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!!

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?

Movember at EC Miami!

Movember 2013 Here for your Cambridge ESOL Exams?  Perhaps just to be a tourist?  Calling all Mo Bros (and Sistas)…Movember is almost here again! All you have to do is grow a moustache (or wear a fake one if you’re a Mo Sista) for the month of November (Movember) to raise funds and awareness for prostate/testicular cancer and mental health. Are you man (or woman) enough to Mo? Join the EC Miami Movember page NOW!

Fernanda’s Celebrity Encounter!

Fernanda Reis, a Brazilian student who is here at EC to prepare for her Cambridge exam, had a close encounter of the celebrity kind last week when she ran into Pharrell Williams just outside of the building. Pharrell is well-known in the hip-hop community for his work with the Neptunes, N.E.R.D., and his recent solo work. He’s been heard all over the radio recently on Robin Thicke’s single, “Blurred Lines”.  As Fernanda explains: I was having lunch when I saw him crossing the street. I was not surprised for me because many people I know had met him before here in Miami and I knew that I would met him also someday. But I was so exited because I think Pharrell is an awesome producer and singer! I asked Abdul to take our picture. He (Pharrell) was really nice and friendly to everybody, which made me admire him even more. Learning English and Celebrity Encounters – just a day in the life of our Miami English School. Special thanks to Fernanda for the picture!!

FCE and CAE Course in Miami

Want to get your best FCE or CAE score but only have a limited time to study? At our Miami Beach English school you can take the unique Cambridge ESOL Summer Course. This 4-week course of 30 lessons per week (22.5 hours) is taught by our friendly, experienced and professional teachers. They will help you learn the skills you need to take an ESOL exam. On this ESOL  course you will: Practice speaking, listening, writing and reading. Learn the techniques needed to get your best possible score. Study in a modern school in a wonderful location. Improve your English in classes with students from all over the world. For more information on this Cambridge ESOL Summer Course, contact us.

The Lighthouse

As many of us already know, studying English is not only practicing speaking and vocabulary.  In fact, one of the best ways to practice your new language skills is to pick up a book and Read.  Many of our Cambridge students have taken advantage of their time here by reading specific books that may appear in some form on their upcoming exam.  For my CAE class, the students have been reading The Lighthouse, by P.D. James.  Set on a ficticious island just off the coast of England, the book follows a detective, Adam Dalgliesh, as he investigates the possible murder (or was it suicide?) of an island visitor.   Here, we see Jeannette (from Switzerland) in our student lounge catching up on Dalgliesh’s adventure.   Good luck to all of our students as they start their Cambridge exams next week!   -Mark