English? Not so much
This is a piece I wrote just last week as an assignment for writing & reporting II class. We were asked to profile someone relating to our beat (mine being foreigners in their 20s who live in NY,) and since I consider myself a poor man’s wise-ass I chose to profile a place, rather than a person.
The road was long and bumpy, and it took me a while — and a lot of “no”s — to get there, but at the very last minute I got access to the ELS center downtown, where foreigners come to learn English.
It was an experience, both content-wise and logistically, working on a tight deadline and cramming two-weeks worth of reporting and writing into less than 24 hours.
It kind of reminded me why I’m even doing this whole thing.
“English!” scolded a scrawny looking young man, dressed like a hip-hop breakdancer with a dark blue cap, matching dark blue sports blazer and a shiny ear stud. He held the serious expression for a few seconds before breaking into a wide grin. After all, it was his friend he was chiding, and the instructor seemed more amused than upset. On the wall in front of them, by the white board, was a printed sign that read “English Only” in all caps, underlined. Someone drew a smiley face next to it, which seems to capture the very essence of the ELS center in downtown Manhattan: welcome to America. You’re encouraged to smile.
Want to read the piece in its entirety? Click here.