By Pascale Côte (France)
For most of us, the first thing we think about when we arrive in NYC is how to improve our English. To do so, we can research a tourist guide book, be seduced by an advertisement, or spend a lot of time surfing through the specific websites. There are so many offerings that it is very difficult to make the right choice unless you try everything.
As for me, I decided to attend classes in a school closest to my home. It was a classic program: two hours, five days a week with the same teacher, the same students every single day. At the end of the first week, I began to get bored.
Meanwhile, I heard about the ICNY several times. First of all, it caught my attention because of its schedule: many and various classes during the day taught by different teachers, and moreover, the possibility to participate in any one class as often as you want, and as many times as your personal planning allows you to attend. I have to admit that this made me feel a little bit skeptical about the program’s effectiveness; I thought about my gym club schedule: a lot of things to work out on but, in the end, you manage to go just once a week to reduce the guilt for joining such a club.
Anyway, this experience was tempting and the friendliness of the staff convinced me to go for it. Very quickly, I wanted to try every field and discover every teacher. It was all so new and interesting. Most of the time, besides teaching, the instructors managed to have students engage in conversation among themselves about different topics, which was a good trigger for students to get introduced. Afterwards, I could also carry on the discussions in the community room/lounge, a place to make friends and to further improve my English. There, everyone feels more confident to interact with foreigners like myself, supporting and encouraging one another while speaking English.
Since I arrived in NYC, the Center has been one of the best things that happened to me, both because of the quality of its offerings and because of the many encounters I have had here.