Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Buh Bye!

Two-and-a-half years ago I began working as an ESL teacher at Open Hearts International College, now Open Hearts Language Academy (OHLA). Since then, I've gained valuable teaching experience, cultural knowledge, and, most importantly, lasting friendships.

Today is my last day with Open Hearts, and I feel inclined to employ the trite expression, "all good things must come to an end." I'll be moving on to a new position but will remain in Miami and expect to keep in touch with the Open Hearts community. One way I'll be doing so is via this blog, Meet Us In Miami, which I opened in 2009 so that our ESL students could practice their English writing skills in a fun, interactive way and communicate with each other beyond the classroom.

I'd like to thank the students, faculty, and staff at Open Hearts for making my experience here such an enriching one. Good luck to everybody. I'll miss you guys!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In the Criminal Court

Last Wednesday (2nd November) Reagan's students and ourselves, Melissa's students, had the opportunity to go to the criminal court. Before entering we were in line waiting to be checked by the security. We could smell the heavy atmosphere and really realized where we were! Thankfully, a nice person, Alma Pol, who works in the office of government and is in charge of the liaison and public relations, was there to welcome us.

The first room we entered in the court was already in session. It was impressive to see through the TV screen people in line waiting their turn before hearing the judge's sentence. It sounds strange but it is like we witnessed a production chain. And I forgot to mention that it was only the men who were arrested from midnight to early in the morning... This is a small aspect of the judge's work.

After that we went into different rooms to observe other courts in session. A real gift had been given to us when we got in the judge Antonio Arzola's chambers. He took his time to explain how the judicial system works in the United States, gave us concrete examples and at last gave to one of us the opportunity to wear his robe. The lucky one was Mohammed!!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Monday was Halloween Day!

I had school but not like other days. We dressed up in the morning and had a pumpkin contest.
How awesome is that?
So, for the Halloween Day, I dressed up like a Referee. Almost everybodywas dressed up for "the event".
In the morning, students were discovering all of the costumes and we took lots of pictures with everybody.
It took a long time before we all went to class for the pumpkin contest.
All of my classmates were trying to do "the perfect" pumpkin. And they did pretty well. We were all joking around and having fun. Some students had a talent for the pumpkincontest (like the cat face...)

After all of these, all the pumpkins were exposed on the desk in front of all the students. Everybody was taking pictures again and then the lunch time came.
So, we all sat in our classroom and ate a pizza with a coke.
The contestents were all waiting for the names to come up. We finally voted and the winners were anounced.
After this, I went out to a bar with my friends and after that I came back to my apartment to relax a little bit. I also went to the gym like everyday.
During the evening, I prepared a big dinner with my roommates and friends. So, we all set down and had dinner in the apartment. After the dinner we all decided to go to Lincoln Road. But unfortunately for me, I went to my apartment to look for something and when I came down they were already gone.
So all I did was watching TV and waiting.
So, my Halloween Day was good but I kind of missed one of the biggest events in the US.

Court Trip, sharif

           I always watch trials on TV, and I had always wanted to witness a real trial in court before I went there with my classmates last Tuesday. I really loved that place and I wish I could visit it again. It was one of the most interesting places I`ve ever been to. On Tuesday morning, we got together at the Criminal Court at 10 o`clock.

     As soon as we got in the building, we met a woman from the staff. She was like our guide in the court , sh told us what we were going to do next. The first thing we did was visiting a real court room. We saw the judge setting, the public defender setting in front of him and a clerk. In front of them, there was a screen shows people convicted of different crimes, broadcast from Miami-Dad-County Jail. The judge asked every prisoner several question about his social situation, and based on that the judge judges them.

       After that we went to Mr.Azola`a chamber, who is a judge in the Criminal Court. we sat at his office and asked several questions about different cases. MR.azola was so nice and kind, we spent nice time with him. After that  we went to another court room and witnessed a rial trial looks exactly like the ones I had watched on TV.

    Later, some students left and some stayed to have lunch at 12:30 p.m. We had lunch with our teachers at the local restaurant in the Court House. We had to Leave after lunch, I really enjoyed that day and I hope to visit the criminal Court House again.

Valentina Ramirez

Well it is my first week in Miami as an English student at the Open Heart International Collegue so I haven't done so much in this weekdays it's gonna be boring because I won't have time to have fun as my others school partners, how I envy them.

My first day was on Halloween Day, but I didn't have class because there was a party and everybody was wearing a costume, meanwhile everybody was having fun I was taking two English test to determine in which level I was supposed to be in, after I finished the test I went to "orientation" (Yeah notice the sarcasm) but fortunality it didn't take so long as I expected.

I think I would stay at the party but I couldn't, because didn't have a costume (My first Halloween at U. S and I didn't wear a costume and again I used sarcasm... again) and that day I had business to attend in the bank to make a foreign student account (It was a pain in my ass to wait so long but it's worth it (I guess).

To make it short and simple, my first Halloween in the states was suck and bored.

Over the next few days it was boring too and  also I was tired, because I don't live in the residence with the others student, no I have to stay in my Aunt's House instead at the resident like a dumb ass, and I live like 1 hour from Open Hearts, so that's mean I won't have fun, going to Orlando trips or travel to Key West and another activities.

