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Views #1334 | Low-Intermediate 4

Big Neighbor

Ana and Paul talk about the feeling small compared to something that is big.


Michael: So Ana, I was wondering, are you familiar with the term inferiority complex?

Ana: Yes. I think I've heard it before.

Michael: Well, you know, sometimes when a person feels he is not quite as good as other people at something then he can feel inferior or not as good. But this is also true for countries sometimes. For example, if there's a very small country and it's next to a very big country, such as Portugal and Spain, would you say that's the case in your country?

Ana: Yeah, that's interesting. I think that's definitely the case in our country. Spain is a big country and in terms of the economy, they have been doing a lot better than Portugal recently. And actually, we're starting to get a lot of products from Spain. So things that used to be produced nationally before, now are being imported from Spain.

Michael: I see.

Ana: And also in terms of other things like banks, a lot of our major banks in Portugal are Spanish now. And a lot of Portuguese students are moving to Spanish universities because the education is better there.

Michael: Really. But you have some very old universities and a very old tradition or academic tradition in Portugal as well then, do you?

Ana: Yes, we do. And actually, our universities are full but I think the problem is that they're not growing enough, so there aren't enough places for Portuguese students in our universities. So many of them are moving to Spain. It's very interesting but also a little bit sad that we can't provide the education that these students need nowadays.

Michael: I see. If you look at Portugal on the map, you can see it's much smaller than Spain. What about the population? How many people live in Portugal?

Ana: I think we have about eleven million people.

Michael: Eleven million people.

Ana: Yeah. So it's not very big. But actually, it might have changed in the last few years because so many Portuguese people are moving to other countries around the world. Since the credit crash and everything that's been happening with the economy, there haven't been a lot of jobs in Portugal.

Michael: All right. I read a story in the newspaper of the – was it the minister of foreign affairs or the minister of the economy in Portugal advised young people, young Portuguese people to leave the country and find jobs elsewhere because there are no jobs for young Portuguese people. Is that true?

Ana: Yes. That was a big scandal actually because, yeah, the government recommended young Portuguese people to move to other countries when in fact we think that they should be creating jobs in Portugal for new people.

Michael: So people were quite angry. So how was that? What were the people's reactions?

Ana: I think people were quite angry. It's a reality though. So many young people are moving overseas. But we understand that at this point, it's more of a survival instinct and we should go if we want to get a job.

Michael: And then maybe – do young people who leave the country want to come back and work in Portugal again when the economy is better?

Ana: Yes, I think so. I think most people want to go back to Portugal but I think we might have to wait a few years before things are back on track.

Answer these questions about the interview.
Audio Lessons about Phrases and Vocabulary



We can't provide the education that these students need nowadays.

Nowadays means current times. Notice the following:

  1. She is getting sloppy nowadays.
  2. Nowadays, kids do not play outside much.



Since the credit crash, there have been few jobs.

Here, a crash is a sharp drop in a market. Notice the following:

  1. The 1929 stock market crash changed the world.
  2. The credit crash is hurting the economy.



That was a big scandal actually

A scandal is an event that people feel is morally or legally wrong. Notice the following:

  1. There was a scandal over fake test scores.
  2. The scandal is all over the news.


at this point


But we understand that at this point.

The phrase at this point means at this time. At that point refers to a time in the past or future. Notice the following:

  1. At this point, we should give up.
  2. At that point, we started to fight.

survival instict


It's more of a survival instinct.

A survival instinct is a feeling animals and people have to avoid danger. Notice the following:

  1. He used his survival instinct to survive the wild.
  2. Fish swimming up river is a survival instinct.

back on track


We have to wait before things are back on track.

When something is back on track, it is operating again after a delay or slowed progress. Notice the following:

  1. After fixing her tire, she was back on track.
  2. His illness slowed him down, but now he is back on track.

Vocabulary Quiz

nowadays • scandal • crash
at this point • survival • back on track
  1. If the markets , we will lose jobs.
  2. Well, I think we should all go home.
  3. We need to get the project .
  4. You see lots of tattoos on people .
  5. The country was shocked by the .
  6. Animals often attack as a instinct.

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