Part 1 – Introduction & Interview
Q. Do you like shoes? [Why/Why not?]
A. Yes, I do like shoes mainly because they help me with my mobility. I like them also because they help me to present myself in a more “fashionable” manner in any social or professional settings. Shoes are also considered as a “symbol” of some “status” in our society, and that’s also one of the reasons that I like them sometimes.
Q. How often do you buy shoes?
A. I like to buy new shoes as soon as I find that the shoes, I am currently wearing, are getting old and worn out. However, while I don’t like to buy shoes more than twice in a year, it does happen sometimes that I am buying a particular pair of shoes if I absolutely like them, even though I already have one or two good pairs.
Q. Do you prefer comfortable or good-looking shoes? [Why?]
A. Almost always I prefer comfortable shoes over good-looking ones so that my feet don’t scream in pain when I am walking or working. After all, if your feet hurt all day just because of your shoes, you won’t exactly be able to pay full attention to the things that you do on a daily basis. Once in a while, I buy a pair of shoes that look gorgeous and fashionable, but if they are not comfortable, I often avoid wearing them.
Q. Do you spend a lot of money on shoes? [Why?]
A. Well, it all depends on how we are defining “a lot of money”, but as far as I am concerned, I am an “economic” guy, and I don’t exactly spend a lot of money on shoes because they tend to get worn out sooner rather than later these days no matter how much money I am paying for them.
Q. Do people in your country own too many shoes? [Why/Why not?]
A. I don’t really think that people in my country own “too many” (again, this can be “subjective”) because most people, in my opinion, in Iran, have a rather “moderate” lifestyle (perhaps due to the religious sentiments) where owning “too many” shoes (except for some people, of course) is never a priority.
Part 2 – Cue Card /Candidate Task Card
Describe an enjoyable day you spent in the countryside.
You should say:
- when and where you went
- who you went with
- what you did there
and explain why you enjoyed your experience.
[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.]
I enjoy visiting the countryside of my beautiful country, Iran, whenever I get an opportunity, especially if it is on a bright sunny day during the summertime. Today, I would like to talk about one such enjoyable day when I visited a place called “Darband” which is located in the north of Tehran (the capital city of Iran) last year.
I moved to Tehran just a couple of years ago because of a job (my first job) from a small town, and I didn’t really enjoy the “hustling and bustling” of a big city like Tehran that much. So, when one of my co-workers invited me to join him to visit the countryside last summer, I agreed immediately. And, I sure was glad that I agreed because it was “once in a lifetime” kind of experience. In fact, the joys of riding in a car in the twists and turns of the mountain route (mountain “Tochai”) in the countryside of “Darband”, while also enjoying the luscious green on both sides of the road at the same time, just couldn’t be described in any words. Then, of course, getting to taste the fresh foods, made by using the unique recipes, from the local restaurants there stimulated my taste-bud like never before as far as I could remember.
Anyway, I enjoyed the experiences so much there because the atmosphere was very relaxing with the amazing and peaceful sound of water of the river “Darband” along the way. I also enjoyed it because the mountain site looked really beautiful as it was playing “hide and seek” game with the sunshine and clouds, making the mountains look “dazzling and illuminated” in one minute but “gloomy” the next. Finally, I enjoyed the experience so much because it allowed me to witness a superb reconciliation between human and nature, not too far away from the hectic and hostile (to nature) city life.
Part 3: Details Discussion:
Q. Do you think it is better to live in the countryside or in the city? Why?
A. I think that it is better to live in the countryside mainly because it allows us to enjoy a more stress-free and peaceful life due to a slow pace of life where one can live his or her life with a rather small amount of earning. Besides, living in the countryside also allows us to enjoy breathtaking views of nature with green trees, forests, lakes, mountains, valleys, and meadows that stretch as far as eyes can see. Finally, living in the countryside allows us to enjoy a relatively healthier life because of its limited air and water pollution, as opposed to the environment of big cities.
Q. What are some of the challenges facing towns and cities today?
A. In my opinion, there are several challenges that towns and cities face today. To begin with, over-population – whereby a very large number of people is concentrated in one particular place, putting too much pressure on the land and water resources which cities and town can hardly sustain. Then, of course, there are challenges of extreme air and water pollution because of too many vehicles and industrial waste. Finally, the high crime rate is also a big challenge in cities because a rather limited number of law and order enforcement professionals struggle to keep an eye on the criminal behaviour of such a huge population in most cases.
Q. What are the advantages of living in a large city than living in a rural area?
A. People like to live in a large city because there are indeed some advantages. First, big cities usually have more and better opportunities for employment because there are usually more businesses and industries in the large cities. Secondly, large cities attract more population because they usually have better educational opportunities, with better colleges and universities, as well as better health treatment facilities (ie. more specialized hospitals). Finally, living in large cities provides more opportunities for recreation and refreshment, offered by their large shopping centres, parks and exclusive restaurants among other facilities.
Q. Do you think that people should have permission to build houses in the countryside?
A. Yes, I think that people should have permission to build houses in the countryside, provided that it will not affect or destroy the very atmosphere or environment for which we tend to enjoy and appreciate the countryside, because after all, people do need to find space in order to build their shelters. Besides, if we allow people to build houses in the countryside on the condition that they would actively get involved in preserving it, then we wouldn’t exactly have to depend too much on people from another place to take care of the countryside, which isn’t always an easy thing to do.
Q. Why do so many people move to big cities from villages each year? What can the government do to prevent this migration?
A. As much as people like to live in the villages or the countryside, the reality is that many of them move to big cities because they don’t have enough opportunities for earning their livings sometimes. Besides, villages don’t have adequate facilities for better education and better health treatments most of the times, and as a result, they are left with no other choices than moving to big cities, which isn’t always an easy decision to make.
The government can work on empowering rural people by creating more job opportunities for them in the village and take initiatives to improve the education and healthcare facilities in such areas. Since, employment, education and healthcare are the primary reasons a large number of people move to big cities each year, the government’s initiatives to improve these facilities can deter people from migrating to large cities.
Q. What changes have you noticed during the last few years in the way people live in a small town?
A. Well, time changes and so do the people with it. Over the last few years, I have noticed that people are becoming more and more “competitive” in gaining every material aspect of life by gradually forgetting the virtue of “grace” and cooperation in small towns. I also feel like they are becoming more “artificial” in their attitude and behaviour with other people. However, people in small towns, over the last few years or so, have become more “technologically” savvy. I have noticed that they also have become “smart” in getting familiar with the rest of the world as far as their traditions and cultures are concerned.