Labor Day and the End of Summer

Today, August 31, is the last day of the month but also the final day of the summer months. Many schools for children in Miami have already started classes and many of our EC Miami students are leaving us to go home to their countries to start university in their countries in the fall. On Monday, we will not have classes because of an American holiday called Labor Day. Many people think of this holiday as the “end of summer” holiday, but it also has a meaning. Some people get confused because “labor” has a similiar meaning to “work,” so they don’t understand why people don’t work on Labor Day. Actually, Labor Day is a holiday which celebrates the success of American workers, so it gives workers the day off. Although the exact meaning is related to work, many people think of the holiday in different ways. For some Americans, it is the day that tells them that the American football season is about to start. For other fashionable people, they might think that it is the last day to wear the color white because white it a summer color. (This is not really true in Florida. People wear white all year because it’s always hot). To learn more about Labor Day and other U.S. holidays join Elisa on Thursday at 2:45 for Chill & Chat next week. Enjoy your day off and be safe!

Movies Filmed in Miami

Today, we wanted to show the movie, “The Bird Cage” to give students an opportunity to improve their listening skills. This funny movie has many scenes which are filmed in South Beach, especially near the hotels in the Art Deco District. In fact, many movies are set in Miami and its a fun idea to watch movies that show places you might know in Miami. Here is a list of a few movies (in no particular order) that were filmed in Miami. 1) 2 Fast 2 Furious – This movie is part of the Fast and the Furious movie franchise. It is about a group of people who like to race cars. A few scenes in the movie were filmed in Key West and on the famous Seven Mile bridge in the Florida Keys. 2) Ace Ventura: Pet Detective- This is another movie that is part of a serious of movies. These comedies starring Jim Carrey were very popular in the 1990s and this particular movie was set in many locations through Miami including Villa Vizcaya. 3) Bad Boys – Yet another duo of movies was filmed in Miami. This starred Martin Lawerence and Will Smith and had scenes throughout Miami. One memorable place was the famous, luxury Biltmore Hotel in the Coral Gables area. 4) Scarface – Of course, this classic gangster movie must be on this list. Scarface gives some information about the history of Cuban immigration to Miami and it also shows some famous landmarks such as Ocean Drive. Watching the movie gives you a good opportunity to see what Miami used to look like in the 1980s. 5) Miami Vice – The name of this movie makes it clear that it is filmed here. Many people know this film and the television series from the 1980s with the same name and it … Read more

Bayside Marketplace

Bayside Marketplace is located in Downtown Miami and it is a great place to go to get “off of the beach.” Some of our students went there the other night for a night of mojitos, shopping, and eating. Bayside has a lot of stores for buying clothing, electronics, and also Miami souvenirs. There are many places to get Miami shirts, hats, key chains and other goodies for your friends and relatives in your home country. Another great thing about Bayside is the food, drinks, and entertainment. There is a live band almost every day of the week and some brave tourists often dance in front of the band area. You have many restaurants to choose from including Latin American, seafood, and Italian places. Hard Rock Cafe is also located in Bayside Marketplace. Many bars in the marketplace advertise that they have the “best mojitos” and you can sit outside and sip your cocktail while having a fantastic view. Many people like to go to Bayside just to enjoy the view of the bay and the boats in the marina. If you want to try going out on Biscayne Bay, you also have the opportunity to go on a boat cruise with a speed boat, party boat, or even “pirate” boat. So, next time you are interested in going somewhere new and seeing a new area of town, check out Bayside. The best way to get there is by taking Bus S. While you are downtown you can also explore places like the American Airlines Arena and Bayfront Park.

Isaac Experiences

Yesterday, as many of your know EC Miami did not have classes because of the possibility of flooding and other rain-related problems from Tropical Storm Isaac. In fact, all of the public schools in the county of Miami-Dade did not have classes. Isaac’s effect was different depending on where you were in the city of Miami and it primarily affected our arriving and departing students who had cancellations and delays with their flights. Today, we spoke to our current students about how they felt about their first tropical storm and their day off. Students from Asian countries, such as Taiwan said that Isaac was nothing compared to the typhoons that they experience in the “rainy” season in their countries. Even students from countries like Switzerland felt like it was nothing too scary. Other students said they felt a little nervous beforehand, but it never got really bad for them. Still others said that hurricanes and tropical storms can be scary because you never really know how much of a strong impact they might have. A few people said that the wind was the strongest they had felt in awhile. Most of the EC Miami students and staff decided to close their windows and doors, watch television or movies inside and look out their windows at the rain and wind. This was the safest idea. For some students, it was a great opportunity to go to Sawgrass Mills because the shopping was inside. Overall, it was EC Miami’s first tropical storm and we are all fine! If you are interested in taking make-up classes, please ask at the front desk or talk to Elisa. These classes will be available on Wednesday and Friday this week if enough students would like to attend them.

Juan’s Life Lessons

This week we celebrated Juan’s 25th birthday. Because he is now a quarter of a century old, we asked him for some of the things he has learned so far in his life. Whether you are younger, older or the same age as Juan, his tips are good life lessons to follow. 1. Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated. So, if you want people to be nice to you, you have to be nice to them. Even if you are nice to people and they are still not nice to you, you are being the better person. Karma might come get them in the end! 2. Travel the world as much as possible. I have lived in many different countries in my life and I have realized that the more you see, the more you realize that there is more to learn about the world. If you continue to travel, you continue to learn. So, after you leave Miami, keep going to see new places and have new experiences. 3. Be open-minded. The more open-minded you are, the more opportunities you will have. Always think about doing something before you say “yes” or “no”. It could be a great opportunity for you! 4. Don’t take your relationships for granted. The people who you like/love may not always be around, so you should tell those people that you like/love them. 5. Enjoy every day of you life because time flies. It’s amazing how fast time goes!

