Fun Facts about Leap Day

Some classes today learned about the importance of February 29th as Leap Day. Students found out that a Leap Year occurs every four years and is one day longer to ensure that the seasons are appropriately aligned with the calendar. In the process of learning about Leap Year, we learned some fun, and sometimes strange facts, about this day. 1)       People whose birthdays are on Leap Day usually celebrate the day before or after their real birthdays, but sometimes they friends and families joke with them. For example, when they turn 16, they might be given gifts for a 4-year-old instead of a 16-year-old. 2)      In the past, it was believed that people born on Leap Year had special talents and possibly, even special power. 3)      On Leap Day, there is a tradition that women are “allowed to” ask men to marry them. In most countries, it is traditional for the man to propose marriage, but Leap Day is an exception. 4)      Some families have won world records because they have had children who have all been born on Leap Days and all have the birthday of February 29th. The children were all born 4 years apart. 5)      This year, 2012, many countries are using Leap Day to recognize rare diseases. They are using today to fundraise and increase awareness about diseases without cures. As these facts show us, Leap Day is definitely an interesting event. And, in case you ever forget how many days there are during this Leap Year, just remember the simple rhyme taught to children in the U.S. “30 days has September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31, except February which has 28 days clear and 29 each Leap Year.”

Oscar Challenge Winners

As many of our students know, we were running a fun competition to see how many correct “picks” people could make for the Oscars during EC Miami’s Oscar Challenge. The Oscars, one of the most famous movie awards shows, are now over and we now know the winners. We would like to congratulate Damian and Beat for successfully picking 4 out of 6 possible categories correctly, the highest score among EC Miami students. The two winning guys have each won one movie ticket to a movie of their choice. The Oscar Challenge started last week and students had all week to make their choices for six categories: Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, and Director. Many students spent the week catching up on their movie-watching because they hadn’t seen all of the movies yet. Others started looking at reviews online and making predictions based on information from various websites. In the end, the winners were the Artist, Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Octavia Spencer (The Help), and Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist). Some of the winners were surprises, while others were expected. All in all, it was a fun competition and it got students talking about what movies they had seen and what movies they are now looking forward to seeing soon.

Chocolate Lecture Essay Contest Winner

EC Miami kicked off its lecture program last week on Thursday with a lecture by Nicoletta about the history of chocolate. The students who attended learned that lectures are not always boring things at university, but they can also be very interesting and a way to improve your listening skills. After speaking, Nicoletta challenged the attendees to use their lecture notes to write an article for our blog about fascinating or interesting facts that they learned about chocolate. We are happy to announce our winner – Omar from Italy – who has won chocolate. What a surprise prize! Omar’s winning article is titled: Looking for a happier life? Chocolate is the answer! Read the rest below, see the pictures on Facebook, and check the calendar for our upcoming lectures! Chocolate:” a name, a world success…known as the “food of Gods” in the Ancient Greece hundreds of years ago, nowadays it’s undoubtedly the sweetest temptation of millions people all around the planet. All of us probably eat it everyday, even without knowing its fascinating history and fantastic properties! In fact, the “cacao tree,” originally of South America, was discovered and use for the first time by the wealthy empire of the Aztecs (thousands of years ago). Only in the 1517 A.D. chocolate arrived in Europe thanks to the Spanish Hernan Cortes. At the beginning, it was a food for rish people only and it was quite fat! (about 50% of fat). IN addition, solely drinking chocolate existed. Fortunately, in the 1847, the first “chocolate bar” was created by the English company Fry & Son and from then on the chocolate-mania started. Over the last 150 years there have been lots of innovations and changes, so that now you can eat it in lots of different flavours and use it in lots of different … Read more

Outstanding English Speakers

EC Miami has decided to congratulate one person every week at our graduation ceremony for being an outstanding English speaker. We would like to recognize and show our appreciation to the person whom the staff believes has made a serious effort to speak English in all situations. From now on, this person will receive a gift certificate to a local business. Congratulations to our first two winners – Martin from Germany two weeks ago and Alex from Bulgaria last Friday! Martin is a great example of a person who worked hard to speak English all the time, even though he could have spoken German with his close friends. Alex is another good person to try to be like because he has no chance to use Bulgarian here, so he always challenges himself to speak English more and more. We know that it might be difficult to avoid speaking your native language with your friends here in Miami, but it is very important that you try to speak English at all times while you are here. After all, you’re here to learn English, right? For the first two weeks of our outstanding English speaker competition, the staff talked together and chose the winner, but from now on, we will be using a system similar to some of the other EC schools. Teachers will give tickets to students who they hear speaking English when they could be speaking another language outside of class. The tickets will be entered into a raffle and the winner will be chosen on Fridays. Keep speaking English and you could be our next winner!

