On April 23 finalists of the 2014 National Public Speaking Competition were invited to a luncheon at the residence of US Ambassador Jeffrey Levine. Here is what Gertrud Metsa from Tartu Hugo Treffner Gymnasium had to say about the event.
Since I can’t remember my own birth, yesterday had been one of the most prominent days of my life. I will probably never forget that I had the privilege to not only meet but to have lunch with Jeffrey D. Levine. The ambassador was a humble and lively man with unquenchable curiosity and a very good taste in watches. Topics at the lunch table ranged from videogames, language skills to college choices. I hope the tradition to have lunch with the six finalists from the National Public Speaking Competition continues, as it will give the competitors something else, except winning, to look forward to.
The English-Speaking Union has branches in 55 countries, the United States of America being one of them. As a way to support newcomers to the country in improving their English skills and give them confidence to carry out conversations and not feel lost in the local cultural environment, the ESU of the US set up a program by the name of English in Action. Based on conversations with local volunteers, it is a mutual learning experience by which the newcomer learns about English and life in the US while the teacher can learn about their partner’s culture and language.
In addition to conversation classes, the program also offers Here/There – regularly published worksheets that teach idioms, expressions, and all things related to life in the United States. These are a good learning tool not just for those seeking to or already settling in in the States, but also for everyone looking to improve their understanding of American culture and linguistic specifics.
ESU Estonia’s very own Zinaida Jevgrafova has introduced her students to the program to great results. She has been using the exercises in the monthly Here/There newsletter since November 2011 to provide her students with something different from the usual material. The students have been enthusiastic about the variation in study methods as well as the chance to learn “real American English” and become more aware of the country’s culture.
This learning tool is perfect for anyone looking to further their knowledge of English and American culture in a simple way that doesn’t consume too much time. Teachers might find it a great opportunity to provide their students with a break from the usual routine. Why not head over to the English in Action website and learn more?