And back at home my friends surely are thinking "Wow our friend is in Miami, she will have fun" but no they are wrong, I will enjoy this four months so much (sarcasms, sorry I can't help it) the only thing I will do in Miami is wake up, take the bus and the train, arrived at the classroom, study, go back home, eat, study, sleep and repeat (Life is such a bitch guys) and also I have to break my back to pass the T. O. E. F. L with high grades and got accepted in the Miami International University of Art & Design, because I want to study Fashion Design and I know it's gonna be hard but I hope everything is gonna be alright so... that's it.

halloween day in open hearts

On October 31 there was a funny Halloween celebration in Open Hearts International College. The teachers and the administration did an excellent job planning this amazing day. It was a day full of costumes and people taking pictures in every corner of the college. Most of the people were dress up and there were laughs everywhere. Some of the costumes were very well designed, for example the masks, or the ones that were made by usual clothes. One of the costumes that I really liked was the man who was dressed like he was riding and ostrich. I think it was very funny and unique and most of the people liked it.

Another thing I was impressed with was the fact that almost all the teacher were dressed up. For me that means a lot because in some way, they were interacting with the students-either taking pictures or carving the pumpkins.The costume that I liked the most of the teachers was the witch, who had very creative things like the make up, the hair, the nose and other interesting things.

The pumpkin contest was also an important activity that day. All of the students had to form groups of three and carve pumpkins in order to make a funny or original sculpture in it. Everybody did a great job, even the teachers were participating carving the pumpkins. Some of the pumkings were original, some of the were usual. The one that won the contest was the one from elite class that was a funnny cat.

In general, the day was awesome and I really had a great time. I think most of the people liked it because we were also sharing pizza with coke with the classmates. Finally, we didn't have afternoon classes so we could enjoy the rest of the day with friends.


Alicia Manzoni

I began to take classes in Open Hearth because I always wanted to know English and I had a lot of expectation about it.  I never could do it before because I always put my sons in first place and I tried to stay with them in every time that it was possible. That is why I postponed my own things.
I actually enjoy every time in my life,and, studying in Open Heart was not an exception.

One thing that I really liked was when Andres, my first teacher organized a morning out in Key Biscayne in order to know everyone and share a lunch, play volleyball and enjoy some time at the beach.
It was a good time for us because of we had the opportunity to know more about our classmates and different cultures.
I never used to go to the parties or meetings but I enjoyed it so much.

Miami experience - Gustavo Martinez

Being at Open Hearts has been a rerally nice experience. Since I have been here I have enjoyed every single day. The best days were Halloween celebration and the BBQ at the beach.

At the Halloween celebration I had so much fun with the pumpkin carving because it was a totally new experience. The ritual around the pumpkin and the tools used to carve were the first impression I had, then drawing the face draft was something that I enjoyed, because everyone has different ways to make scary faces and others think the faces are just funny. After the drafts were done the team work started and we carved each pumpkin - something really hard to do - smoothly, to avoid damages. Finally the contest where we could see all the creative work some people had done.

Additionally, the costume contest which took place after the pumpkin stuff, showed again the creativity with awesome costumes.

Something that I really liked, was the way we shared the pizza on the break between the two main activities - pumpkin carving and costume contest.

On the other hand, the BBQ was an amazing oportunity to meet new people. The first week most of the people feel isolated because they don't have oportunities to talk with others until that day, when all the people finally share with teachers and students.


Despite  the fact that I arrived late that day I had the opportunity to be in one criminal case, at first was really scary because as the audience you can see everything that happens in the room. for example I was impressed to see prisoners in front of me. they looked so bad, as if they did not do anything but when the case began and the judge and attorneys tell what happened you get shocked, you can not imagine that those people are murders or thieves but the incredible thing is that the lawyers defend or accused the prisoner is like verbal fighting but with really formal words and Is really liked the way the judge talked. They have the power so everything is based in the type of crime and the word of the judge. It is really exciting to see the whole process and how it works all the criminal laws.

Criminal Court- Ana Paula

 I went to the Criminal Court last wednesday with the class when I got to that place,  I saw a lot of people there, also I saw a guy out of handcuffs with the police. I don't know what he did.

First of all I would like to mention  the delicacy and education of the girls who were leading us. They were extremely helpful and showed everything to us.

We saw many cases, also am lot of people who were arrested from midnight until six in the morning, and many stupid cases, such as a guy who tried to kill another with a fork.

Also the girls introduced us the judge of Florida, who was very friendly and told us about some other cases and spoke about death penalty, interesting because in Brazil we don't have death penalty.I would like to stay more time to watch more cases but I couldn't, I had to go.

When I got in the car, I was thinking about those people; What makes a human being to do such thing? I really don't have the answer. I'm sorry for the family, many are young and often the family give a great education but the person choose to go in another direction. It's sad!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Key West - basic2

All the students should visit Key West. Its really nice. Key West is an all "American town".
I went on a bus contrated for college and I had to pay only $45.There You can talk in "Duval street" where there are many beautiful houses and you can see too many shops and populars restaurants like "Sloopy Joes" or "Hard Rock" but If you don't want to spend a lot of money to eat, there is a cheap place where you can eat good pizza for only $3.00. I don't remember the place's name but you can find it in Duval street.


The best and interesting place which I visited was "The Hemingway's house". Hemingway was a famous writer.

Other interesting place which you can visit is the southernmost point of usa that it is to 90 miles to Cuba.

I visited Key West in the Halloween eve and all the houses were decorated with ghosts, monsters and pumpkins. Its was very nice for me because in Spain where I live, this celebration doesn't exist.