Archive for March, 2015

Hot Spots in NYC as Chosen by Our Own LSI Students

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

NYC is a place where you can find anything—from opera uptown, to experimental performance art in the East Village, to a hockey game at Madison Square Garden, to a carnival on the beach on Coney Island—and everything in between! The difficult thing about NYC is not finding something to do, but finding time to do it all. It’s always good to come to this diverse, vibrant city with an idea of what you would like to see and do. We asked our student body for some tips on fun and memorable places to go, and things to do. Here ‘s their list …

Top restaurants: Students recommended a few great restaurants in NYC. First was a restaurant right in our building, EET. It’s located on the 3rd floor, and it’s a great place to get a quick, healthy, delicious lunch before afternoon classes, or a latte or kombucha at break time.  Students also are crazy about Shake Shack, a chain burger joint that has locations all throughout the city. They are best known for their milkshakes, as you may have guessed by the name. Another special mention was Momo’s Sushi Shack in Bushwick, Brooklyn. If you are a foodie who likes creative, modern takes on Japanese food, Momo’s Sushi Shack is the place for you.
Top night spots: Students were all about rooftop bars and clubs! Drinking, socializing and dancing in the open air, with a unforgettable view of the New York City skyline at night, was recommended by many students. There were a couple of specific places they suggested: The Top of The Rock was the main one, which is located on the rooftop of Rockefeller Center. Other honorable mentions were PhD rooftop, 230 Rooftop, and the Boom Boom Room at the Standard Hotel
Top places to shop:  The Blue Lagoon. LSI NY is located in the heart of Soho, a neighborhood which offers endless shopping opportunities, with boutiques from top designers like Maison Martin Margiela, Alexander Wang, Chanel, and Ralph Lauren right around the corner. Century 21, a downtown boutique in the Financial District, received top marks from students who like designer clothes and accessories at markdown prices. For students who like to travel farther for even lower prices, Woodbury Commons, an outlet mall in New Jersey, is the best place to go—you can take a bus from 42nd street and 8th avenue for $5. And for students who prefer treasure-hunting for vintage or secondhand clothing, Beacon’s Closet is the place to go, with multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn..
Top weekend activity: Brunch!  New Yorkers love to enjoy a leisurely mid-day meal on the weekends, laughing with friends at a sit-down diner or restaurant and accompanying the delicious food with bottomless cups of coffee and a mimosa or bloody mary. Our students have a similar fondness for brunch; it was their top recommendation for a must-do on an NYC weekend. A couple great restaurants to try: Clinton Street Baking Company (famous for their pancakes, on the Lower East Side); Diner NYC (a hipster staple in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn); and Edward’s (great for groups, just a few minutes from LSI NYC in TriBeCa).
Out of doors:  Though NYC is known for its skyscrapers and its culture, you can still enjoy a taste of nature while you are here! Our students know that if you would like to hug a tree or smell a flower or two, but stay in the city, you should visit the High Line Park, Central Park, The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, or the Bronx Botanical Gardens. If you would like to collect a seashell or dip your toes in the ocean, take the N,Q, or F train to Coney Island, or the Far Rockaway A train to Rockaway Beach. And if you need a longer getaway, make sure to take a trip up to Niagara Falls and bask in the majesty of this world-renowned, powerful waterfall. No matter when you come to NYC, you can find lots to do and to see. Make sure to check out timeout.com/newyork to stay abreast of all of the goings-on in this city that truly never sleeps.

 

World Etiquette Expo at LSI NYC

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

The nuances and implications of behaviour around the world can be mind-boggling. The same gesture can mean totally different things in two different countries. For example, slurping your noodles in the USA can be quite rude, but in Japan, it is a sign of respect for the cook! Each country and culture has specific methods of interacting and demonstrating politeness, and especially for international business-people, learning these cues can be a big help to getting along and getting ahead in different settings.

Takao Kuki at LSI New York

Takao Kuki at LSI New York

For Takao Kuki, a Mini Group student at LSI NYC, our international student body was a great source of information on global etiquette. He realized that students from around the world could clue him in on how to behave in different places and spaces. With the help of his teacher, Ada Petty, he designed, developed, and carried out a “World Etiquette Expo” where along with improving his English and making friends from other classes, he gained information about polite behaviours around the world.

