Maite Hernandez – Our Long Island City Home Fashionista and New School ESL Student
Hometown: Santiago, Chile
Projects: ESL The New School ESL Program
I am a student in the ESL Program at The New School near Union Square. Some of my favorite things to do when I’m not studying is to explore the different neighborhoods and see all of the sites like the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. The Plaza Hotel is one of my favorites because I remember from the movies like Home Alone and, of course, Sex and the City also Central Park because I love Gossip Girl. I recognize the places from the movies and the TV shows that I love. It’s like a movie scene on every corner in New York City.
The difference in just learning a language and learning a language as a part of community is big. It is so much more enriching to actually live in the community here and get to speak English every day. It makes you able to learn things besides just the grammar and the written word. Interacting at the house and in the community, as well as on the streets of NYC, gives learning the language a whole new dimension. My mother is an English professor and last time I was visiting she was with me. I notice a big difference between traveling with someone who can interpret things for me and actually having to speak and understand – it’s survival now to have to speak and understand so it is much more motivating.
My school is very good and I love the part of Manhattan where I study but I am very glad to come home to a quiet neighborhood in Long Island City at the end of a long day. It’s nice to be able to relax and have a little peace and quiet.
My favorite things to do in NYC: SHOP. Need I say more? Fifth Avenue and Chelsea and especially the area called the Meatpacking District are amazing. I love the vibe of the neighborhoods there. The contrast between the low buildings and the industrial feel of the Meatpacking District vs. the High Rises of Midtown near 5th Avenue make it a very cool experience. It’s part of the design and fashion feel that is all around the City.
My future plans are after I finish this course to receive my certificate for the ESL Course which says that English is my second language, I plan to enter the Parson’s Design School, also part of The New School. Of course, after graduation from Parson’s, I want to work here in the fashion capital. There is also a Parson’s in Paris so, I have lots of options.
Advantages of Living in a Community vs. Student Housing: I think it is better to be living in a place like this to develop community than in student housing. Most of the students in my class are from China and Korea. Since it is an English as a Second Language Class, most of the students speak their native language when out of class. This would not serve me well because I would not have the daily interactions in English that I have by living in a multicultural house in a place off-campus. This is a good thing since English has so many things that you really have to speak and use to learn. There is a lot of slang and urban vocab in English. It’s helpful to have people to interpret the funny sayings Americans have like “It’s raining cats and dogs….”
This is an amazing experience in one of the most exciting cities in the world. The movies do not lie when they portray the sights and sounds and the energy of the City.