EC Miami Beach Day

EC Miami students are so lucky! We are just a few blocks away from the beach and many of our students are there every day after class. Last weekend, to celebrate Nicoletta’s last weekend in Miami before she returns to Cape Town this week, we decided to have an EC Miami beach day with staff, teachers, and students. We met at a part of the beach near the school during the afternoon on Saturday and created an EC mini-village of beach towels. Everyone had a great time at the beach doing different activities. Some students preferred to soak up some sun rays, listen to music, and chill on the sand, while others headed to the water to play football and tackle each other in the waves. Many people brought snacks and drinks to try and share with the group and we had fun sampling other people’s goodies. Our group became a little nervous when the clouds started coming and there were a few raindrops, but we decided to wait for the bad weather to pass. When the sun disappeared, we found other ways to entertain ourselves.  The highlight of the beach day was definitely when members from our CPE class decided to reunite to do their Valentine’s Day dance again in a “flash mob” on the beach. The other people on the beach around us were very confused, but they seemed to enjoy it. Most importantly, the dance brought the sun back out! As the day came to a close some students were sad because they had to say goodbye to their good friend Santina who was leaving that evening to return to Switzerland. Santina is one of our original EC Miami students from the day that we opened and she had many good EC friends. It is going to be sad to say goodbye to … Read more

My Connection with the Maldivian Octopus

In a class assignment, Tatiana, one of our students, was asked to write about an incredible experience she has had in her life. Here is her story in her own words about her encounter with an amazing, underwater creature! “I would like to tell you about incredible experience that I had during one of my ocean diving safari trips. We had an common dive next to one of the  thousands paradise islands in Maldives. There were nothing special particularly  about this dive, and we were  already going come up when suddenly I noticed an eye staring at me intently among the corals. I  stoped flooting  and observed it patiently for a while. I guessed that it was octopai’s eye and realized that he also peering at me. Meanwhile, my fellow divers swam away from me. Usually octopai are interested in people but rarely  come out of the burrows. However, this was a special occurance. I was very surprised when the octopus slowly began to venture out  from the hole. In a few minutes  he was completely in my presence.  An amazing and spectacular show  began. Octopus moved on from one coral block to another.  It seemed to me that I could hear special music which was suitable to the creature’s  movement. The rhythm reminded me of Maldivian song that is very similar to Indian. The octopai’s flexible body transformed constantly. It  was smoothy then suddenly it became all with papuliferous like a verucca. He opalized  slightly  from one color to another. He  was just ashen in color like  burned coal and immediately became raspberry-red and purple like freshly harved beet-root. It was amazing to observe this performance. Suddenly, I felt so sorry for  this creature for my bad behavior in the past. I remembered an event that  happened  ten years ago. It was also in the Maldives during … Read more

Let’s go HEAT!

Last night, some of our students left “the beach” with Nicoletta and Reese and headed to downtown Miami to watch some NBA basketball. The Miami Heat played the Sacramento Kings at the American Airlines arena and won 120-108. Congratulations Miami! While the score might make you think that the Miami HEAT were the sure winners, this was definitely not true for the whole game. During most of the game the score went back and forth until the last quarter when the HEAT took over and started getting more and more points. Our students were able to see multiple dunks* by HEAT players and many three-point shots too! Most important of all, they were able to see one of the most famous NBA players – Lebron James. Before the game, some students purchased HEAT gear, such as team shirts and giant foam fingers. Many students said that they enjoyed watching the basketball, but they also liked being part of the atmosphere in the arena. Watching  an NBA game at the American Airlines arena can be overwhelming, but with the HEAT dancers, cheerleaders, a special DJ, competitions, and, even flames and fire, it was truly a unique experience. Students became part of the cheering section and shouted “Let’s go HEAT!” and they even got to do the wave.** For those students who didn’t get tickets to last night’s game, don’t worry! EC Miami has tickets to the March 7th game versus the Atlanta Hawks. Tickets for this game go on sale at the EC Miami front desk on March 2nd. Get here early to buy your tickets and make sure that you have cash. We only have a limited number of seats and the tickets sold out fast last time! To learn more about the Miami HEAT players and upcoming games, click here. To see more pictures, go to our Facebook page. If you … Read more

