Going to the Everglades

Many students who come to study English in Miami have heard of the Everglades before they arrive. The Everglades is a natural park area that covers a large part of Southern Florida and it is pretty close to Miami. A lot of our students get excited about going there because they want to see nature and, of course, the famous alligators. This weekend, Kaitlin will be taking any interested students on a trip to the Everglades on Saturday. Kaitlin, as you might know from our previous blog post, usually works at EC Boston, so she is new to Miami just like many of you! She is very excited about the day trip because it will be her first time to the Everglades. If you want to join Kaitlin on the trip, please sign up and pay at the front desk as soon as possible! Why should you go with Kaitlin? First of all, it is a great price! Secondly, you get to see an alligator show and some people even get to hold a baby alligator. Another reason to go is that you will be able to go on an airboat ride through the Everglades and see real alligators in the wild. We know that the alligators might look fake or like rocks because they don’t move that often, but they are real, so don’t get too close!  The final reason is that all of your transportation is included, so you don’t need to worry about renting a car. If you already have plans this Saturday, don’t worry. EC Miami works with a tour company to offer a trip to the Everglades everyday at 9:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. You just need to tell us when you want to go at least 24 hours in advance and pay the deposit money. You can go by … Read more

Renting Equipment from EC Miami

Did you know that you could rent various sports equipment from EC Miami? We know that it was a hot summer and it has been pretty wet recently in September, but the weather is starting to get nicer and you might want to go play some sports with your friends. It doesn’t make sense to buy a volleyball for just a few months while you are studying English here, so you can rent one from us! Renting equipment also gives you more flexibility because we may not run the sports event that you want every week on our activities calendar, but you can create your own activity! If you want to rent some sort of equipment, you can ask at the front desk and we would be happy to lend it to you. We collect a $20 deposit, which we will give back to your when you return what you have borrowed. So, it’s basically free as long as you return the equipment to us! If you lose the equipment or it’s damaged though, we keep the money so we can buy some more equipment. You also need to make sure that you bring back what you borrow 24 hours later. Please don’t borrow items for more than one day because other students may want to use the item that you are using. We have many types of equipment available for rent such as volleyballs, a basketball, an American football, a soccer ball, and cones. If we don’t have the type of equipment that you want to use available you can try again the following day. If we don’t have the equipment in our stock at all, please let us know and we will consider whether to purchase it in the future. So, next time it’s sunny (but not too hot) … Read more

The Art Center of South Florida

Today, the Get Talking elective class in the afternoon went on a field trip to help make their conversations more interesting. They went to the Art Center of South Florida, which is a free center located on Lincoln Road just before on Jefferson Avenue on the right-hand side. This center has many galleries from multiple local artists and, seeing as today’s topic in Get Talking was related to art, it was a good opportunity to see some real art. The students looked around the galleries and described various pieces of art in partners. Then, they decided which ones they liked and dislikes and gave reasons why. Lastly, they chose two pieces of art to compare and contrast using comparatives and superlatives. For example, Danaik from Venezuela and Seni from South Korea said, “The first painting was more interesting than the second one because it had more shadows and reflections.” While we were at the art center, there were also a few artists who were in the process of creating their art. Some students like Jongmin and Alessandra even had an opportunity to talk to an artist about his pieces. This gave them a great opportunity to practice their English. If you ever want to see some interesting art, check out the Art Center of South Florida. It’s super close to the school and it is completely free!

Do you want to be a Student Ambassador?

