Part 1 – Introduction & Interview
Let’s talk about your home town or village.
Q. What kind of place is your home town or village?
A. Ahh! Well, I come from a village which is located on the outskirts of the city centre “Trichy” in India. I was born there and spent my childhood in this village. Afterwards, I moved to a city with my family. Still, if I have to say what kind of place it is then the first thing that would come to my mind is that it is a picturesque village. Wherever you turn around you can see lush green paddy vegetation and sugar cane fields and people over there are very friendly and lead a much simpler life. I could figure out the exact difference since I have been in both places.
Then, yes, the environment is much better there. Fresh air, virtually no traffic congestion, no pollution and fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant in this village. On the whole, it is an excellent place to live in.
Q. What’s the most interesting part of your home town/village?
A. The most interesting part of my village is, of course, the friendly people who manage to lead a fairly simple life and the genuine smiles they would offer you every time you talk to them. They might not have expensive earthly possessions, modern technology and posh houses or cars, but they are rich beyond imagination in their heart.
Another fascinating thing that I personally find very interesting in my village is a really old temple that has been there for as long as I can remember. The way rituals are performed there by local people are quite unique and laudable. This place, which is only a few kilometres away from our grandparents’ home, has always been a strange, ritualistic and lively place.
Q. What kind of jobs do the people in your home town/village have?
A. Most of the people in my village are farmers, fishermen and small business owners. A large number of people also work in a sugar cane factory when they do not cultivate their lands or grow any crops. Of course, a few educated people are employed in different organisations and work as doctors, bankers, engineers and technicians. Having said that, since everyone is getting an opportunity for a better education nowadays, a few people have also moved out to cities as my family did many years ago. Many of them are placed in prestigious positions in various cities.
Q. Is your home town/village changing? [How?]
A. Yes, it is changing slowly, but steadily. Every city, town and village in our country is transforming because of infrastructural developments, rapid population growth, and the widespread use of the technology. My village is changing as well. Though the changes are not so visible or drastic, I have to accept that it is getting better over the past few decades in terms of educational facilities, transportation facilities, health care facilities, employment and infrastructural developments while it is getting worse in terms of pollution and environmental damage.
Q. What changes would you like to make to your home town/village?
A. Well, a few problems still prevail in my village, and I believe that those should be sorted out soon. The first change that I would like to make in my village is the development of the transportation facility. My village has not got many nice roads and better transportations. So I would like to enhance the transportation facility so that people can commute easily and trade and business can flourish. Next, I would like to make sure that every single person in my village has access to clean and safe water. Finally, I would like my village to have a few more entertainment facilities for people as there are almost none.
Part 2 – Cue Card/Candidate Task Card
Describe an interesting phone conversation you had with someone.
You should say:
- when you had this conversation
- whom you talked to
- what the conversation was about
and explain why this conversation was so interesting.
[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]
Model Answer 1:
I had a very interesting phone conversation recently and I would like to talk about it. It was Sunday and the clock was ticking at around 11.00 am. All of a sudden I got a phone call and I received it. It was very baffling initially as I was confused whether it was a recorded message or a real person was talking over the phone. I stopped the girl who was talking and asked her to talk very slowly. She was a marketing executing of some sort of electronic consumer selling office. She told her name Anne and I had real double whether that was her actual name or not!
She called me to talk about some promotional offers their company had announced. I told her that I was not interested but she was quite persistent not to let me drop the phone. I am quite acquainted with annoying marking and call centre phone calls and the type of scams they are after. I told that girl I would not be interested in buying anything and then she told me whether I would be interested in buying an electric shaver! That was quite a coincident because I was indeed in need of it. I was a bit confused about whether she had any sort of data about me or not. I asked her to contact me later but she started describing the features of their electric shaver!
After a few minutes I cut the conversation all of a sudden and she tried to reach me a few more times but I did not pick up her call. So far that must have been a very typical phone conversation until I got a call from another number and she told me that she was one of my cousins who pretended to be a salesgirl and talk to me a few minutes earlier. I was quite amazed by the type of fun this cousin did with me. I had not talked to her for many years and that’s why had not the slightest hint about her vocal.
We, later on, talked about our work, study and family and she asked me to visit her hometown someday. The conversation with this cousin (her name is Mirtha), especially when she pretended to be a salesgirl was quite funny and interesting in my opinion.
Sample Answer 2:
Usually, I do not prefer talking over the telephone unless it is so important to me or to the caller. Besides, I also do not use my mobile phone frequently. But recently I had an interesting phone conversation with my cousin who lives in Japan.
I am an undergraduate student in Cambodia. But the majority of my relatives are living in other countries. In fact, we are a global family due to some special reasons. My talks with Mao Chaan, one of my maternal cousins was really enjoyable and interesting. He actually made the phone call for my mum and I picked that as mum was out of the home. The conversation was held in the evening. In fact, I just returned from college and heard the phone was ringing. So, I had to pick the phone and talked to him for the next half an hour.
Mao Chaan is a smart boy. Currently, he is having his MA in International Affairs from a University in Japan. He will return to Cambodia in the next month. He takes care of my family as he is like a family member of my own. In fact, he was brought up with us. My parents brought him our home and he lived with us for a long time. My maternal aunt was sick after the birth of Chaan. She somehow became paralysed and could not move some of her body parts. So, my uncle, being a very busy man with his export and import business, asked my family to look after his child. So, immediately after his birth, Chaan started living with us like a family member of our own. My dad has helped him in all possible means and treats him like his own son. On the other side, Chaan is also respectful to my family members.