Highlighting differences in etiquette between Japan and the USA

Highlighting differences in etiquette between Japan and the USA

Takao’s expo, set up on a table in the spacious hallway connecting our classrooms, had 5 different interactive elements: a presentation, a brochure, a video, a questionnaire, and a world map. The map was a big highlight of the event: students were encouraged to leave short blurbs about etiquette in their countries and cities stuck to the map on neon sticky notes. Watching the notes accumulate over the course of the two-day Expo really demonstrated the interactivity of the project, and it was also wonderful to see students pouring over the contributions from one another.

Expo Map and Video Presentation

Expo Map and Video Presentation

Takao, a consultant from Japan, was here at LSI for three weeks, combining our Mini Group 20 class in the morning with 5 individual lessons in the afternoon. He said that the Expo was an unforgettable capstone to his time here: “It was an impressive experience to communicate with worldwide students from the Middle East, Asia, South America and Europe. I was very, very happy to hear their positive comments.” The Expo caused quite a buzz throughout our student body: at the monthly pizza party, students from different classes were caught in conversation with one another, comparing and contrasting rules of politeness they had seen on the map.

Many thanks to both Takao and Ada for this thought-provoking, fruitful Expo! This interactive project designed especially to suit the needs and objectives of one Mini Group student, Takao Kuki, had a multiplier effect, generating international discussion and understanding throughout our student body. Well done!

Capture Your Memories

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

For many LSI  students, their experience here at our schools is one they would like to remember forever.  The friends they make, the fun times both inside and out of classes, field trips, nights on the town… when students leave, they often say that their memories of their stay are as valuable, if not more valuable, than the English that they learned. LSI New York’s departing assistant director Victoria Reis, has put together some suggestions on how to capture these memories and practice and improve your English along the way.  Below are a few simple ways you can simply and simultaneously capture your memories as well as improve your English.
Video Log

If you have a laptop with a camera, keeping a video log is a great way to record your memories. Every evening, just sit down in front of the computer and—in English—share a few of your favorite stories or moments from the day—these can be people you met, things you learned in class, or funny anecdotes from your daily life. One special thing about a video log is that it will be easy to show the camera the fun things you find or buy; just pick them up and bring them into the frame. You could also have your new friends make a guest appearance on your videos. Who knows, if you share your video log on YouTube, your “Adventures of an LSI student” video log might become a viral sensation! Video logs would be especially helpful for students who want to practice their paralinguistic skills—gesture, facial expressions, and body language.

Voice Memo

Another digital way to capture your memories is via the voice memo feature on your phone. Just tap the record button and speak (English, of course) into your phone’s microphone. A great thing about voice memos is that they can be made on the go—you can record them while you are walking to your homestay or hotel, while you are waiting for your friends in a park or a café, or even in bed right before you fall asleep! Voice memos would be a great technique for students who want to practice their fluency, intonation, and pronunciation skills.

Blog

A blog, or web-log, is another way to keep a record of your stay at LSI and improve your English at the same time. Writing a few sentences a day on your computer, and pushing upload, will provide you with an easy-to-follow, chronological account of your experience. You can also upload pictures—as well as links to your videos and voice memos, if you want to! One great thing about a blog is that it can be easily accessible by people all around the globe, so it’s a great way to keep your friends back home updated on how much fun you are having. A blog would be most useful for students who want to practice their writing, vocabulary, and accuracy. Make sure to set your computer’s spell-check to English!

Scrapbook

Scrapbooking can be a great method to save memories, especially for visual or tactile learners. To make a scrapbook, you paste pictures and other paper souvenirs—notes from class, movie tickets, or newspaper articles, for example—into a large book, making sure to leave lots of room to write funny or informative captions for each item you paste in. This can be a great way to organize your thoughts, and can be a great gift to bring home to your parents.

Journal

For students who want to work on their handwriting and spelling, a journal can be a great way to do this, and record your adventures at the same time. A journal is great because you can write in it anywhere, and you can write about anything. Journals are often more personal, so you can keep a record of your impressions of others, fears and challenges, without having to worry about anybody else seeing it. A journal can be just for you, and it can be an unforgettable treasure to look back on both when you get home as well as throughout your stay. Sometimes the troubles you were having at the beginning of your study abroad can seem quite silly once you have been at LSI for even just a few weeks!

All of the above methods are great ways to capture your memories and improve your English at the same time. If you practice these habits regularly, you can also watch your English improve gradually, and see yourself gain capacity and confidence in your new language and your new life at LSI.