820 City vs Country

Michele is from a small town. She talks about adjusting to life in a big city.


Joel: So, Michele, you said you are from Canada.

Michele: Yeah.

Joel: What part of Canada?

Michele: I lived in Ontario in a small town called Beaverton.

Joel: Beaverton. And so how big is the town?

Michele: It was pretty small, about seven or eight thousand people I think.

Joel: Wow, that's pretty small.

Michele: Yeah.

Joel: Did you like that?

Michele: I think when I was really little I liked it. It was nice to play outside with your friends and we always felt really safe. When I got older as a teenager, sometimes I thought it was pretty boring being in such a small town, but I think overall it was good to live in a small town.

Joel: What would you do for fun when you were a teenager?

Michele: Well, there was actually a movie theater in our small town so sometimes we'd go to the theater but it wasn't a great one. We usually went outside of the town into the city to go shopping or see a movie.

Joel: And so since then have you lived in any big cities?

Michele: I've lived near Tokyo in Japan, so that's a pretty big city. Yeah.

Joel: So I guess you prefer that then... to your hometown?

Michele: Well, actually I felt that Tokyo was too big of a city.

Joel: OK.

Michele: Yeah, so..

Joel: It's the opposite extreme.

Michele: Yeah, it's so crowded and the people aren't as friendly so...

Joel: That's probably a big difference between a small town and a big town, huh? Like you know practically everyone.

Michele: Yeah.

Joel: So, you walk into a store. You walk down the street, you can say 'hi' to almost everyone.

Michele: Yeah, well, actually, I've also lived in a really small town in Japan too and I prefered the small town in Japan to the big city like Tokyo. The people in the small town knew my name and were very friendly. If I needed any help then because it's a small town, everybody knows everything about the things in the town so if I needed to find a place or if I wanted to join a club I could easily get the information in a small town, whereas in a big city people don't know the things as well, so.

Joel: You also have to be careful what you do because everyone will talk.

Michele: That's true.

Joel: You can't hide.

Michele: In a small town, you don't have as much privacy but I think the friendliness outweighs the privacy issues.

Joel: OK, thanks Michele.

Michele: You're welcome.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

I think overall


Overall it was good to live in a small town.

The term 'overall' is similar in meaning to 'generally speaking'.  Notice the following:

  1. Somethings I didn't know, but overall the test was easy.
  2. Overall, they had no complaints.

there was actually


There was actually a movie theater.

Here, the phrase 'there was actually' is used to show surprise at finding something unusual.  Notice the following:

  1. There was actually a McDonald's restaurant on the island.
  2. I couldn't believe there was nobody home.

opposite extreme


Tokyo is the opposite extreme.

We use the term 'opposite extreme' to describe something that is very different from something else.  Notice the following:

  1. The weather in Singapore is the opposite extreme to Vancouver.
  2. Sometimes I need to experience the opposite extreme.



I could get information, whereas in a big town it's different.

Here, the word 'whereas' is similar in meaning to 'but'.  Notice the following:

  1. It's cool in the north, whereas in the south it's really hot.
  2. He likes to sleep late, whereas I usually get up early.



The friendliness outweighs the privacy issues.

When one thing 'outweighs' another, it is more important.  Notice the following:

  1. The fun outweighs the danger.
  2. The convenience outweighs the cost.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
overall • actually • opposite extreme
whereas • outweigh
  1. She eats a lot of sweets, he prefers salty foods.
  2. It is frustrating work sometimes, but I think the positives the negatives.
  3. What did you think of the hotel ?
  4. I couldn't believe it.  There was a pool in the living room.
  5. She is very moody.  She goes from really happy to the .