The conversation was about a lot of issues. Actually, Chaan wanted to know if my mum needed any specific things that he could bring from Japan for her. But since mum was unavailable right then, he asked me. I was surprised by such issues. Actually, I did not have any ideas about such things that my mum will be in need of. Besides, I also did not take part in any domestic activities. My mum takes care of things. So, I was unable to tell him about the necessities. Then he started mocking me. He did the mocking with me when he was with us. Such childish behave! He always tried to irritate me. When I was a kid, I got irritated with the slightest mocking but now the situation was different.
This was an interesting conversation for me. When Chaan failed to irritate me by recalling some of my childhood names, I started attacking him. I made him remember some of his evil deeds that are only known to me. Besides, his girlfriend is my best friend at university. I also threatened him to expose the truth of stealing foods and other stuff from the kitchen to make a picnic with the local boys and such other issues. In fact, Chaan was one of the wicked boys in the locality and used to create mischief in association with the other local boys. He also said that he will bring nothing for me when he returns. After exchanging such sweet threats, the situation was neutralised and I concluded the conversation. However, I really enjoyed the phone conversation with him.
Follow-up questions/ Rounding-off questions:
Q. Which one do you use more often – a mobile phone or a telephone? [Why?]
A. Well, I use my mobile phone most of the time primarily because it offers portability and technological advantages over a telephone. Usually, landlines are suitable for home use only, and it is impossible to carry them out with us even if we want to. On the other hand, mobile phones, especially smartphones, have many great features including connectivity to the internet, music playing facility, and chatting and gaming options and could easily be carried wherever we go.
Q. Are international phone calls expensive in your country?
A. Yes, international phone calls are still expensive than local phone calls in my country. One minute of international calling costs four to five times more than the local calling charges for the same duration. Furthermore, the call rate varies from countries to countries as well. In my country, this rate is even higher than in some other countries I know about. Due to the higher international calling rates, people these days prefer online communication platforms and applications like Skype, Telegram, IMO, Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat and so on.
Part 3 – Details Discussion:
Q. How important is it in your culture to have regular conversations with your friends and relatives?
A. In these days, I don’t really think that having regular conversations with our friends and relatives in Indian culture is as important and valued as it was even a few decades ago. In fact, sometimes these days, many of us don’t even want to have conversations with our own parents because we “claim” to be too busy with our jobs, maintaining status and other materialistic priorities. But, having a regular conversation with our friends and relatives is still considered to be important, compared with other cultures. In India, even though our busy life schedules don’t permit us to do so as often as we would have preferred.
Q. What, in your opinion, is the best way to keep in touch with friends abroad?
A. To keep in touch with friends who live abroad, we can send them postal letters and cards, email them, text them, call them on their mobile phones or chat with them online. However, considering the costs of international calls, we can use social networks or online communication tools like Skype, Facebook Messenger, Viber, IMO, WeChat, WhatsApp and so on which cost virtually nothing. I prefer using WhatsApp, Telegram and Viber to keep in touch with my friends who live in a foreign country. And to get their updates, I connect them on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Q. How different is the way people used to make new friends in the past with that of today?
A. The scope and opportunity to make new friends in the past was rather limited in my country, comparing to that of today, in a sense that people in the past didn’t really need to meet many new people outside of their family and friend circles to survive. But, today, as we expect much from our lives, and as we have greater access to different kinds of advanced communication technologies, we don’t hesitate to make new friends, be them from a distant land or from the same neighbourhood, because it helps us eliminate many of the complex problems that we face on a regular basis one way or another.
Q. What is the impact of the online-based chatting systems and social networking websites on the way we make friends and contact with them?
A. Well, I think the online chatting platforms and social networking websites have changed the way we make friends and keep in touch with them to a great extent. For instance, nowadays we can make friends from other countries and keep in touch with our friends anytime we want. This has significantly reduced our communication costs and hassle to contact someone who stays far away. People with similar passions and interests can create fan pages and connect more people on the platform, raise their voice and protest for any unjust and thanks to the online platforms and social networks for that. On the downside, people can pretend to be someone else on those platforms and can deceive others. Moreover, those social networking websites and online chatting platforms are addictive and kill valuable time. Finally, the relationship people these days have via social networking platforms or on chat-rooms is not as strong as it used to be in the past.
I would say, this is a paradigm shift from our early generation and we should take advantage of these technological advancements and be wary of the negative consequences.
Q. Has technology reduced the cost of long-distance conversations with friends and family? How?
A. Yes, in India, technology has certainly reduced the cost of long-distance conversations with families and friends in a very significant manner with the advent of the tools like mobile phone, smartphone, computer, social media networks and the online messenger services. In fact, with all these tools and technologies, along with the internet connection facility, people can carry onto having continuous chat or conversation with their friends and families, even if they live world apart, by spending only a fraction of the money that was used to communicate through the postal system, land phone or telegram message in the past.
Q. How dangerous it is for someone to use his cellphone while driving a car?
A. Existing traffic laws, in most of the countries, completely ban the use of cellphones while driving as it is one of the leading causes of car accidents on the roads. I personally feel that using a mobile phone while driving is like inviting a casualty to happen, and no one should talk or text while he or she is behind the wheel. A slight misjudgement or a simple mistake on the highway can cause severe casualties and cost lives. Using cellphones while driving simply haze our judgement as we have to concentrate on the conversation. Considering the possible fatalities and accidents, I think besides prohibiting the use of cell phone while driving, heavy fine should be imposed on people who violate this law.