Speaking (Gifts / Experiences)


Idioms & Expressions:

I got you a little something / it’s nothing big (both phrases you can use when you give someone a gift)

I got you a little something for your birthday. I hope you like it.


regift (verb; this term means to give someone a gift that someone else gave you)

For her birthday present, I regifted a book that my brother gave me last year.


in a rut (prepositional phrase; means you are working hard but not seeing any improvement)

I’m stuck in a rut. I’ve been studying all month but my test scores haven’t improved.


creature of habit (noun; this is a person who enjoys doing the same things every day)

I usually wear the same outfits and eat at the same restaurants. I’m a creature of habit.

break with tradition (verb; means to do something different than what you have done in the past)

We broke with tradition and had hamburgers on Thanksgiving.

comfort zone (noun; this is a situation where everything is easy and familiar for you and nothing is a challenge)

I went skydiving so I could get out of my comfort zone.

take the road less traveled (an expression that means to do the less popular thing)

familiarity breeds contempt (an expression that means we begin to dislike things we are familiar with)

Part I: Group Discussion

  1. When do people give gifts or presents in your country?

On birthdays and Christmas, primarily. And also for special events like graduations.

  1. Do you ever take a gift when you visit someone in their home? [Why?/Why not?]

If I ever get invited to a dinner party, I’ll bring a bottle of wine. People in the West like wine.

  1. When did you last receive a gift? [What was it?]

I last received a gift for Christmas, I think. I got a few pairs of Captain America socks from my new stepdad (the guy my mom had just married)

  1. Do you enjoy looking for gifts for people? [Why?/Why not?]

Yes. I like to give gifts to people, especially if it’s the right fit for them.

Part II: Individual Presentations

Describe something you did that was new or exciting. You should say:

what you did

where and when you did this

who you shared the activity with

and explain why this activity was new or exciting for you

When I was 19, I went to China with a group of other students from my college. It was a summer missionary trip and we visited the city of Xi’an to work with some orphans and volunteers there. We spent seven weeks there, getting to know local people and experiencing the Chinese lifestyle. It was a big stretch for me at the time, because I hated Chinese food before that trip. I had an amazing time. It was the first time I’d really left the country and spent time in a culture that was completely different from my own. This was a long time ago, but I still look back on it fondly as one of the best times of my life.

Part III: Class Discussion

  1. Why do you think some people like doing new things?

People enjoy novelty. As they say in English “familiarity breeds contempt.” We get tired of things quickly.

  1. What problems can people have when they try new activities for the first time?

Well, they can be a little apprehensive because they’re beginners, and don’t know how to do that new activity yet.

  1. Do you think it’s best to do new things on your own or with other people? Why?

It depends on what it is. Some experiences, like perhaps yoga, are activities you get more out of if you do alone, I expect.

  1. What kinds of things do children learn to do when they are very young? How important are these things?

Well, they learn everything. They learn how to run, ride a bike and socialize. Everything kids learn is important for the future.

  1. Do you think children and adults learn to do new things in the same way? How is their learning style different?

No. Kids throw themselves into things more wholeheartedly, I think.

  1. Some people say that it is more important to be able to learn new things now than it was in the past. Do you agree or disagree with that? Why?

It’s probably more important now, because now that automation is coming and will be replacing many jobs, we need to be able to pick up new skills and do new jobs in order to make enough money to live on.