Bake Sale Tomorrow!

You may remember a recent post regarding raising funds to help with Disaster Relief in the South Pacific. As part of EC Miami’s continuing efforts to help the people affecting by this terrible tragedy, students and staff are encouraged to take part in our Bake Sale tomorrow (Friday, November 22). Long-Term students (such as those preparing for their Cambridge ESOL exams) and recent arrivals are all asked to bring in baked goods to the student lounge tomorrow morning to sell to the rest of the students and staff. All money raised will be sent to relief efforts in the Philippines.

Next Academic Lecture: THANKSGIVING!

It’s that time of year! The time that Americans get together with family and friends and eat. And eat. And Eat. AND EAT!! It’s Thanksgiving!!! Of course, there is more to Thanksgiving than just food — but for some of us the food is what makes it one of the favorite holidays in the United States. Families will prepare for days in advance for the feast that comes up, and the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel days of the year! Tomorrow, November 21, Reese and Sheila will be giving lectures to the students about Thanksgiving. Higher-level students and those that are getting ready for their Cambridge ESOL Exams will meet with Sheila, while lower-level students will get all their Thanksgiving information from Reese. All students are encouraged to go — and then prepare a Thanksgiving dinner of their own! Check back here after the holiday to see which students turn in the best essays about Thanksgiving. There will be two winners chosen!

Donate Your Old Clothes!!

Many students come to EC Miami for an extended period of time. Students that are preparing for their Cambridge ESOL Exams, for example, spend around three months with us brushing up on their skills and then take the test at the end of their time. One of the perks of coming to South Florida for so many students is, other than the beach and nightlife, the Shopping. Ah, shopping. The promise of arriving in a country with two suitcases and needing Five after buying all the clothes and shoes that your heart desires. The necessity to pay extra fees on your flight going home because of all the extra baggage. Why complicate things? This year, we are collecting clothes that students and staff don’t wear any longer to donate to local charities here in South Florida. Everyone is encouraged to drop off any clothes they don’t want anymore in the box that has been placed in the lobby. Don’t worry about filling the box — we can get more!

Idiom of the Week — “red-faced”

  The color red makes people think of many things.  One things that we associate red with in American English is with embarassment and/or shame.  Let me (Mark) tell you a story:   When I was a teenager, I was an exchange student in Bogota, Colombia.  I was new to Spanish, and made all of the mistakes that language students typically make.  Bad verb-subject combinations, mistaken vocabulary, and poor pronunciation were just some of the problems that I had when I was learning the language.  In fact, when I work with my students that are prepping for their Cambridge ESOL Exams or TOEFL, I tell them that I made much worse mistakes than they could ever imagine.   One day, in a Spanish class at the school in Bogota, I was asked to answer questions from various students.  They would ask me in English (giving them a chance to practice) and I would have to answer in Spanish (forcing me to practice as well).  One person asked me about a time I had been embarassed.  I told them as best as I could about spilling a soda on my pants at a shopping mall, and said “Estaba embarazado.”  After the teacher looked at me curiously several times (and after much laughter from the 40 or so students in the class), I was informed that I had told the entire class that I was pregnant.   How embarassing.  How biologically impossible.   My face turned red.  I was blushing.  I was very red-faced that day in class.   Yes, red-faced means embarassed and blushing.  Do you get red-faced very easily?

Natural Disaster Relief — Please Help!

    Last week, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines leaving thousands dead, and many more displaced without shelter, food, water, and clothing.  This story has blanketed the news over the past seven days, and resonates particularly here in South Florida, where hurricanes are part of the local culture.   Here at EC Miami, we have left a collection glass in the reception area.  Intensive students, Semi-Intensive students, students studying for Cambridge ESOL Exams, and teachers/administrators alike are asked to help out in any way they can, and donate what they feel comfortable with.   Our hearts and thoughts are with all the people affected by this terrible tragedy.

Minji Goes Shooting!