In the spring we launched a student ambassador program at EC Miami and because it’s fall again and we have more long-term students, we are excited that we will be starting up the student ambassador program again! The advertisements about the program are posted around the school, but we thought we would give you a little more information about this great program and why you should apply. The best place to find information about the program is on the information sheets posted around the school. Kaitlin will also be announcing the program tomorrow in your classes. Student ambassadors are people who represent EC Miami and help the EC Miami staff to continue to make this school a great place to study English. To find out more about the program, you can read our previous blog post or talk to the Cambridge teacher, Reese, who is the leader of this program. Remember to check the posters to find out if you meet the minimum requirements to participate. Now, we want to give you 3 reasons why YOU should be a student ambassador. 1) It is a great opportunity to meet all of the new students and make even more friends while you are here in Miami. Many times you get to know a group of friends and always talk to the same people. In this program, you will join the students on the welcome lunch and Miami Beach walking tour and get to know them. You will also be able to give new students some great advice about your favorite things to do in Miami. 2) You have an opportunity to lead activities and your ticket to the activity would be free. We want to know your suggestions, so you can also give your ideas for the activity calendar. Additionally, you have … Read more

Adjectives or Adverbs?

The parts of speech in English are challenging for many students because they may not remember the names for these types of words even in their own language! A lot of students have trouble understanding the difference between adjectives and adverbs, so we thought we’d try to give you some help to remember when you should use adjectives and when adverbs are needed. Adjectives describe nouns. Now, we have to remember what nouns are; nouns are words related to people, places or things. So, an example of an adjective is “happy” as in “Mark is happy today.” In this sentence, “happy” describes Mark. We can also use lists of adjectives to describe something. For example, “EC is a bright, orange school.” Most people know the rule that adverbs describe verbs, such as “He runs slowly.” How does he run? In a slow way. The more difficult use of adverbs is when they are used to describe adjectives or other adverbs. Let’s start with adjectives. An example would be, “He is relatively fast.” How fast is he? Relatively. When describing other adverbs an example is, “He runs extremely quickly.” How does he run? Quickly. How fast does he run? Extremely quickly. Another thing to remember is that not all adverbs end in “-ly.” Although many people think of adverbs as “-ly” words, this is not always true. An example is the word “well.” We say, “I play tennis well” not “I play tennis good” because we are describing the verb “play” not the noun “tennis.”  Also, many people forget that “very” is also an adverb, as in, “It is very hot in Miami in August.” So, next time you are writing a sentence, think twice about whether you need an adjective or an adverb!

TOEFL Tips from Juan (Part 2)

Last week, Juan, our TOEFL teacher, wrote an incredibly helpful and detailed blog post giving students some tips for taking the TOEFL. We decided to split the blog post into two pieces and part 2 is below. Keep reading if you want to find out more helpful TOEFL tips. 3) Familiarize yourself with university jargon. The TOEFL Exam contains examples of students talking about dormitories, bookstores, classroom facilities, types of courses, and also examples of students having conversations with advisors. Phrases like, “drop a class” or vocabulary words like “semester” or “Fall Term” should be familiar to you. Visit the websites of universities you are considering to apply to and search around. Not only will you pick up the jargon but you will also learn more about the school you are interested in (most have an International Student section which will provide you a minimum TOEFL score). 4)      Surround yourself with native speakers and initiate conversation with them. Many questions on the exam will ask you to describe personal events or explain why you would prefer one thing over another. For example, “When you have a problem, who do you go to for help? Describe this person and explain why they are close to you. Use details and examples to support your answer” or “Would you prefer to travel alone or in a group? Give reasons and examples to support your answer?” These types of questions often come up when you are getting to know someone for the first time, so it’s a good idea to go somewhere like a bar and have chats with new people. You’ll also make friends in the process! 5)      Writing is an important. You may hate doing it, but it is something that must be improved if you wish to do well on the … Read more

TOEFL Tips from Juan (Part 1)

So, you’re interested in taking the TOEFL Exam? Well, let me start off by saying that this four-hour endurance contest of a test is quite a challenge. Even for native speakers, this test could prove to be very difficult, especially if you are not familiar with each of the four specific sections of the test: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Universities want to make sure that you are at a proficient level in order to handle the heavy course load you will surely encounter in school; so while the required score for each school may differ, you usually want to score above 90 points (out of a 120 total) to prove that you have mastered the English language. If you’re thinking about enrolling in our TOEFL Prep class or perhaps you are currently in the Upper-Intermediate or Advanced course and want to give it a try, here are some tips that will prepare you categorically for this class and the exam: 1)      Read. Read. Read. Read. And after you’re finished, keep reading some more. I can’t stress how important reading is to improve your English. Go to a bookshop (Books & Books on Lincoln Rd. is a great place to start) and pick up a magazine that interests you. While novels are helpful, they may become tedious as opposed to magazines that contain short articles on topics you enjoy. Doing so will teach you how to use prepositions appropriately, build your vocabulary with collocations and phrasal verbs, show you different ways various tenses are used in complex sentences, and also how coherent paragraphs are structured. 2)      Watch television and movies. If you have time to relax, go catch a flick or turn on your television to whatever channel. Don’t limit yourself to the news either; some students believe that the … Read more

