Welcome to the latest installment of My Library, English Conversation Edition! We’ve been introducing you to some of the regular participants in the English Conversation Hour for intermediate, advanced and native speakers, which takes place at the Mid-Manhattan Library on most Thursday evenings at 6:30! We have a fabulous time meeting and chatting with people from all over the world. Feel free to drop by and join in the talk some week.
So far on this blog channel, we’ve met Tika from Japan and Youngsil from Korea. Now I’d like to present Guillermo!
What is your name?
My name is Guillermo. My friends call me Memo.
Where are you from?
I am from Cuautla, Morelos in México.
How long have you been in New York?
I have been here four months.
How long do you plan to stay?
I am planning to stay in NY until the first week of December.
Do you work? Do you go to school? Where?
No, I don't work. I am an ALCC student (English school); It is located in Manhattan, on 36th street. I am studying for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) because I hope to apply to graduate school in the U.S. I am also preparing to take the GRE Subject Test in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology to know my actual knowledge in that subject. My degree is in biology with a focus on biochemistry and now my goal is to study immunology.
How did you hear about the Thursday English Conversation Hour?
I found information about the Thursday English Conversation Hour online on the Mid-Manhattan Library web page.
I don't think you have missed a converation hour since you arrived in New York earlier this year. Why do you keep coming back?
It is a nice place where one can meet a lot of interesting people.
What is your favorite place in New York?
My favorite place is the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa).
Why is MoMa your favorite place in New York? Do you have a favorite painting or sculpture?
I never had the opportunity to enjoy and see paintings and sculptures made by famous people before. I had already known of many works presented in MOMA; however, this is the first time that I've seen them face to face. My favorite artist is Henri Matisse, nevertheless, I can't imagine modern art without Van Gogh, Salvador Dalí, Picasso or Andy Warhol. [Note: If you're interested in reading about Andy Warhol and NYPL's Picture Collection, check out this post.]
What is a place everyone who visits Cuatela should see?
Cuautla is the second largest city in Morelos (The first one is Cuernavaca). It is located in the south part of Mexico, close to Mexico City. It is an important city in terms of history. Part of the War of Independence (1810) and the Mexican Revolution (1910) took place there. In 1812, it was the cradle of one crucial confrontation between the Spanish (Realistas) and the "Mexicans" (Insurgentes) named Sitio de Cuautla [Siege of Cuautla]. In addition, Emilizano Zapata, the leader of the Mexican revolution, lived there many years.
In conclusion, nowadays, there are museums and a lot of history on its narrow streets that I am sure you will enjoy.
Can you recommend a book or a movie that other English language learners might enjoy?
I enjoy reading science books, because I love science. I recommend reading something interesting for you. [Great advice, Memo!] Right now, I'm reading Painless Earth Science by Edward Denecke.
Your English conversation skills are really good! Do you have any language learning tips to share with our readers?
My best advice is: practice as much is possible with native English speakers.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or about the library?
New York Public Library and, in particular, Mid-Manhattan Library, are awesome!
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Memo. Good luck on the TOEFL! We'll miss you when you go back to Mexico in December.
Are you getting ready for the TOEFL test like Guillermo?
Did you know that you can find many study guides to borrow in the Library catalog? You can also use the online practice tests and other TOEFL course materials in LearningExpressLibrary, which you can find on our Articles & Databases page. You will need an NYPL card to use LearningExpressLibrary from home. The first time you log in, you will need to create a username and password so that LearningExpress can save all of the tests and courses you select and score them when you are finished.
There are also many free Internet resources available. Here are just a few ideas. Sample questions for the TOEFL iBT (Internet-based test) are available to download from the official TOEFL website. The Successful English blog offers some excellent tips on preparing for the TOEFL, and you can listen to short practice conversations with vocabulary explanations on the TOEFL Podcast. Scroll down the page to Podcast #1 for an introduction.