when they get there. For example, many people think that there are long, beautiful beaches in Key West, but this is not really true. There is a beach, but this is not necessarily the city’s main attraction. Another important thing to remember about the Florida Keys is that it is about a 3 hour drive away. The best way to get there is by renting a car if you want to stay for a few days or by taking our tour with Half Price Tours. If you decide to take the bus tour, you can always rent a scooter or bikes when you arrive in Key West to get around. There are many things to do in Key West but here are the five most popular things according to the EC Miami staff. 1) Go to the Southernmost Point. This is the place that is the most south in the U.S. There is a special location that has the distance to Cuba and many people go to get their pictures with this sign. 2) Go to watch the sunset at Mallory Square Dock. This dock has a sunset celebration every night with performers, art, and music. The sunset from Key West is a beautiful site. 3) Go to Duval Street and bar hop or try one of the many restaurants. Duval Street is famous for being a party street in the evening and you will definitely meet some fun people and find some exciting bars and dance areas. 4) Go to Ernest Hemingway’s house. Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West for awhile and loved … Read more

Holiday Vocabulary

We know that Christmas is now over, but there are still some remaining holiday celebrations the rest of this week and for New Year’s. To help you understand some things about American holiday traditions we wanted to give all of our EC Miami friends some vocabulary related to the season. Here are just a few important and/or interesting words to know at this time of year. 1) Stocking – The sock that children traditionally hang near the fire place. According to some Christmas traditions, this red-colored sock is filled with small gifts and chocolate by Santa. 2) Carolers – People who go from house to house in a neighborhood and sing holiday songs such as “Jingle Bells.” This activity used to be more popular in the past than it is now, but some people still do it to make people smile and “spread good cheer.” 3) Menorah – This is a candle holder used for the Jewish holiday called Hanukkah. People who celebrate Hanukkah light a candle for each night of the holiday and exchange gifts. There are some large menorahs around South Beach, such as the one near the entrance to the MacArthur Bridge at 5th Street. 4) Ornaments – These are the decorations that are put on the Christmas tree. Families often put various types of decorations such as colorful balls, stars, and fragile ornaments with some personal significance, such as a basketball for a sports fan. 5) Nutcracker – This is the name of a famous Christmas ballet, but it is also a name for a small statue. This small statue looks like a little soldier and he often sits as a decoration around the houses of many Americans, but Nutcrackers are also useful. They have a special lever in their back that goes up and down so when you put a … Read more

Christmas in Miami

We know that our students at EC Miami are from all over the world and celebrate many different holidays, but because it’s Christmas Eve we wanted to write a fun post giving information about how Christmas in Miami is different from Christmas in the rest of the U.S. You may know some of these reasons, but keep reading to find out about some traditions in the Sunshine State. 1)       It doesn’t feel like Christmas. Today is Christmas Eve 2012 and it is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and there is definitely no Frosty the Snowman. But, that makes it special because you can go to the beach instead of going skiing! 2)      Palm trees can be Christmas trees too. Although many Floridians get traditional Christmas trees for their homes, many parks and pedestrian streets have their palm trees decorated. Sometimes you can even see a traditional tree and a lighted palm tree right next to each other. 3)      We use fake snow instead of real snow. If you come from a cold country and are missing seeing the white snowflakes, you can go to a place like Dolphin Mall for the nightly “snowfall”. The mall has an hour every night when fake snow falls from the ceiling to make it seem more Christmas-y. 4)      Some people decorate their houses with holiday lights, but more often Miamians choose to decorate their boats. Every year in December Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and other coastal cities have boat parades to show their Christmas lighted boats. The boats sometimes play music and have Santa figures on them too! 5)      We have “Santa’s Enchanted Forest.” While most Northern states in the U.S. are snowed in, we are not, so we have a festival every year that goes from around Thanksgiving to New Year’s. This fair has outdoor … Read more

Cookie Swap at EC Miami

Last week on Friday to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season and the end of classes at the school for two weeks, EC Miami held a cookie swap. This American holiday tradition involves bringing in your favorite type of cookies (baked or bought) and then swapping then and sharing them with your friends. During break, we had a large variety of cookies set up in the student lounge and everyone got to try many different flavors. It looked like our students and teachers were better buyers than bakers, but we still were happy to have cookies. We also had student DJs help to choose the music for the celebration, which included a lot of Mariah Carey holiday songs! To make things more interesting, we decided to have students vote for their favorite type of cookie. There were almost 12 different choices with a table full of chocolate, sugar, chocolate chip, cinnamon, and more! In the end, our smiley teacher, Lynnette won with her delicious cookies. She deserved an extra prize too because of her awesome holiday hat that said she was “naughty.” We disagree though because she is great! The cookie swap was a great way to start the holiday season and many of our students left for the day with stomach aches from eating so many sweet treats!

EC Miami’s Spicy Sauce Challenge!

Yesterday, EC Miami students were put to the ultimate test. The EC Miami staff wanted to see which one of our international students can stand up to the Miami Heat!! EC’s, Dipshika Karki and 11 EC Miami students went to lunch at LIME on Lincoln Road for an introduction on Mexican tapas. Students ordered various platters featuring burritos, tacos, salads, wraps, and non stop chips & dip. LIME, features a variety of sauces ranging from the mildest of mild to scorching hot sauces; some which are banned for retail sale. Student’s tried different sauces to test their limits and while most of the students came out as winners in the “spicy sauce challenge”, some students were running for the water pitcher. Did you know? There is a sauce called D-7 hot sauce, which can burn through meats. These  sauces are made from the hottest chili peppers on earth! Most people may not know this, but when consuming spicy food- water usually makes matters worst. The trick is to drink milk or eat bread to reduce the burning. New research shows that eating spicy foods, within limits, may actually be good for your health.

Baby Marcus Brings Holiday Bliss to EC Miami!!!

Look who decided to stop through the EC Miami Language Center – Baby Marcus! Amanda Ross-Gomez, Center Director, has been out of the office awaiting the arrival of her new baby, Marcus. Today, she and the little bundle of joy strolled into the office bringing joy and excitement to all the EC Staff and the students. The little 12 week old baby brought along many smiles and some delicious oatmeal cookies for everyone to share. We wish Amanda and her newest addition a Happy Holiday Season. The EC Miami staff is excited for the return of our center director, Amanda, after the holidays.