633 First Meeting

Tom is a teacher and Martin is a student at the same university. They meet each other.

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Tom: Are you a teacher here?

Martin: No I'm not, I'm actually a graduate student.

Tom: Oh right.

Martin: My name is Martin.

Tom: Hi.

Martin: Hi how are you?

Tom: I'm Tom.

Martin: Nice to meet you Tom.

Tom: Where are you from Martin?

Martin: I'm from Seattle, Washington in the US.

Tom: Is that in the Northeast? Northwest?

Martin: Northwest. Right near Canada.

Tom: Is it cold up there?

Martin: It's wetter than it is cold.

Tom: How long have you been in Japan.

Martin: I've been in Japan for about 6 months.

Tom: And what are you studying?

Martin: I'm studying international cooperation and economics and nationalism in Northeast Asia.

Tom: Is that a master's level or a Ph.D.?

Martin: Master's level.

Tom: Right. How long is the course?

Martin: Oh, it's about 2 years so I'll be done in another year.

Tom: So you're fairly settled here then?

Martin: By and large, yes.

Martin: How about you?

Tom: I'm from the UK. Actually I'm a teacher here. I'm not studying.

Martin: Oh, how long have you been a teacher here?

Tom: I just started this semester about 2 months ago.

Martin: Oh 2 months --very, very recent. How do you find Japan?

Tom: It's brilliant. I really like it.

Martin: Have you been in Japan a long time or...?

Tom: I was in Japan 4 years ago for 2 years. I've been trying to come back since I left.

Martin: I find Japan very, very, very nice. The environment is very nice.

Tom: I mean this is quite a small city...

Martin: I lived in Seoul for about 3 and a half or 4 years and it's nice to have a smaller cleaner city that's a little more laid-back, not so rush rush.

Tom: So tell me about your day. What do you do in a day?

Martin: Generally pretty standard, you know, come up to campus in the morning, study, have class, and then read a little bit, go to the library, and then go back home and go off to work in Oita.

Tom: You work?

Martin: Yeah, just in Oita for one or two days a week.

Tom: OK. Oh that sounds like a nice schedule.

Martin: Yeah, how about you? You're here for how long a day?

Tom: Oh. I get the first bus up in the morning. It gets me here at about 8 o'clock. I have only 3 classes in a day so it's only, what, about four and half hours of teaching. The rest of the time is preparing the lessons, marking the homework, surfing the internet, using the library as well. And then I head home about 6 o'clock.

Martin: Doesn't sound...well, a little busier but...

Tom: It's quite a relaxing schedule, not too intense. And getting home at 6 or 7, I've still got time for a swim or to cook something in the evening.

Martin: Do you go to the club down there or...?

Tom: The public swimming pool next to the park.

Martin: Ah, OK.

Tom: Have you been there?

Martin: No I haven't. But I've walked by there.

Tom: Do you live in that part of Beppu?

Martin: I live in Kamagawa so quite far away from everywhere else but it's nice and very, very quiet.

Tom: That seems like it's important to you.

Martin: As I get older, it gets more important, so.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

graduate student

I'm a graduate student, not the teacher here.

A 'graduate student' is someone who has returned to school after finishing his undergraduate or bachelor's degree. Notice the following:

  1. The university is looking for graduate students to help with student teaching.
  2. She finds her life as a graduate student extremely tiring.

fairly settled

By and large, I think I'm fairly settled here.

If you are 'fairly settled' in a place, it means that you feel comfortable there, and you have found a way to make it feel like home. Notice the following:

  1. He is fairly settled in his new house, but it will take him some time to get everything organized.
  2. You are already fairly settled here, considering you have been here such a short time.

by and large

By and large, I think I'm fairly settled here.

'By and large' can be used if you want to summarize something or just give a general opinion or observation. Notice the following:

  1. I would say, by and large, that this is the best vacation I've ever been on.
  2. By and large, would you say your life is easier here?

how do you find.....?

Since you've been here for a couple of months now, how do you find Japan?

When you ask someone 'how do you find' something, you are really asking for their opinion about it? It is the same as asking 'What do you think about Japan?' Notice the following:

  1. How do you find your neighborhood in terms of safety?
  2. How does he find his new job?


It's nice to have a smaller cleaner city that's a little more laid-back.

A place that is 'laid-back' is really relaxed and not fast-paced. Notice the following:

  1. My dog is really laid-back, so he's a good traveler.
  2. To be successful in a job like this, you have to be really laid-back and not get stressed too easily.

pretty standard

My typical day is pretty standard - it's home, school, home.

Something that is 'pretty standard' is normal or not out of the ordinary. Martin is saying that his daily schedule is normal for a student. Notice the following:

  1. All of these features are pretty standard for cars these days.
  2. Her income is pretty standard for someone in her profession.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
graduate • settled • large
find • laid-back • standard
  1. When you are backpacking, you have to be or you won't have a good time.
  2. That is a pretty price for tutoring.
  3. By and , one of the most difficult things to adjust to will be the food.
  4. She isn't working right now, because she is still a student.
  5. How do you the workload in your Economics class?
  6. If you arrive a few weeks before you start classes, you will feel fairly when school begins.