Views #1456 | Intermediate (B2)

Brain Drain

Pernais and Doron discusses the problem of brain drain and the trend of young people moving to cities.

Doron: In England I don't think we have much of a problem with brain drain, but I think we have, like an internal problem maybe, like all of the best jobs, or at least the best paying jobs, seem to be in London. So like, a lot of people have to move to London if they want to do the job they're interested in, and it just makes London really crowded and expensive because everybody has to live there, it seems.

Pernais: Sounds like Kingston.

Doron: Really?

Pernais: Yes.

Doron: Everybody moves to Kingston?

Pernais: Everybody's moving from rural areas to Kingston.

Doron: What's the population of Kingston now, do you know?

Pernais: I think it's about a half a million.

Doron: Half a million. And was it much smaller before?

Pernais: I think it was because a lot of people lived out in the countryside, because farming was very profitable, maybe, some decades ago. But now that, you know, technology is changing everything, people want, like, office jobs and they want to earn more, so lots of people actually move into the city areas now.

Doron: Yeah, I think technology in the near future might actually help to stop that because you can pretty much do most jobs online from anywhere. It's like, personally, I wouldn't want to live in London. I'd rather live somewhere a little more rural, more peaceful, cheaper, and be able to do my job online. So maybe that's something that'll change in the near future.

Pernais: Hopefully.

Doron: Are you from Kingston?

Pernais: I am.

Doron: Are you actually from the middle of Kingston? I remember you have a town with a really cool name, right?

Pernais: I'm not from the middle of Kingston. I'm from... just outside city center.

Doron: How far outside city center?

Pernais: 8 miles from Kingston.

Doron: And what's the name of your hometown.

Pernais: My hometown is called Bull Bay.

Doron: Bull Bay?

Pernais: Yes.

Doron: I thought it was called "8 miles from Kingston"

Pernais: Sometimes they call it that.

Doron: Were you kidding me when you said that?

Pernais: No, the bigger part of it is called Bull Bay and then that's subdivided into 8 miles, 9 miles, 7 miles.

Doron: So place names outside of Kingston are actually named after how far they are from Kingston.

Pernais: Yes.

Doron: That's one of the coolest things I've ever heard. I live 8 miles from Kingston. Where do you live? I live in 12 miles from London. That's a great name.

Pernais: Or sometimes it's shortened to 8 miles.

Doron: Wow. Like in Detroit. Maybe that's what it means, in the movie.

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

brain drain


England does not have a problem with brain drain.

Brain drain is a problem poorer countries often have with their educated work force going to foreign countries to earn higher wages.

  1. To stop brain drain, the government is trying to improve opportunities at local universities.
  2. One country's brain drain, is another country's brain gain.

internal problem


We have an internal problem of everyone going to London.

Internal means inside, so when a company or organization has a problem inside the company, it is an internal problem. Notice the following:

  1. The company has an internal problem of low motivation among its staff.
  2. The company did not want its competitors to know of its internal problems.

rural areas


People are moving from rural areas to the city.

Rural means the countryside and urban means the city. A rural area would be a place with lots of nature and open space. Notice the following:

  1. Crime is usually lower in rural areas.
  2. Young people tend to move from rural areas when they come into adulthood.

decades ago


Farming was profitable decades ago.

A decade is ten years, so something that was decades ago, happened at least ten years ago and probably much more. Notice the following:

  1. Decades ago, I used to be a good athlete.
  2. Decades ago, that song was popular, but not now.



The city is subdivided into three parts.

When you subdivide something you break it up into parts, and each part is then considered to be a separate unit, often with a name, address, or marking.

  1. The house was subdivided into three apartments.
  2. The city is subdivided into the old center and commercial district.

one of the coolest things I've ever seen


One of the coolest things I've ever seen.

This is a common construction in English. When speakers want to communicate how special something is, they often say it is one of the best "somethings" they have experienced. Notice the following four examples:

  1. He is one of the coolest guys I've ever met.
  2. She is one of the smartest people I've ever encountered.
  3. It was the funniest movie I have ever seen.
  4. He is the oldest man who's ever worked here.

Vocabulary Quiz

subdivided • decades • brain drain
rural • internal
  1. The field was into four areas for different crops.
  2. I sent an memo just for management to read.
  3. Countries with many students abroad face .
  4. I have not heard that song for .
  5. The areas of the country are very peaceful.

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Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
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