Speaking (Accommodations, Neighbors & Community)


Idioms & Expressions:

Home sweet home


home is where the heart is (both expressions that mean the things you value are at home)


good fences make good neighbors (this means that the less contact you have with your neighbors, the less likely you are to have problems with them)


neighbor on (this means one place is right next to another place)

My house neighbors on the corner store.


next-door neighbor (the person who lives directly next to you)

That man is my next-door neighbor.


somewhere in the neighborhood of _____ (this expression is used to give an approximate number)

They are trying to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million for the project.


if there’s anything you need I’ll be next door (something to say to someone to let them know you’re willing and able to help them)

Nice to meet you. If there’s anything you need, I’ll be next door.


help yourself (a welcoming expression to let a guest know they are free to eat or drink something)

Help yourself to some coffee if you’d like.


make yourself at home (another welcoming expression you can use to help guests feel comfortable)

Come on in and make yourself at home.


close-knit (an adjective used to describe a community where everyone has a good relationship with everyone else)

I come from a small town and a close-knit community.

mi casa es su casa (A Spanish phrase that means “my house is your house”)


uproot (to move away from a place you’ve been living in for a long time).

My dad got a new job, so we uprooted and moved to a new city.


Part I: Group Discussions


  1. Do you live in a house or a flat? How long have you been living there?

I live in a house, but I have my own room. I live on the 5th floor of the house, so it’s a little annoying to have to walk all the way up, but I can deal with it. I’ve been there for about two months now, and so far I don’t really have any major complaints.


  1. What do you like about your home? Is there anything you would like to change/ improve about your home?

I like my room because it has a really nice view. I like to watch the rain fall on the city, and see the lightning strike during storms. The only problem that bothers me is that it’s really hot. It gets so hot that I wake up with sweaty sheets, which I don’t really like. Also, the bathroom is on the next floor down, so you have to walk all the way down there to use it, which can also be annoying.


  1. What would your dream house be like?

I don’t really need a big house. I think I would be happy in a similar situation to what I have now – just a small, comfortable apartment with a landlord who will take care of the important things for me, since I’m pretty lazy.


  1. How long do you think you will continue living in your present accommodation?

For another new months, I think. After that, maybe it will be a good time for a change, or maybe not. I’ll figure it out when the time comes, or “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it,” as they say.

Part II: Individual Presentations

Describe one of your neighbors. You should say:

  • When you two become neighbors
  • Do you often meet?
  • State whether your neighbor is a good person

I moved into a house in Vietnam two months ago, and became good friends with another American guy who lives in the house with me. He’s from the same area I’m from, so we have a lot in common. We had met before, in the city of Seoul when he was visiting a mutual friend, so it was nice for me to move into a place where I already knew someone. We meet pretty often to grab a beer, play music, or just hang out and exchange gossip. Usually when I come home, he’s in the common room on the first floor, so we chat for a bit. I think he’s a good, genuine person, and I think if I needed help with something, he’d be there for me.


Part III: Class Discussion


  1. Do you think it is important to have a good relationship with your neighbors?

Not necessarily. If you have a conflict with them, then it’s important for you to be able to resolve things, and this will be easier for you if you like each other. But other than that, you can hang out with your friends just as easily as your neighbors.


  1. Some people say that people help others in the community more now than they did in the past. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

I disagree with this, because for most of human history, a person’s neighbors were the only people they had if they needed help. Travel was a very rare thing for most people, so your immediate community became sort of a big family. Now, everyone is more busy and they move around a lot. I think this leads to more shallow connections in communities.


  1. What is a good neighborhood for children?

I think you need to live in a quiet area that’s safe for kids to run around. I live in an alley in Vietnam, and my main concern is the traffic! Motorbikes are always driving through the alley really quickly, and I’m afraid that they’re going to hit one of the kids.


  1. What are some of the ways people can help others in the community? Which is the most important?

People can help each other in almost any way: helping them move furniture, cook meals, do errands, or watch each other’s kids. And if someone has fallen on hard times, then neighbors might be able to give financial assistance. But I think the most important way to help other people is to listen to them and be around if they need someone to talk to.


  1. Which affects a person’s personality more, the hometown or the current city? Why?

I think a person’s hometown affects their personality more. Formative experiences tend to be just that – they make a person who they are. So, the environment you were raised in tends to have a bigger say in who you are. When you are older you move to a new place, you react to this new place in different ways, but I wouldn’t say it changes your personality much.