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Test 13 / 20

You will hear five short extracts in which people are talking about leaving their own country to study abroad.


Task 1

For Task 1, why each speaker decided to study in another country.

Speaker 1
to be nearer to places of historical interest
Speaker 2
to explore an alternative career
Speaker 3
to turn a dream into reality
Speaker 4
to pursue a simpler lifestyle
Speaker 5
to extend skills already acquired

Task 2

For Task 2, choose from the list what each speaker says they gained from the experience.

Speaker 1
a greater sense of motivation
Speaker 2
the opportunity to make useful contacts
Speaker 3
a completely new interest
Speaker 4
a new sense of independence
Speaker 5
a feeling of being at home

Speaker 1
I wanted to study medieval culture at university, but needed to earn some cash first, so I thought working as a plumber might help me achieve that. However, the idea of a short plumbing course in my own country didn’t appeal, so when I discovered one in an old European town I jumped at it. I’m bilingual so I knew language wouldn’t be an issue. But what made it perfect was all the ancient ruins in the area, which I was just itching to explore! Once there, I felt really driven to do well – there was just this new sense of optimism. I even went on to be the college’s best apprentice!

Speaker 2
My brother and I had always played a lot of tennis, and I was about to take it up professionally but then injured my leg quite badly and had to drop the idea. So I upped sticks and got on a plane to do a sports science degree at a really old and prestigious university. It gave me a real sense of helping the next generation of top athletes to achieve their dream even if mine had somehow changed direction. And they were really grateful for that, so their recommendations opened a number of doors for me once my studies had finished. That was incredibly valuable.

Speaker 3
I’d always been a great fan of detective stories and I suppose I’d always imagined myself being the one who solves the crime and catches the bad guy. Then quite by chance, I happened to read about a forensic science course in the States and realised it was my big chance as it would get me exactly where I’d always wanted to go. My family couldn’t get over it when I announced my plans. But the great bonus has been that loads of films are made in the area where I’m living, so I’ve got into that art form now. I’d never really seen myself as a movie buff before!

Speaker 4
I’d lived in the city all my life and had plenty of friends there but we were all rushing around frantically as city-dwellers do. Anyway, I’d been reading about problems with the environment and felt increasingly I wanted to do something; but what? Then I discovered a course where I could train in agriculture and rural development, so off we went – me and my family. The area also offered perfect opportunities for me to apply my new-found knowledge, and I realised I no longer needed to rely on anyone to give me a job. We could go anywhere where I could set up by myself. It was exactly what we all needed.

Speaker 5
I’d just qualified as a dentist and knew I could earn good money locally but the kind of jobs that were available just didn’t appeal, somehow. And the only courses that tempted me, if I wanted to top up my qualifications, meant going abroad; so off I went. [25] In fact, even though the course I chose was in English, we were strongly encouraged to learn the local language as part of our studies. And that turned out to be the best thing I ever did, because knowing the language made me feel I really belonged in the place. I ended up settling there, and I haven’t looked back since.

Test 1 / 20

You will hear five people speaking about their community centre.


Task 1

Choose from the list, what different groups are mentioned.

Speaker 1
Dance classes.
Speaker 2
Language courses.
Speaker 3
Facilities for young people.
Speaker 4
Regeneration projects.
Speaker 5
Community welfare programme.

Task 2

Choose from the list, what, according to the speaker, each centre offers the community.

Speaker 1
Entertainment.
Speaker 2
Improved chances of finding work.
Speaker 3
Family assistance.
Speaker 4
A better area to live.
Speaker 5
Housing assistance.
Speaker 1

In our centre we offer lots of different courses and to all ages. It’s a lot of fun when we have the hall packed with people. Every Wednesday and Friday there are classes of ballroom and traditional dance.

The look on the people’s faces tells you everything you need to know. Everyone always seems to be enjoying themselves and having a great time. We get great crowds and really gives a good sense of liveliness to the place.

Mostly we get parents and people of that age but we’d like to start classes aimed more specifically at young people. So far we haven’t been able to decide what kind of dance classes we should try and arrange and also we’d like to see more boys come but finding one that all young teens will enjoy is not easy.

Speaker 2

In recent years the unemployment levels have been quietly rising and it’s on the jobs front where the effects are starting to be seen. We are partly government funded organisation and as much as possible operated by the local community for the local community. Job preparation and job assistance training are the primary services we provide.

Of late we’ve been running several language classes every other evening. On average half of those who do sign up for our classes do so with the intention of emigrating. So although we may lose people from the area at the very least the chances of them gaining employment and re-entering the workforce will be substantially increased.

Speaker 3

Our group runs in conjunction with the local council and we generally maintain contact with the local schools. That’s how we came to run after-school programs. There’s no real structure to it as such but we have an area for them to work on any school work or projects.

