Views #66 | Low-Intermediate 4

American Life

Yoko talks a little about her stay in the United States and why she went there.

Todd: OK, Yoko!

Yoko: Hi!

Todd: We're going to talk about your trip to America.

Yoko: Trip to America. OK.

Todd: OK. When did you go to the U.S.?

Yoko: It's about 4 years ago.

Todd: And what did you do?

Yoko: Actually, I went to Michigan and I worked as a volunteer teacher in public school.

Todd: OK. What was the public school like?

Yoko: It was not big, and so it was not big. I don't know how to say that, so what should I say....

Todd: It was just a small school?

Yoko: Yeah. Small school. So only maybe 200 students I think.

Todd: Oh, really!

Yoko: Yeah, it was really small.

Todd: Wow, that is small.

Yoko: Yeah, yeah.

Todd: Did you know all the students?

Yoko: I don't think so. I just visited some classes. Yes.

Todd: So what did you think of America?

Yoko: I think it is a great country for many people who wants to try new things.

Todd: OK

Yoko: You know, so for example I did not have any special skills to teach, but they let me to work there as a volunteer, and they gave me a great oppurtunity to meet a lot of students, who are really nice I think.

Todd: Ah, OK. I agree. What were your students like?

Yoko: They were really motivated to learn Japanese, but they didn't learn a lot. They just, they just wanted to play with me, from other countries. Who is from, sorry!

Todd: OK. Do you have any special memories from your trip?

Yoko: Yes, I visited lots of places by myself and I was really afraid of speaking English to people there but they tried to understand me, and they helped me a lot and I really think OK, they are lots of people who are nice all over the world.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!

volunteer teacher

I went to Michigan and worked as a volunteer teacher.

A 'volunteer teacher' teaches lessons, but does not get paid to teach.  People volunteer to do many things to help people and to gain experience.  Notice the following:

  1. She worked as a volunteer teacher in the Peace Corps for two years.
  2. The clinic is looking for volunteer nurses.

public school

I worked in a public school.

A 'public school' gets money from the government for teachers and supplies. Notice the following:

  1. The public school system in this area is really good.
  2. You get paid more if you teach in a public school.

great country

I think America is a great country.

A 'great country' is a country that is very good in at least one area.  We can put 'great' in front of any noun to show that it is good or remarkable. Notice the following:

  1. They make great pizza here.
  2. The Beatles made a lot of great songs.

special skills

I did not have special skills to teach, but they let me work as a volunteer.

'Special skills' are unique abilities that you need to perform a task.  Anything that you know how to do that is not something everyone knows is a special skill.  Notice the following:

  1. What kind of special skills do you have?
  2. He learned a lot of special skills while he was a volunteer.

by myself

I visited lots of places by myself.

When you do something 'by yourself' it means that you do it alone or without someone that you know.  Notice the following:

  1. I would never go to a party by myself.
  2. I prefer to go for walks by myself or with my dog.


Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
volunteer • public • great
special skills • by himself
  1. I have a lot of that would help me in this job.
  2. Although he has a real job now he still works as a fireman once a month.
  3. steaks are what this restaurant is known for.
  4. He drove across the country to see her.
  5. They are building a new library in town.