Thursday, May 21, 2015

Intermediate 2: Chicago, the windy city.

Click here. Listen to the recording and fill in the blanks with one word (select to see the solutions).

Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. Some of the things it is famous for are pizza, gangsters and sports. This is the Wrigley Field, home to the Chicago Cubs, Chicago's oldest baseball team.
Many American people call Chicago the second city because for a hundred years it had the second biggest population in the country. It was smaller than New York, but until the 1980s it was bigger than every other American city. Today Chicago is a very popular tourist destination. Every year over 30 million people visit the city. They go to the Millennium Park, the newest park in Chicago They walk along the shore of Lake Michigan, the second largest of the five Great Lakes and they admire the view from the top of the Willis Tower. The Willis Tower used to be called the Sears Tower and for 25 years it was the tallest building in the world. In 1969 Sears Roebuck and Company, the largest department store chain in the world at the time, built the tower to use its office blocks. 
Today the skyscraper is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. It is still the tallest skyscraper in the US, but it isn't as tall as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, or the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
Chicago's other famous nickname is the Windy City. People say that it is windier than other major cities but weather experts disagree. In fact, scientists predict that Chicago will have a very different climate in the future. They say that it won't be as cold and windy as it is now but will be warmer and wetter
This will mean many changes but Chicago is further ahead than most other cities in its preparations for climate change. The city is constructing new environmentally friendly buildings, planning more parks and green areas and placing big hedges alongside the city's pathways. Chicago is also investing in new roads and car parks for electric cars.
Chicago is a changing city. The windy city's famous climate is going to become much warmer. Chicago will be a hotter more tropical place than it is today. This will cause problems but at the moment America's second city is one of the first places to properly deal with pollution and climate change. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Intermediate 2. Video: Education in Great Britain.

Watch the video and fill in the gaps with ONE or TWO words. (Select the blank spaces to see the answers)
Click here

Glossary:
Core subjects: asignaturas troncales
Lectures: clases en la universidad
Literacy: alfabetización
Numeracy: habilidad con los números
Tuition: instrucción, clases / costo de matrícula
Vocational training: FP

Transcript:

Some people say that school days are the best days of your life. Well, if they're not the best, they're certainly very important. Full-time education in the UK is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 11. About 93 per cent of pupils in the UK receive free education. The other 7 per cent attend private schools.
Children attend primary school from the ages of 5 to 11. There are about 25 to 27 children in each class. One of its aims is to teach children to read well and to handle numbers. Schools usually devote an hour to literacy and an hour to numeracy every day. In the UK there's a computer in every primary school. In fact, the average is 16 per school. In secondary schools that figure rises to over 100. A lot of this equipment is bought with money that schools and parents collect through special events and sponsorship
Children go  to secondary school when they're 11. They usually have to wear a school uniform. This may be a shirt and tie and a special jacket called blazer. But it is often simply a sweatshirt and trousers in a particular colour. 
Most school days start at about a quarter to 9 and finish around 3 o'clock. Many students stay for lunch and either take sandwiches or have a school dinner. Except for Scotland, state schools in Britain follow a national curriculum. The emphasis is on the three core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science. There are national tests in these subjects for all 14-year-olds. After they're 14, students also study subjects such as Information and Communication Technology, Design and Technology and a modern foreign language. 
After they're 16, students take GCSE exams. Around 70 per cent of students then continue to further education, specialising in 3 or 4 subjects. They may take AS level exams after a year and then at 18 they take A (or advanced) level examinations. Students can choose any course at any university, but they have to get the right qualifications to be accepted. Between school and university, some people take a gap year, a year out of education, for work experience or to travel.
One in three students goes on to higher education, either to a university or to do vocational training in subjects such as engineering or travel and tourism. 

(Tour guide: "The city of Bath is what we call a Georgian city, and we call this a Georgian city because during the 18th century when the majority of...")

Qualifications are increasingly important, but going to university is expensive. Parents have to pay for each year's tuition and provide living expenses for their children. Many parents can't afford this, so students have to take out loans
Well-known traditional universities like Oxford and Cambridge are among the oldest in the world. And most large towns and cities have at least one univesity. The majority of universities teach by lectures and seminars. Students work hard but they play hard too. Life at university is fun. In their first year students often live in a room at the university. After that, they find a flat in town. There are lots of societies to join and sports to play and at the end of their courses, students pass their final exams and graduate. 

Basic 2. School.

Watch the video and learn more things about schools in the UK. Click here.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The British General Election

Here is a guide explaining the British general election for people who are not familiar with the political system in the UK. Click here and enjoy!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Education

Watch this video about schools in Great Britain. Click here.
And now learn more about education in the USA. Click here.
Click here if you want to read about the difference between a college and a university.

Basic 2. Clothes

Listen to the conversation and choose the best answer. Click here.
Glossary:
Pants (USA) = trousers (UK)
To rain cats and dogs: llover a cántaros
Might: podría
Tuxedo: esmoquin

Basic 2. Listening comprehension. Shopping and prices

Listen to the recording and choose a, b or c. Click here.