We have a few computers, a pool table which is free to anyone. We always have a trained teacher on staff but that’s more for the younger kids. We don’t have daycare because that would be stretching ourselves a little too thin but children from early primary education come in for a few hours after their school finishes usually to wait for an older sibling to pick them up.

I know it helps out the parents a lot. Normally school finishes a few hours before the parents finish work so knowing their kids have a place to go where they’re monitored gives them great peace of mind. It works for the children too as they’re being looked after and not being babysat.

Speaker 4

Local pride is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly and it’s an easy thing to miss. I suppose I feel it more now that I’m in my 50s because it’s certainly nothing I noticed as a youngster. I came to town several years ago and became involved in a Tidy Towns project.

We take volunteers but there is a core group of around 20 who go around the town and for example if there is an area of public land that is not well attended to we may try and spruce it up. We’ve managed to convince the local council to allow us to convert one or two small pieces of land around the area so that they can be used as a place for recreation for families or visitors. We’d like to get control of one or two unused buildings and convert them so they could become of use to the community.

Speaker 5

We work in an area of the city where the prices of properties have been going up for some time now. The rate of inflation is not reflected in the earning of most people and we see a lot of people struggling to keep up with mortgage payments and the increasing rental prices.

Supplementary benefits and payments are probably the principal service of income we provide along with affordable housing schemes. There is a shortage of houses on the market at the moment so this in turn is driving the prices up to unsustainable levels for the people have been living there for a long time. We have seen many families move out of the area while a lot of properties are reportedly being bought up by multinationals with the intention of development for commercial use.

Test 2 / 20

You will hear five people speaking about their jobs.


Task 1

Choose from the list, what each speaker is looking for in their jobs.

Speaker 1
Flexible hours.
Speaker 2
Good annual vacation time.
Speaker 3
Location.
Speaker 4
Promotion.
Speaker 5
A challenge.

Task 2

Choose from the list, what each speaker’s job is.

Speaker 1
Computer programmer.
Speaker 2
Educator.
Speaker 3
The speaker’s job involves conservation.
Speaker 4
The speaker works in sales.
Speaker 5
A public servant.
Speaker 1

Most of my experiences come from working in telecommunications and I liked it. I was rarely working in the same place twice, which meant a lot of driving, but the work was easy. I left, not because of any dispute, but because my schedule was too rigid.

I started doing an online course in computer programming while I was still working for a telecommunications firm and with my previous qualifications I was able to do a two-year programme and attain my qualification that way. It allowed me to quit that job and work remotely, so as long as I’ve got an internet connection I can work from anywhere in the world. I’ve never taken my laptop to the beach or anything like that, but I like the fact that I could if I wanted to.

Speaker 2

20 years in a job is a long time, and especially in one that can be as stressful as teaching, but the days aren’t too long and for the most part the students behave themselves. We have an exceptional group of staff members and it makes such a difference having good people alongside you. Of course, most people suspect that people go into this job for the holidays and to great extent it’s true.

It’s definitely true in my case. Working with children for nine months of the year, and I think everybody would agree, they are deserved. Of course, if you don’t genuinely have a desire for it, I’m afraid you’ll have many very long days and the pupils will very quickly let you know how they feel.

Speaker 3

Most of my career has been in some sort of involvement with environmental protection. Without a doubt, it’s my passion. Living and learning about the world around us, that’s my job.

I wouldn’t change it for the world. The hours are long and the amount of travelling can be quite gruelling, but then when you get to wherever it is you may have been posted, it could be a natural park in New Zealand, or I even had the chance to spend a month in Greenland studying the local wildlife. You realise why you still do the job.

To come and live in some of the most beautiful places on the planet is what I’ve always dreamed of. To be able to combine it with work is phenomenal.

Speaker 4

My job gives me a lot. The days are long but the money is good and I get a company car. My average day consists of driving to retailers in different areas of the country, marketing new products and taking supply orders and maintaining good relationships between supply and retailer.

I must also admit that I have hopes of moving up through the company. In this business, you generally start from the bottom and work your way up, which is what I’m hoping to do. It’s in my contract that after every 12 month period, the directors put us through an evaluation process and promote two new people to higher positions.

I’ve been with the company for two and a half years now and the standard length of time is generally three to four years but I’m hoping to advance sooner if I can. The main reason I left my last job was the fact that there were no chances or opportunities to advance in the media industry. You’re in one position and that’s where you stayed regardless of the time you served with the company.

Speaker 5

I suppose I got into the state sector as it was a natural progression from what I’d studied and what little work experience I’d gained from placement programmes, working with various sections of the city council. I know most people decry public workers, it’s the typical view of bureaucracy and honestly, people are not entirely wrong to hold that view but I relish the job. I need my work to be stimulating or be challenging in some way and it certainly is.

My own department is responsible for allocating funds for public works. We receive proposals all the time but with our endless resources, deciding which project merits funding as opposed to another is difficult. Any use of public funds requires careful consideration as to how best to make it work for the people.