Views from Above - January 2009 Issue

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Views from above

63 floors up


January 2009

The articles featured in this month’s newsletter focus on experiences abroad as a volunteer and as a student. The experiences the students have written about positively touched the lives of many people in the US and abroad. They also seem to reflect the recent call by President Obama to take action and give back. Enjoy!

A School of Beautiful Smiles

Valentine’s Day Dance “Legends” 6 West 33rd Street

By Maria Dolores Gutierrez Rodriguez

Have you ever wondered how people live in developing countries? Many countries in the world are less developed in terms of their economy, standard of living, health and education. I wanted to experience it for myself; so it was my interest that in fact I left. I traveled hundreds of kilometers away, to Ghana, and experienced something a little different. Where I lived, in Nkontrodo, over 1,000 people face famine, drought and starvation every single day of their lives. Hunger and malnutrition are unfortunately a common experience. They face diseases like AIDS and Malaria that that strongly affect the poor population. I was a teacher in a school which had 600 students. My students grew up with malnutrition and malnourishment. I taught them basic things like math (numbers, counting), science (animals, plants, nature), religion, writing and playing, obedience and respect for others, how to wash, and fun songs. We played with toys they had never seen before. They didn’t know what a ball was used for and I showed them how to use

it. I did recognize some talented students in my

group, but because many are unable to graduate into secondary school, they can’t even take the chance to be able to use their talents. Most of my students were often ill and weak, had skeleton hands, no hair, skin and eye problems, and frequently suffered from malaria. However, they did always have something that I will never forget; a beautiful smile. While I was there, I gave a scholarship to a baby, who, by the way, was baptized with my own name and I’m still in touch with her and her family! The scholarships provide access to food, water, shoes and education for the whole year. There is a big barrier between our

lifestyle and the way many people live in Nkontrodo. There are so many people affected by poverty in the world, and ignoring what is happening to them is pretending it’s not happening. The increasing rate of disease is completely unacceptable. Maladies and starvation in the world, particularly as it relates to children, has come to a situation where enough is enough. If we just donated a little time and resources to those people that live in poverty in Nkontrodo, we could save more lives than if nothing was done. I truly believe our generation can make this possible. Let’s make a difference. The scope of my words is not to make you pity others or bring tears to your eyes. It is however, to encourage you, the reader, to help and tell you out loud that we can create a better world. IMAGINE!

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at Upcoming Events Housing Works February 10th @ 7pm Evening of History and Music February 14th @ 8pm Valentine’s Day Personal Media Mixer & Confessional Culture Variety Show

Housing Works thrift shop

For more events and to learn more about Housing Works, go to:

Groundhog Day on FEB 2nd

By Ji Yoon Jang

When you see the February calendar, you can find Groundhog Day as well as St.Valentine's Day or President's Day. Aren't you wondering what Groundhog Day is? Someone who has watched the movie 'Groundhog Day' might be used to the name of this day. Here is some information on Groundhog Day.

Living English By Namkyu Chun

What is the best way to study a foreign language? Registering at a good school, such as Kaplan Aspect, would be one good answer. If you just want to study grammar and vocabulary, you don’t have to go abroad. However, learning a language means that you not only study a language but you also understand that country’s culture and lifestyle. The reason that you leave your hometown is to meet real people who speak different languages and interact with them. Here is the best way to learn a language and give back; volunteer. I think that if we do something regular or routine in a foreign country it will be very helpful in improving our language ability. That’s why I chose to volunteer! A month after I arrived in New York, I started volunteering at the Housing Works Organization http:// It is an organization which helps people who have HIV/AIDS. They help people in many different ways and the most popular and most successful way to provide support and

.Why do Americans celebrate

'Groundhog Day'? Groundhog Day is the holiday that Americans and Canadians celebrate on February 2nd. Its origin is from the European tradition of Candlemas Day when people commemorated the Purification of the Virgin Mary on Feb 2nd. Europeans said that if on Candlemas Day it was bright and clear there would be two winters that year. Candlemas Day became associated with the German folklores, which included an animal, the hedgehog. German settlers brought this belief to America during the 18th century.

programs is by running thrift shops, cafés, and catering events. In Manhattan, there are 7 thrift shops and the one I volunteer at is the oldest but is located in an interesting part of city; the West Village. Before I chose this place, I visited several shops and I finally decided to work at the smallest one because I wanted to get the chance to speak to as many people as possible. After a few weeks, I realized that I was totally right. The West Village neighborhood is full of native-born New Yorkers. I quickly found myself interacting with local people. Not only the other volunteers and staff but also some regular customers started to recognize me and we became friends. Nowadays, when I go there, I feel comfortable. When I don’t go there, I miss the people.

