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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

English for Advanced Learners - Practise with Videos

Have you hit a wall and don’t know how to improve your English as an advanced student? How does watching videos in English and answering questions about them sound? This exercise will definitely help you and give your English a good push to the next level.

One of the best ways to learn English (or any language) is listening to it. A lot! When you listen to a language you learn new vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar simultaneously. Moreover, if you pair listening with an image (video) the results are impressive because videos allow viewers to understand more through association.

Watching videos in English is an excellent exercise for improving your English skills. In the blog we have already recommended different websites and channels in Youtube where you can watch great videos in English on any subject. But Diana (helping-you-learn-english) and I wanted to help even more, so we decided to select interesting videos from various topics and write a series of related questions. The combination of watching, listening and answering the questions will help you practice and improve your English.

The first video we selected, focuses on a new system (ESTA) that travellers need to apply for in order to travel to the US. We found the video from CNN’s video library and it is read at a normal pace, perfectly suited for learners at an advanced English level. Although if you have a lower English level and still want to try, go right ahead!


ESTA US security application

Warm up questions before you watch the video:
  1. Have you ever travelled to the US before?
  2. What was your experience like with security?
  3. What changes would you make to security to make things safer? More comfortable?

The video:




Watch the video and while you watch the video try to answer the following questions:
  1. What does the new US system ESTA stand for?
  2. This is a big change to the US travel system. When did the last big change like this occur?
  3. The US is the only country introducing ESTA. True or False
  4. How long can you stay in the US once your application has been approved?
  5. Does ESTA replace your need for a passport?
  6. What are authorities encouraging travellers to do in order to make the process easier?
  7. Can you travel in the case of an Emergency or last minute booking with the ESTA system?
  8. What is the typical waiting period for ESTA application approval?
  9. If I told you I paid $100 for my ESTA application, would you congratulate me on getting it for less than $300? Why or why not?
  10. What is the cheapest way to apply for ESTA approval?

Final questions:
  1. Describe the four steps of the ESTA process.
  2. Do you think that ESTA will make travelling safer?
  3. Why would the US introduce this form of security?


Answers to the questions, PA stands for possible answer:

ESTA US security application

Warm up questions before you watch the video.
  1. Have you ever travelled to the US before? PA: Yes I have. I went to Florida, Disney World about 10 Years ago.
  2. What was your experience like with security? PA: I remember the security and passport control people were very serious. I felt nervous like I had done something wrong and they were going to find out...even though I KNEW I hadn't done anything wrong.
  3. What changes would you make to security to make things safer? More comfortable? PA: Um, maybe if they had eye scans in addition to passports...or a finger print scanner. Something that makes it next to impossible to impersonate someone. That sounds really futureistic though.

Watch the video and while you watch the video try to answer the following questions.

  1. What does the new US system ESTA stand for? PA: It stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization
  2. This is a big change to the US travel system. When did the last big change like this occur? PA: This is the biggest change to occur in the last 25 years.
  3. The US is the only country introducing ESTA. True or False A: False. It is also being introduced in much of the European Union, Japan and Australia
  4. How long can you stay in the US once your application has been approved? PA: You can stay in the US for up to Two Years or when your passport expires. Whichever happens sooner.
  5. Does ESTA replace your need for a passport? PA: No it does not. You still need a passport to travel in the US.
  6. What are authorities encouraging travellers to do in order to make the process easier? PA: Authorities recommend applying as soon as travel plans are made and to apply no later than 72 hours before travelling.
  7. Can you travel in the case of an Emergency or last minute booking with the ESTA system? PA: Yes you can. You can make the application last minute but for your peace of mind it is better to do it as soon as possible.
  8. What is the typical waiting period for ESTA application approval? PA: Typically ESTA applications are approved within 6 seconds (99% of applicants will experience this quick approval).
  9. If I told you I paid $100 for my ESTA application, would you congratulate me on getting it for less than $300? Why or why not? PA: No I wouldn't. I would have told you that you had been ripped off because anyone and do the application for FREE online.
  10. What is the cheapest way to apply for ESTA approval? PA: The cheapest way to apply is online because it is FREE.

Final questions:
  1. Describe the four steps of the ESTA process. PA: Step 1, complete your application. Step 2 Submit your application. Step 3 Recieve and record your application number. Step 4Recieve confirmation of your application.
  2. Do you think that ESTA will make travelling safer? PA: I am not sure if ESTA will make travelling safter but it will provide authorities with more information about each traveller.
  3. Why would the US introduce this form of security? PA: I believe that it is trying to increase security and reduce the risk of terrist attacks on the country. Being more informed about who is travelling within the US might prove useful in future situations.

This document has been written in collaboration with Diana Tower, an English teacher with 3 years teaching experience. She is also the author of the free Web page Helping you learn English.

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