There's lots of English conversation activity around NYPL this week! Participants are signing up for the We Are New York English conversation programs in several neighborhood libraries and registration for NYPL's intermediate level English conversation groups also started in different library locations. Mid-Manhattan Library has hosted WANY groups since September 2010.
The participants in our first group had such a good time practicing their English and meeting people from all over the world that they wanted to keep coming to the Library to talk. So, at their request, we introduced the open English Conversation Hour for intermediate and advanced speakers last winter. The group meets on most Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Anyone who wants to chat — English language learners and native English speakers alike — can simply drop by and join the conversation. No registration required!
Now, I'd like to introduce you to one of our regulars, Youngsil, who is a dedicated participant in both We Are New York and the English conversation hour.
NYPL: What is your name?
Where are you from?
How long have you been in New York?
I have been in New York for six months.
How long do you plan to stay?
I'll stay here one or two more years.
How did you hear about the English Conversation Hour on Thursdays?
I heard about it from a friend.
You've been participating in the group for several month now. Why do you keep coming back?
I keep coming back because I can learn to speak English with many friends from all over the world and [because there are] very kind “teachers”.
You were also part of the We Are New York conversation group this past spring. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with the WANY group? What did you learn?
I can meet new people who are from all around world and I made some new friends. Also, I learned different customs from foreign friends through this group. For example, never point to anything with your foot in Indonesia and never touch anyone — especially a child — on the head in Thailand.
What is your favorite place in New York?
Bryant Park and Mid-Manhattan Library because they have lots of cool events happening here at the Library every week. I can borrow a lot of books and DVDs that I want without paying and I can take computer lessons that are interesting.
What is a place everyone who visits Seoul should see?
I guess my favorite place in Seoul, where I live, would have to be the Seoul Tower. It's a big tower on the top of a mountain. There's a platform where you can look out over the whole city. It's an amazing view, especially at night when you can see all of the sparkling lights. That's why I like to go there quite often.
Can you recommend a book or a movie that other English language learners might enjoy?
I'd have to say that my favorite movie is Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It's got a good message as the title of movie. Also, it was well made. The acting was great, and the sets were very convincing. Most of all, the special effects were really impressive.
Your English conversation skills have really improved! Do you have any language learning tips to share with our readers?
The best way to develop self-confidence in speaking English is by joining a conversation group like this.
Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Youngsil! See you at the next conversation hour.
The We Are New York program, developed by the Mayor's Office of Adult Education and the City University of New York (CUNY), gives people a chance to improve their English and learn about New York City by watching and talking about episodes of a unique television show. Volunteers lead the groups and faciltitate the conversation. Visit the We Are New York website for more information about the program, to download episodes of the TV show, or to join a group or volunteer.