The way it changed from the German belief is that German settlers in America adopted the groundhog instead of the hedgehog. So, what Americans look for on Groundhog Day is whether groundhogs come out from the ground on that day. They see the groundhog as a weather predictor. If groundhogs come out with the sunshine, spring is just around the corner; and if groundhogs don't come out because of the shadow, they believe winter will last 6 weeks or more. Where can you see groundhogs in New York City ?

Based on my experience, I will give you several reasons why volunteering is great. First, you can meet real Americans, not just tourists. Maybe you can become one of them. Second, even though you won’t get paid, you will get many benefits, such as the chance to join special events and make friends. Third, you can learn a live language with great rewards and give back to the community.

Feb 2nd, at the Staten Island Zoo, there will be a ceremony and an official prediction with real groundhogs at 7:30am. The ceremony is free. If you can't go early in the morning, don't worry about it.. You can still see the groundhogs later in the day. If you want to get more information about this, go to the website, http:// I hope you confirm the groundhog's weather prediction with your own eyes.

Language Learning & Living Abroad Student experiences...

Yes or n't By Daniel Nardi

Sometimes, the negative sentences are hard to get for a newcomer in the studies of the English language. The fact that almost all the negative phrases can be shortened only makes things worse. But that abbreviation may have been the capital matter for the prosperity of the nations that had grown under the language of Shakespeare. Beginning with the thought that say "He didn't know that it was impossible, and made it." Some English speaking heroes didn't take notice of the difference between can and can't, is and isn't, should and shouldn't. Maybe everything began when other big European countries told England "It isn't possible that one little island with only 50,346 sq mi could become the most powerful nation in the world." And maybe George II -

the King in the beginning of the Industrial Era - understood "It is possible", and England became the most powerful nation until the II War, when the quick development of the USA took place. Speaking about the USA, when James Madison, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson got together to do the constitution, somebody would say "something so small will never work", but they've just listened "will ever work." Few years later, somebody told Abraham Lincoln "black people aren't free", but he was inattentive and didn't get the T, and did are free. Perhaps Omar Bradley himself - the last Five stars of the United State - after the invasion of Normandy, said to General Patton "we can't march so fast". And the Old Blood and Guts, as he was called, fast as ever just heard "CAN" and dominated 2 thousand kilometers of land on France in a short period of time. French artist also could have told

Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol in the 60's "American can't make an important art movement. But, as it was true for Pollock, Warhol, Liechtenstein and many others, they CAN. The French perhaps told Lance Armstrong that Americans weren't good on bicycle racing -- but he was so fast that didn’t have time to listen that. As well as Phelps, that couldn't understand under water that a human being would never win eight gold medals in the same Olympic Games. Daniel Nardi Maybe because of that Obama began his victory speech with these words. "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive, in our time (...) tonight is your answer." On the other hand, not understanding the NO can bring one a lot of

They always prepare a good breakfast and dinner such as By Hyungwoo Kim chicken, lamb, pork with delicious rice. I can also eat whenever and whatever I want. There is a lot of food in the refrigerator. We usually eat together because they always want to talk to me. They want to hang out with me every Friday night. It is really good for me to enjoy NY and improve my English skills. Moreover, I usually play with their children every weekend. When I came here, my Hyungwoo and his family recommend you live with a English skills were Hello everyone! My name is host family when you study not good. I was in Hyungwoo Kim. Welcome to in NYC because you can use the intermediate Kaplan Aspect. You are an English all of the time. level but a 7 year old English student, aren’t you? boy, Kai-jei, helped My host family, Jason, Tisha me improve. If you really want to improve your English skills, I and Kai-jei, are very kind.

