Looking back on 2019, what is happening now and where we will be in the future!
The past few months have been tough for everyone, but particularly for students far from their families and distanced from their friends and classmates. But like all difficult times it will pass. In this blog we take a look back at life at Zoni in 2019 and remember all the interesting, exciting and fun things that we did. Then, we will check in on how students are doing learning virtually while campuses are shut. We will look at some of the difficulties faced and how Zoni helped students to overcome these issues. And finally, we will look to the future and some of the things we can look forward to once things start getting back to normal.
Fantastic memories of life at Zoni in 2019!
2019 was a great year! It was a year that saw new campuses open, field trips, celebrations, parties, and in general a lot of positivity! Let’s take a quick look back at some of our favourite moments from last year!
Washington D.C. trip
On June 28 we held our first large-scale field trip of 2019. On this trip students got to experience American history and visit some of the most important monuments in the United States, like the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the American History Museum and many more! Students had a blast! You can see pictures of the Washington D.C. field trip on our facebook page.
New campus – Palisades Park
In September, Zoni opened a new campus in Palisades Park, New Jersey. This was Zoni’s 10th campus. The opening was attended by local media, community leaders and was a lot of fun - especially the ribbon cutting ceremony!
In the third week of September, Zoni held their annual boat party. Famous amongst students, the boat party is a must attend! Students get to see New York and New Jersey from a totally different perspective. In addition to sightseeing, students danced the night away to a DJ. Highlights of this event were seeing the sunset and then the lights of Manhattan as it got dark. Check out the photos of the boat party on our facebook page.
October was a busy month with both a field trip and Halloween! On October 30, students went on a second field trip, this time to Philadelphia and Amish Country. In fact, one of the stops on the trip was Independence Hall, the building where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were adopted. In addition, students saw the Liberty Bell and various other important sites in and around the Independence National Historical Park.
The stop at an Amish settlement let students experience a very different way of American life. Students were impressed by how the Amish live without things like cell phones, internet and many other things we take for granted. Animal lovers were also able to pet the various farm animals at the settlement which was a huge highlight for students missing their pets!
A collection of photos of some of the fun things we did in 2019
Every year Zoni celebrates Halloween. A beloved American holiday, Zoni students are encouraged to embrace this exciting (and sometimes terrifying) cultural activity. Students and teachers across all campuses put on spooky costumes for class! In fact, in Manhattan students performed Michael Jackson’s Thriller outside Zoni’s campus! More photos can be found on this link.
The last big event of the Zoni 2019 calendar was the holiday party. Held at the Manhattan campus on Dec 20, students, teachers and staff could enjoy dinner and lots of dancing. Students had a blast and used it as an opportunity to catch up with friends and classmates one last time before the holidays. With some luck, we will also be able to hold this party again in 2020 - fingers crossed!
The unexpected - 2020 the year of surprises
When 2020 began, no one was expecting it to turn out the way it did. In February we had taken our very first ever Ski trip to Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania and plans were underway for more field trips and activities. Zoni campuses were full of students excited to improve their English - everything was great! Then came Covid-19 and things changed in a way that no one could have imagined.
Schools across the state and then the country were all forced to close to help stop the spread of the virus. Luckily, Zoni already had a virtual platform for English learning in place and was able to transfer thousands of in-person students to the Zoni Institute, Zoni’s virtual school. However, there are thousands of students across all of Zoni’s American campuses. In order to properly plan, move and help students, Zoni closed for just 2 weeks.
During this time, students with financial and other difficulties were able to apply to Zoni for assistance. This help covered many different aspects of student life. From scholarships and discounts to visa support and even internet! Zoni provided help to 306 students.
In no time, Zoni was back up and running and students were getting used to classes online. Students have enjoyed their virtual lessons. They still get to see their teachers and classmates and interact in real time. It has helped them to keep socially connected and feel supported during this challenging time.
Photos from the Zoni Food Program
Looking after students is our priority. Without them there could not be a Zoni Language Centers! So, when students told us that they were struggling to make ends meet and were going without food, we stepped up. Zoni organised a program called the “Zoni Food Pantry”.In this program Zoni provided food for one week to any Zoni student, former student and their families. The Food Pantry has taken place at 7 campuses (Manhattan, Jackson Heights, West New York (NJ), Passaic, Newark, Brooklyn and Flushing. In total, 1235 food packages have been distributed and we are happy that our students and their families have food to eat.
What about the future?
As the situation with Covid-19 gets slowly better, we are able to start planning our return to campus and the Zoni way of life! At this stage it is difficult to say when exactly we can go back to class but there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel!
Once back at school we will all need to make sure we take precautions and wash/sanitize our hands regularly, keep a safe distance and avoid sharing food and drinks.
Eventually things will go back to normal. Until then, enjoy your life as a virtual student! If you have any difficulties or need assistance of any kind, please contact your campus manager.