Minji Kang is not only one of our Student Ambassadors here at EC Miami, but she has also been preparing for her Cambridge ESOL Exams since she arrived last June.  Recently, she went with some friends to a local indoor shooting range for a new experience —  Target Shooting.  Minji writes: Have you ever shot a real gun? Sounds dangerous, but it becomes such an unforgettable experience with a lot of fun at indoor gun shooting range.     I went gun shooting with my friends last weekend. There are some places that you can try it in miami, and I chose one of them, which was near dolphin mall. I had two different feelings while going to the place, excitement and fear. After I got there, listened to how to use the gun that I had chosen before shooting. Actually, I became more nervous at this moment, but it changed to excitement with loud sounds from other’s shooting. We got 3 paper targets and put them as far as we wanted, and shot them. It took less than an hour in my case, but normally depends on how many bullets you choose.     I would recommend trying it, because it’s not an easy thing that you can try anywhere, anytime. I’m sure it’s even better with friends, but most of all, it’s a great way to get rid of stress! Traveling to new places is all about trying new things and having new experiences.  Minji is a wonderful embodiment of this!!

Teacher of the Month — Eric Brown

Students come to EC Miami for many reasons.  Some are here to study for their Cambridge ESOL exams.  Others opt more less intensive courses —  and everyone takes advantage of the scenery and nightlife options available in Miami and Miami Beach.   November’s Teacher of the Month, Eric Brown, is one of the teachers that you may encounter during your time here.  Eric has recently been spending a lot of time with our exam prep students, and last Halloween won the prize for “Best Staff Costume” for his Ninja outfit!   Teacher’s Hometown:  Colorado Springs, CO   Teacher’s Miami Recommendation:  “Art Basel — world-famous international art show with exhibition spaces all over the city.”   Teacher’s English Tip:  “Make all of your sounds in English — even your screams!  Leave the TV on at night when you go to sleep.  Dream in English.  When you wake up, you might remember something.  Finally, forget your native language completely.  You won’t be needing it anymore.”   Thanks and Congratulations to our Ninja teacher, Eric!  

Idiom of the Week — “back to the same old grind”

Today in the United States, it is Veteran’s Day. On this day, most businesses are closed, as well as the federal government. Veteran’s Day is a day that is used to commemorate the sacrifices that the men and women of our armed services are honored for the sacrifices they gave to this country. We take this day as a day of rest, and it always falls on a Monday in early November. Because of this, we have a three-day weekend. For many of us, it is difficult to get back to the same old grind on Tuesday. A long weekend gives us time to relax and recharge — but returning to the same old grind the next day can be a little difficult, and many of us bemoan having to wake up early again. Having to return to work. Having to do the same routine that we always do. If you figured out that “back to the same old grind” was an idiom for “returning to the usual work routine,” then you’re right! Another common idiom that we use in American English. Students that are preparing for their TOEFL or Cambridge ESOL Exams would be wise to remember it!

EC Miami Newsletter is coming! Get involved!

Read all about it! The EC Miami newsletter meeting is this Friday! Want to know more? Then join us for coffee and cake at Panther cafe, Friday at 2:15pm. We will have our first meeting to brainstorm who wants to do what and how. Do you have design skills? Are you up to date on all the latest school gossip? Then we need you! Not only will you have a chance to mingle with other students, but you’ll also be able to improve your writing skills and share your interests with everyone at our school.  Students that are preparing for their Cambridge ESOL Exams may be particularly interested in participating and practicing their writing skills. Looking forward to seeing you all there!  By Michelle

Idiom of the Week — “get into the spirit”

Last week, all of our students (from beginning to those prepping for their TOEFL and Cambridge ESOL Exams) and staff members participated in one of the US’ favorite traditions: HALLOWEEN! Everyone got into the spirit of this “holiday” by dressing up in costume. Other ways we got into the spirit was by playing music with Halloween themes (“Monster Mash”, “Thriller”), carving pumpkins and by having a costume contest. For many students it was their first time dressing up for Halloween, and they all were able to get into the spirit of Halloween very easily. Later that evening, many students walked out on Lincoln Road and mingled with the thousands (!) of other people who had clearly gotten into the spirit of Halloween. What does “get into the spirit” mean? If you followed the context of this post (a great way to learn new vocabulary and expressions), then you would know that “get into the spirit” means “to be enthusiastic about something.” How do You get into the spirit for your favorite holiday or celebration?