66 American Life


Yoko talks a little about her stay in the United States and why she went there.

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Todd: OK, Yoko!

Yoko: Hi!

Todd: We're going to talk about your trip to America.

Yoko: Trip to America. OK.

Todd: OK. When did you go to the U.S.?

Yoko: It's about 4 years ago.

Todd: And what did you do?

Yoko: Actually, I went to Michigan and I worked as a volunteer teacher in public school.

Todd: OK. What was the public school like?

Yoko: It was not big, and so it was not big. I don't know how to say that, so what should I say....

Todd: It was just a small school?

Yoko: Yeah. Small school. So only maybe 200 students I think.

Todd: Oh, really!

Yoko: Yeah, it was really small.

Todd: Wow, that is small.

Yoko: Yeah, yeah.

Todd: Did you know all the students?

Yoko: I don't think so. I just visited some classes. Yes.

Todd: So what did you think of America?

Yoko: I think it is a great country for many people who wants to try new things.

Todd: OK

Yoko: You know, so for example I did not have any special skills to teach, but they let me to work there as a volunteer, and they gave me a great oppurtunity to meet a lot of students, who are really nice I think.

Todd: Ah, OK. I agree. What were your students like?

Yoko: They were really motivated to learn Japanese, but they didn't learn a lot. They just, they just wanted to play with me, from other countries. Who is from, sorry!

Todd: OK. Do you have any special memories from your trip?

Yoko: Yes, I visited lots of places by myself and I was really afraid of speaking English to people there but they tried to understand me, and they helped me a lot and I really think OK, they are lots of people who are nice all over the world.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

volunteer teacher

I went to Michigan and worked as a volunteer teacher.

A 'volunteer teacher' teaches lessons, but does not get paid to teach.  People volunteer to do many things to help people and to gain experience.  Notice the following:

  1. She worked as a volunteer teacher in the Peace Corps for two years.
  2. The clinic is looking for volunteer nurses.

public school

I worked in a public school.

A 'public school' gets money from the government for teachers and supplies. Notice the following:

  1. The public school system in this area is really good.
  2. You get paid more if you teach in a public school.

great country

I think America is a great country.

A 'great country' is a country that is very good in at least one area.  We can put 'great' in front of any noun to show that it is good or remarkable. Notice the following:

  1. They make great pizza here.
  2. The Beatles made a lot of great songs.

special skills

I did not have special skills to teach, but they let me work as a volunteer.

'Special skills' are unique abilities that you need to perform a task.  Anything that you know how to do that is not something everyone knows is a special skill.  Notice the following:

  1. What kind of special skills do you have?
  2. He learned a lot of special skills while he was a volunteer.

by myself

I visited lots of places by myself.

When you do something 'by yourself' it means that you do it alone or without someone that you know.  Notice the following:

  1. I would never go to a party by myself.
  2. I prefer to go for walks by myself or with my dog.

 

Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
volunteer • public • great
special skills • by himself
  1. I have a lot of that would help me in this job.
  2. Although he has a real job now he still works as a fireman once a month.
  3. steaks are what this restaurant is known for.
  4. He drove across the country to see her.
  5. They are building a new library in town.