Bowling Vocabulary

The students who came to our bowling event yesterday for EC Miami English school had a lot of fun at Lucky Strike and for many of the students it was their first time trying the sport. It was challenging at first, but after awhile everyone started to improve. While we were playing some of the more advanced bowlers and higher level English speakers were teaching the other students about the vocabulary of bowling. We thought we would share some of the most important bowling words with you, so that you can sound like an “expert” next time you go to Lucky Strike or another bowling location. 1) Bowling Alley – The place where you go to bowl. Lucky Strike is the most famous bowling alley on Miami Beach and it is just one block from our school on Michigan Avenue. 2) Lane – The place where you throw the ball. It is usually a long, skinny “road” for the ball. 3) Gutter – On the sides of the lane there are two gutters. If you throw the ball in a bad way, the ball may go in the gutter. If it goes in the gutter, you do not usually hit any of the pins. 4) Pins- The white things at the end of the lane that you try to hit with the ball. There are usually 10 pins, which are arranged in a pyramid shape. 5) Strike – This is a special score that happens when you hit down all of the pins with just one ball. So, if you throw the ball and hit all 10 pins at one time, you have scored a strike. Strikes give you a lot of points. If you score a strike you will see an X on the score screen. 6) Spare – … Read more

Sun Life Stadium

On our calendar for this week we suggested that you try to go to a Miami Dolphins American football game on Sunday. We know that many of your learned about football from Mark during the lecture last week, but if you are still confused about the rules of the game, you can read our blog or talk to our EC Miami expert, Mark. If you would like to watch the Miami Dolphins play football, you need to go to Sun Life Stadium. This venue is the location of NFL games and also various concerts and entertainment events in the area. Although it is a fantastic idea to see a football game while you study English in Miami, you should know some facts about Sun Life Stadium to make sure you have a good time. The first thing to know is that the stadium is not located on Miami Beach. You will need to go “off of the beach” to get there and, unfortunately it is not easy to get to by public transportation. The best way to get there is by taxi or by renting a car. If you go with a few friends, you can share the cost of a taxi or rent-a-car. If you decide to take a taxi, make sure that you know the phone number of taxi company to take you home because it is not very easy to find a taxi when you are leaving the stadium. The second thing to know if about tailgating. Do not be surprised if you arrive to a game and see that there are many people hanging out in the parking lot. This is a common American tradition and it involves having some drinks and food and playing games or throwing a football outside before the NFL match begins. If … Read more

La Sandwicherie – A Great Lunch Spot

On this week’s activity calendar, we have a suggestion to go to La Sandwicherie. This local sandwich store is well-known around Miami Beach for having delicious food in a great outdoor location. The shop is located at the corner of 14th St. and Washington Ave., so you can easily grab a sandwich and then head to the beach to eat on the sand or sit on one of the stools near the counter and get sprayed by cooling mist. La Sandwicherie serves classic French baguette sandwiches and there are many different types available including ham, turkey, camembert, and more. It also has croissants and other classic, French lunch snacks. According to some South Beach locals, it is the best sandwich “on the beach.” If you are watching your weight and want to avoid bread products, the sandwich shop also serves salads and juices, including special veggie/fruit juice mixtures. So, next time you are looking for a delicious lunch, check out La Sandwicherie. If you are one of our French students, you can tell us how authentic it really is, but we think it’s pretty good for French-style sandwiches in Miami!