Views #359 | Intermediate 4

University Life

Miki talks about her university.
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Todd: Miki, you went to UC Berkeley, a very famous university in the U.S. What is your university like? Why is it famous?

Miki: Why is it famous? Well, I suppose historically it's kind of famous, recent history, because it was a center for the freedom of speech movement in the 1960's and the civil rights movement, and it's pretty much where multi-culturalism, feminist studies and those sorts of so called liberal political movements were born and they're still quite strong today on campus and so students kind of get drawn to that, the political aspect of it I suppose, also the, it's a research university and it attracts nobel laureates, very famous professors, at the top of their field, it's also quite a beautiful campus, I love the campus, it's not, it's not, how do you say?

Todd: It's not like maybe a college town, or?

Miki: Ah, no, it's not really a college town, of course, because it's right smack in the middle of a metropolitan area which is the Bay Area, and just right across the bay from San Francisco. The natural scenery is quite beautiful. There's the ocean to the west. There are mountains to the east and just beautiful gorgeous sunsets going down into the Golden Gate. The natural scenery is just beautiful, and the architecture of the campus is quite beautiful too, and apparently during the war, World War II, a number of tests were done on campus in terms of integrating floral species with each other, and so you have firs next to cedar which is a strange combination. The idea was would they kill each other.

Todd: Oh, Wow! That's awful!

Miki: Yeah, no, so there's some scientific engineering going on on campus.

Todd: But the trees survived?

Miki: Yes, as a matter of fact.

Todd: Well, that's good. You can't fool nature.

Miki: No. no, but it is a beautiful campus, and I went there for four years as an undergrad. I lived in the dormitory for the first year and I lived in the co-ops from the second through the fourth year and the co-ops are kind of a housing community that's owned by students, it's run by students and is there for quite cheap so it attracts poor students who work, while they go to school at the same time, and that's who I was. I worked at a restaurant, I worked at a sandwich shop, I worked at a toy store, I worked as a secretary to put myself through school and lived quite cheaply in these co-ops which incidentally also had marvelous parties and almost every weekend there was some party somewhere that one of these co-ops was putting on, and it was really wonderful.

Todd: Wow! Sounds like a good time.

Miki: Yeah!

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!


It was a center for the freedom of speech movement.

A 'movement' is a group or association of people who all believe in the same thing and who are working towards the same cause. 'Movement' can also be used to describe a particular action by a group or association.

Notice the following:

  1. I think he belongs to some sort of political movement.
  2. There was a march through the city to do with the freedom of speech movement.

get drawn

Students kind of get drawn to that, the political aspect of it.

When you 'get drawn' to something it means that you become interested in something or feel a pull to be a part of it.

Notice the following:

  1. Don't get drawn into an argument as it is pointless.
  2. I got drawn into a group of people who were not good for me.


It's right smack in the middle of a metropolitan area which is the Bay Area.

A 'metropolitan' area is a large city and usually includes the suburbs around it.

Notice the following:

  1. The metropolitan transport system is very good.
  2. I don't really want to live in an metropolitan area.

can't fool

Well, that's good. You can't fool nature.

When you 'can't fool' something it means that you cannot trick it or deceive it.

Notice the following:

  1. You can't fool me!
  2. You can't fool her as she has a lot of common sense.

put myself through school

I worked as a secretary to put myself through school.

When you 'put yourself through school' it means that you finance your own studies. Maybe you do this by saving a lot of money before you start school or maybe by working while you are in school.

Notice the following:

  1. I had to work in a bar in my spare time so that I could put myself through school.
  2. A lot of people are having trouble putting themselves through school these days, as the fees are getting more and more expensive.

Vocabulary Quiz

movement • drawn • fool
metropolitan • herself
  1. There is a large local and organic food in this area.
  2. There are more things to do if you live in a area.
  3. If you live in a rich and fashionable area it is easy to get into materialism.
  4. It was very difficult, but she managed to herself through law school.
  5. Even though he is just a kid, he's really smart. You can't him.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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