Living with a host family

Now, I have been here for 8 months. I am a Proficiency student at Kaplan Aspect. All of my teachers and host family are very proud of me because I improved very quickly. Additionally, I am participating in the internship program and I am a student program assistant. You can do it like me. Why don’t you choose the homestay option?? You can do it! We can help!

problems. Bush either understood when the specialists told him that there weren't nuclear bombs in Iraq, or maybe he didn't want to understand. The brokers of Lehman Brothers Bank also didn't listen when the guys of Goldman Sachs said that they had to have a credit analysis to lend money and they understood haven't or maybe they just wanted to hear the songs of the coins. And it's important also to advise Rap clips' directors that girls aren't excited all the time, because these guys think they are. Ignoring the "NO" could approximate us to our dreams, mainly when someone is trying to convince you that they are not possible. But we gotta pay attention to the NO when the danger is coming in our direction.

Empire State Building News & Activities Update New Course Cambridge Exam Preparation • Prepare for the Cambridge First Certificate

2nd & 3rd place essay contest winners! In December 2008 your fellow students participated in an essay contest. We had 3 winners. Nam Hyun Kim and Hye Young Jung were the 2nd and 3rd place winners. The topic was... Your best friend is coming to New York to join you at Kaplan Aspect. What advice do you have for them? What do you wish you knew before coming here? What advice do you have on living in and getting around New York City?

(FCE) or Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)

Come to the front desk for more information

Nam Hyun Kim Low Intermediate B

FREE Courses & Events

Welcome to NYC. NYC is very appealing. Your experience will be very interesting. Many different people from many different countries live in NYC. But each all help to live together. The NYC subway is very convenient and to ride the subway is easy. NYC has a lot of famous places.

♦ ♦

Comedy Hour w/ Cory * Feb 3rd @ 6:30 Cambridge FCE/CAE Sample Class * Feb 9th @ 6:30 iBT Workshop: Independent Essay * Feb 16th @ 6:30 Finding your Passion * Feb 23rd @ 6:30

I am studying in the Kaplan language school. My school is on the 63rd floor in the Empire State Building. The view is very nice. There is a good teacher, good students and

Mark your calendar and bring your friends! Sign up at the front desk!

Feb 09 Essay Contest!!

Here is your chance! Write an essay and submit it to the front desk by Feb 27th. The 1st place winner will receive: - a gift card to Barnes & Noble - his/her essay published in Views from Above - 1 hour of structured study

The topic is….If you could create a holiday celebrating your national culture, what would it be and how would you celebrate?

interesting activities. I have a good time everyday. You will also go to the school. On the first day, you must do a level test and have orientation. I live on the Upper Eastside in NYC. It’s a very safe village. My roommate is friendly and funny. We enjoy watching movies, shopping, and having dinner. I like the park in NYC. Central Park is the best of all. I like to go for a walk on Sunday afternoon. I expect to celebrate Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. During Christmas, shops have beautiful displays. I will see the Rockefeller Center tree and go to the ice rink in December.

I went to NYC 2 months before, time spins away. I will study hard, make a lot of friends and travel. If you like the American drama, Sex and the City, Ugly Betty, and Friends, you must like NYC. NYC has a lot of Charm.

If you are bored, you could fill your heart with new energy as you live here. If you are lonely, you could find gorgeous friends at Kaplan Before coming to New York, you should prepare to open your mind Aspect where there are so many and heart. Then, you will fall in love fancy women and men from all over with New York at first sight. Or, you the world. might find your true love here in New York if you are single. You will So open your heart and eyes as wide as you can before coming here. never know the world until you Then you will have the most preexplore New York, since it is a whole world from your home town. cious experience you have ever had. Don’t be shy! Don’t be afraid! Here is a place where anything is possiWherever you go in this city, you will realize it has so much energy ble. Your dream will come true if and so many things to surprise you. you really want. Please have an Can you imagine falling in love with open mind and warm heart so that a city? I didn’t know I could before I you can make every single day’s came here. The best way to explore experience in New York help your New York is walking on the street. successful life.

Hye Young Jung Advanced D

Every street you pass on will inspire you with different feelings of new excitement.