President’s Day and Fat Tuesday

Some of our students were very happy to have the day off yesterday to chill on the beach and relax in the sun. But, why was there no school yesterday? As many of you know, it was President’s Day, an American federal holiday. During Chill and Chat last week, the students who attended learned about the meaning of the day and discussed some history about U.S. politics and the presidents. They found out that President’s Day is meant to honor all former presidents, but this was not always the case. In the past, the holiday was specifically to remember George Washington, the first president of the U.S., who was born on February 22nd. Over time, the holiday began to include more presidents because two of the most famous presidents – Washington and Lincoln – were both born in the month of February. These days, there is not much of a “celebration” on this holiday, but many people enjoy a day off of work or school. Another holiday this week is today – it’s Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras in French. Many people know about Mardi Gras because of the famous Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but the celebration actually occurs in many countries around the world. It is not a very big holiday in Miami, but the nearby city of New Orleans in Louisiana, is famous for its colorful Mardi Gras parades. People who visit New Orleans or other cities celebrating Mardi Gras will see people dressed in bright colors and some may be wearing masks, feathers, and/or beaded necklaces. Historically, Fat Tuesday is a religious day and some Catholic countries continue to celebrate the day because it marks the last day before the start of Lent, but for other non-religious people, it is a big day to party! For more … Read more

Starting President’s Day Weekend with Full Bellies

We did it! We, 12 amazing EC Miami students, conquered the beastly Motherburger last night. Many of the students who attended the event yesterday are probably still full today and that fullness might continue throughout the long President’s Day weekend. The evening at Burgers and Beer started out with standard pitchers of beer and an appetizer that was new to many of our students- fried pickles. The new culinary treat was a welcome surprise and the table quickly devoured the greasy goodness. Many of the students were also delighted to learn that at this particular bar, you are allowed to write on the walls and tables. They started writing, “XYZ was here,” and other fun sayings on the walls, so that future visitors would know that EC Miami made its mark on the restaurant. Just as our stomachs started aching with hunger (because many of us had eaten very little in preparation for the main event), the Motherburger arrived… Flashing lights and banging pots accompanied the Motherburger parade as the EC group caught the attention of the entire restaurant and the Motherburger was carried to our table. We spent a lot of time taking photos of the massive meat patty and then the restaurant staff started to cut the burger with a saw, not a knife, a saw for cutting wood. See our video of the burger delivery and more photos of the event on Facebook. As the burger was sawed into 12 pieces, it was hard to believe the enormous size of each person’s individual burger slice. Our table got pretty silent as we started attacking our pieces. All in all, it was a great night and we were very proud that we managed to finish almost every bite. Some of our students claimed that they might want to attempt the real Motherburger challenge. This food eating test involves … Read more

Preparing for the Motherburger…

Burger and Beer Joint from Carlos Miller on Vimeo. At EC Miami we always love our food-related events. We have come together to try Cuban food and sushi and we are looking forward to many more of these delicious events. Next week is the South Beach Food and Wine festival and we anticipate that many of our food-loving students will check that out as well. Some of our students are especially eager for tomorrow evening when 12 of us will work together to conquer the Motherburger at a local burger and beer restaurant. What is the Motherburger, you may ask? I guess you’ll just have to keep reading!  According to the menu this burger is, “A ginormous beast the size of a manhole cover* and sandwiched in a bun that resembles a couch cushion!” This huge, approx. 10 pound burger can easily feed a crowd of people. There might even be leftovers! We are counting on our student team to keep their bellies empty for the next twenty-four hours in preparation for tomorrow’s feast. I don’t think we have any professional eaters in our group, so it will be a real challenge. You can definitely expect to see plenty of pictures later this week of us trying to eat the entire burger. Cheer us on from afar! Glossary: *manhole: a small covered opening in the pavement leading underground to a sewer or drain