Speaking (Working, Writing & Traveling)


Idioms & Expressions:


a way with words (an expression that refers to a person who is very skilled at writing)

I like reading his articles. He really has a way with words.


rat race (a noun that refers to the competitive workplace environment)

For my sanity, I had to leave the rat race and quit my job.


corporate grind (a term used to describe the effect that working very hard has on a person)

The corporate grind was starting to take a toll on his health.


travel light (verb, this means to travel somewhere and only take a few things with you)

Make sure you travel light – pack everything in your carry-on bag for the plane.


hit the road (verb, this means to begin a journey)

Let’s hit the road and head out of the city for the weekend.


off the beaten track (an adjective that describes a place that is remote or hard to reach)


in the middle of nowhere (prepositional phrase with the same meaning as “off the beaten track”)

We found a village in the middle of nowhere! We had to hike in the mountains for two days to find it.

Gridlock (a noun that refers to traffic congestion)

Traffic today was total gridlock. I was sitting there for an hour.


Part I: Group Discussion


  1. Right now, are you working or studying?

Right now, I work. I work as a teacher in an IELTS center. I also make some YouTube videos for Vietnamese people who want to learn English.

  1. Why did you choose this job?

I have a lot of teaching experience, so teaching is a good fit for me. When it comes to making videos, I like doing those because it’s a unique and creative experience.

  1. Do you like to write?

I really like to write. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend my time. I think it helps me focus and organize my thoughts in a logical way, which is satisfying.

  1. What sorts of things do you write?

I usually just write short nonfiction pieces about my life and what’s going on. They’re sort of written in the style of emails that I would send to a friend.

  1. Do you prefer to write by hand or to type?

I like to type. My handwriting is too bad to read, even for me. But sometimes if I want to take my time and brainstorm, then writing on paper is a better way to write.

  1. Did you write a lot as a child?

I did. Since I grew up near a library and we didn’t have a TV, reading and writing were the two ways I spent my time when I was a kid.

Part II: Individual Presentations

Describe a bicycle, motorbike or car trip that you are planning for the future. Please say:

Where and when do you want to go
With whom would you go there

And explain why do you want to do it

I think it would be cool to drive my motorcycle from Hanoi down to Saigon. I might do that when I leave Hanoi. I’m not sure when that will be, but it will be a good way to see the entire country of Vietnam. So far I’ve only been to Danang and a few other places in the country, so I have a lot left to see. I think I’d like to travel alone because I like setting my own pace, waking up when I want, and stopping to eat whenever I want. But I imagine I’ll encounter some other travelers on the way, since it’s a popular drive for people, especially foreigners visiting the country.

Part III: Class Discussion


  1. Do you think that a motorbike can be helpful to each and every person? Why?

In a nation like Vietnam, yes. But I imagine in the future it’ll be different, when the roadways are more developed and cars become more commonplace. But right now, having a motorbike is really convenient and makes life pretty easy.

  1. Do people like to complain about the narrow roads in your country?

In the big cities like LA, absolutely. Those roads were built a long time ago, in the 1950s, and the population has exploded in the recent decades. Therefore the roads are always congested and it makes it hard for people to get around on time.

  1. How can village people travel?

I think in Vietnam they either drive motorbikes or they take a van or bus between provinces. If they don’t travel that way, then they take a bicycle, or they walk.

  1. Do you think nowadays people are more attracted to cars than to other types of vehicles? Why?

If they can afford it, then absolutely. Cars are generally safe and convenient. They’re bad for the environment, though, and they clog up the roads in cities like Hanoi, which other people find very frustrating.

  1. Can transportation affect the environment?

Absolutely. A big reason we have a problem with global warming is because billions of people get around in cars or planes every day.