Back to School

It’s that time again – time for children to go back to school. In Miami, you may have noticed that the buses and roads have been more crowded this week. This is because all of the school-aged children have finished their summer vacation and have started school. Every state and city in the U.S. starts school on a different date, but most states begin at the end of August or beginning of September. In Florida, schools start earlier than in other states because of the weather. They start in August, so that they can end earlier and avoid the hot summer months. What does back to school mean for you? It won’t affect your daily life too much but as we said before the streets are more crowded with more people commuting to class. Also, you will notice lots of sales in stores for “back to school” clothes and more stores will be selling school supplies such as notebooks or pens. So, if you always forget to bring a pen to class and have to steal one of David’s, now is the time to go buy one! Also, next time you are feeling tired after your morning classes, remember that 7-year-old students stay in class until 3 p.m. in the U.S. You only have to stay in class until 12:00!

Crazy U.S. Laws

Did you know that in the state of Florida it is illegal to sing in public while wearing a bathing suit? So, that means no more singing on the beach! Today, Juan gave our afternoon classes and some interested students a lecture on crazy U.S. laws. We learned a lot about serious laws that many people debate, such as the drinking age and gun laws, but Juan also told us about a few somewhat ridiculous laws such as the singing one. Keep reading to find out just a few of the ridiculous laws around the U.S. In California, it is against the law to eat oranges in your bathtub. Students at EC San Diego, EC Los Angeles and EC San Francisco need to be careful about mixing fruit and bath time! In Alabama women must not wear high heels. It doesn’t matter if they want to go out to a party or a hot date, no heels allowed! In New York you are not allowed to talk inside an elevator and you must look at the door, not the other people. We know that New Yorkers have a stereotype of being unfriendly, but that’s a little crazy! Students at EC New York need to be careful about how they act in the elevator! In Florida men are not allowed to wear strapless dresses. It’s okay for men to wear dresses, but if the dress has straps, they could have trouble with the police! Many of these laws are completely ridiculous and they are not enforced very often. But, they are still fun to learn about because someone had to “break this law” for it to become a law! Does your country have any crazy laws?

Living our Core Values

Just a few of our amazing EC Miami teachers! Last week the teachers and staff at EC Miami did an activity to congratulate each other for living our core values. EC Miami staff work hard every day to “live” the 4 core values of the EC organization, which are: -We love what we do. -We go the extra mile. -We promise what we deliver. -We have a can-do mindset. During our activity we gave examples of times that we saw our co-workers demonstrating one of these key values and the winners were our teachers Juan and Mark. These great guys tied for the most votes and we are all very proud of them. People said that Juan continually went the extra mile and had a can-do mind set because he had to travel a long way to get to EC Miami every day but he always arrives with a smile on his face. He also always says he “can do” every activity on the calendar and his name is all over it as a student leader. The teachers said that Mark went the extra mile and loved what he did because he spends time helping the new teachers with their lessons. Also, during graduation ceremonies he is always getting the students pumped up and excited and it is clear that he loves what he is doing. During our conversation we had many more stories like these and we plan to showcase a new core value for the next few days on our Facebook page. Check it out for more fantastic stories about our amazing EC Miami staff!

Dollarmania!

Tomorrow we have a great activity on our calendar for lunch and we wanted to tell you some more information about it, so you can sign up! Montaditos 100 is a local sandwich store, which has small Spanish style sandwiches. On Wednesdays they do a special promotion called Dollarmania when everything on the menu (drinks and food) costs $1. It is a great way to try a lot of different sandwiches and not spend too much money. Montaditos are unique because they are very small and they use special bread rolls. The menu at this great lunch place is very long because there are so many different varieties of sandwiches.. There are traditional lunch favorites such as ham, cheese, and chicken, but there are also more exotic varieties. For example, there are Spanish style sandwiches, such as chorizo (a meat similar to sausage), spanish tortilla (a potato omelet), and iberico cheese (a cheese that is a blend of various animals’ milk). There are also dessert sandwiches if you have a sweet tooth, such as cheese and dulce de leche sandwiches. They also have some special Spanish beer and delicious sangria or wine to go with your meal, but only is you are 21 or older! To find out more about Dollarmania and Montaditos, click here, ask at the front desk, or just join us for a yummy (and cheap) lunch tomorrow!

Riding Bikes Safely

We know that many of you use your feet or your bikes to get around South Beach, but it is important to make sure that you follow the U.S. laws when you ride. There are many important laws to be safe, but here are just a few of the most important laws and safety rules. 1)      At night, always make sure that you have a light on your bike. If you rent a Deco Bike, it comes with a light that turns on when you pedal. 2)      It is a very bad idea to use headphones when you ride a bike because you cannot hear the sounds around you. Therefore, you should always make sure that you are not listening to music. 3)      You should ride on the right side of the road and try to stay away from the other cars. If there is a bike lane, use it! 4)      You are required to wear a helmet if you are under 16. Even if you are an adult, it is always a good idea to protect your head. 5)      It is illegal to drink and drive and the same is true on a bike. If you are driving any type of vehicle including a bicycle when you are drunk, you could get in trouble. If you want more tips about bike safety, click here. Ride safe everybody!