Speaking (Work / Study / Festivals)


Idioms & Expressions:


work / life balance (or school / life balance) (nouns; refer to the parts of your life taken up by work and life)

My job keeps me too busy to maintain a good work / life balance.


burn the midnight oil (verb; to stay up late working on something)

I have an exam tomorrow morning so I’m going to be burning the midnight oil tonight.


up to your eyeballs in _____ (an expression that means someone is dealing with a lot of something; generally a negative connotation)

I am up to my eyeballs in homework tonight.


cram (verb; means to study for something immediately before a test on the material)

I can’t go out tonight. I have to cram for my exam tomorrow morning.


keep your eye on the ball (verb; means to “stay focused” on something)

Keep your eye on the ball when you’re at work or else your boss might get angry.


get a kick out of (something) (verb; means to find enjoyment or amusement in something)

I really got a kick out of the movie.


a hell of a time (an expression that means someone is really enjoying something)

My wedding was awesome. Everyone showed up and had a hell of a time.


milestone (noun; a word used to mark an important event or an important amount of time)

She recently marked the milestone of her 30th birthday.


Part I: Group Discussion




Why did you choose your job?

Well, I don’t think most people like to work. I work because I need money so I won’t starve.


What are your working hours?

I work all day. I work at a YouTube channel in the morning, I intern at a website in the afternoon, and I teach English at night.


Tell me something about the people who work with you.

I mostly work with local Vietnamese people, as well as a few expats.


What don’t you like about your job?

Well – you have to show up to your job if you want to make money. Most jobs don’t let you skip work if you don’t feel like attending.




Why did you choose your subjects?

I chose to major in Film because it’s a very easy subject. All I had to do was watch movies and write a few scripts during college.


When do you prefer to study on your own?

Almost always. Other people distract me when I’m trying to focus.


Tell me something about the other students in your course.

This question isn’t really relevant to me because I haven’t been a student in a very long time.


What don’t you like about your studies?

Well, when you study you have you do a lot of busywork – this is just work that the teachers give you to keep you occupied. I think this is a terrible waste of time.




What sports are popular in your country?

The most popular sports by far are NBA and the NFL. We don’t really watch soccer – very few people in the US follow that sport.


Did you learn any sports at school?

In PE class we learned all types of sports. I liked the non-traditional sports like dodgeball.


How often do you watch sports?

Almost never. The sports games I like are played in America, and they are broadcast when I’m asleep in Asia. So I watch the highlights when I wake up in the morning.


Do you play any sports at the moment? Which ones?

I recently played tag rugby, but I stopped because I wasn’t very good at it and it didn’t fit my schedule.


Part II: Individual Presentations


Describe a special event (e.g. a festival, carnival or other celebration) that takes place in your country. You should say:


When the event takes place


Why it takes place


What people do


And explain why the event is special


The Fourth of July is a big deal in the US – since it’s our Independence Day celebration. If the day is during the week, then most people get the day off from work. It’s usually celebrated by getting together with your family and friends and having a barbecue with burgers and hot dogs in someone’s backyard. The event is special because it’s a good remembrance of the founding of our country. Also, it’s really nice to have some time off from work.

Part III: Class Discussion

  1. What sort of occasions do families and friends like to celebrate?

Besides the typical holidays, people celebrate graduations, birthdays, wedding anniversaries and important milestones such as getting into university.

  1. How important are celebrations in people’s lives? (Why/Why not?)

They’re pretty important because noteworthy events deserve to be marked and celebrated, and they also give you a nice break from your daily routine.

  1. Should people have time off work for important celebrations? (Why/Why not?)

I definitely think so. However, many people still have to work on these important days such as July 4th and Memorial Day – since many stores stay open throughout the holidays. So it’s a luxury to have time off for these days.

  1. Why do many people enjoy participating in national celebrations?

Well – it’s fun to have a party. Also, if you’re patriotic, then these events are even more important for you.

  1. Have national celebrations become more or less important over time? (Why?)

I don’t really think so. At least in my memory, all of these holidays have always been just as important as they have always been before.

  1. What sort of things do you think countries will celebrate in the future?

I don’t think celebrations will necessarily change. I can’t think of any celebrations that would need to be added to the calendar – we already have quite a few.