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Examination Topics


1. Some people think that school years are the happiest days in people’s
lives. Can you say that you have been happy at school? Why?
School  is  the  traditional  place  for  acculturating  children  into  our
national life. In the modern age, the role assigned to  our  schools  is  to
prepare children  for  the  literate  public  culture.  Some  students  like
school, others  don’t;  but  they  all  study  for  eleven  years  and  gain
knowledge by doing different tasks. For students who are doing well in  most
subjects and who want to get  higher  education,  school  is  an  attractive
place. But those who are not  successful  at  school,  and  who  are  always
pressed by teachers and their parents, school is boring and uninteresting.
I think that the most important role of school is giving  knowledge.  I  can
say that my school gives  such  knowledge,  and  that’s  why  I’m  happy  at
school. Most of  my  teachers  have  a  lot  of  teaching  experience;  they
understand very well the difficulties of the learning process. They help  us
to learn all subjects well. They also guide us and advise us on all  aspects
of our study and life. They share their knowledge and  experience  with  us,
and we respond with love.
If you want to study well,  you  must  feel  relaxed  and  happy  with  your
family, school and your social life. Your parents should understand you  and
help you when you need their help. My parents usually help  and  support  me
when I need it. We have  our  school  psychologist  who  also  helps  us  to
overcome difficulties and cope with our problems. The main  purpose  of  our
school is to create a supportive and caring atmosphere for students.
The standard of education in our school is very  high.  I’m  a  rather  good
student really. I don’t have many problems with the work; but I usually  get
into trouble for talking, especially when I speak at the same  time  as  the
teacher.
However I think that sometimes we  have  too  much  homework.  Teachers  and
parents insist that doing homework develops the student’s  ability  to  work
without assistance, or that additional  work  could  help  us  complete  our
education successfully.  But  I  believe,  in  many  subjects,  homework  is
totally unnecessary, because it doesn’t do me any good. I think it’s  really
stupid to copy from a textbook, and there is no  point  in  duplicating  the
textbook. And if we could get rid of unnecessary  homework,  we  would  have
more time to take up hobbies and interests.
School is not only a place of education; it is a place where we develop  our
relationships, increasing tolerance and respect to each other. At school  we
can enjoy different  activities  and  demonstrate  our  individual  talents.
Everyone has an opportunity to take part  in  different  performances  at  a
school or class party, or to take  part  in  different  sport  competitions.
These activities help us with our  education  and  relationships  among  our
classmates. We want to have harmony in our class and among  our  classmates,
but it is rather difficult to achieve. Of course, we try our best to do  it,
and in many cases  we  overcome  our  problems  and  solve  them.  And  only
sensitive teachers can help us, because  boys  and  girls  are  not  passive
lumps of clay; they are living,  pulsating,  developing,  mysterious  beings
who must be studied and understood before they can be  taught  in  the  true
sense.
So a teacher plays an important role in our education, and when we  remember
our school years we usually remember our teachers, if  they  were  fair  and
intelligent or not. I think  that  I’m  a  lucky  person  –  almost  all  my
teachers are very interesting and intelligent. When our  teachers  criticize
us, they follow such rules: they try to  correct  a  student’s  action,  not
him; they do not impress upon him that he has  no  abilities;  they  try  to
contribute to the minds and souls of their students; they try to be  a  path
for their students to go through a dark forest of school rules. But I  can’t
judge all teachers, because there are as many opinions how to treat a  child
as there are people. Teachers must  choose  their  methods  themselves,  but
they should remember that they influence and  shape  the  student’s  opinion
about their school. As for me,  I  think  that  in  our  school  almost  all
teachers understand the  students  and  become  like  parents  to  us.  They
support us and  care  for  us.  I’m  happy  at  my  school  and  so  are  my
classmates.
2. If you want to continue your education, what kinds  of  institution  will
you attends? Explain your choice.
At the age of fifteen, students  in  Russia  have  to  make  some  important
decisions. Will they continue on at school? Or will they enter a  lyceum  or
a gymnasium? Of course, it’s not easy to  make  the  right  choice.  In  our
country a nine-year  education  is  compulsory  and  after  the  ninth  form
students have an opportunity to choose. To enter a university or  a  college
it is necessary to study two more  years,  and  take  five  examinations  on
finishing the eleventh form. To get a professional education, students  have
to enter a technical college or a vocational  school  and  study  for  three
years. Finally, they may finish their education, leave  school,  and  get  a
job. The choice depends on their likes and dislikes.
When choosing a place for future studies, it’s a good  idea  to  consider  a
number of factors. First of  all,  we  should  take  into  account  our  own
preferences and find out what our  talents  are.  We  can  do  this  through
aptitude tests,  interviews  with  specialities,  and  consulting  reference
books on the subjects that interest us.  Different  types  of  schools,  for
example lyceums and gymnasiums, often specialise  in  various  fields.  They
can offer a good choice  of  subjects  that  will  be  useful  in  a  future
profession. Most of them are affiliated with universities and  colleges  and
help pupils to prepare for their entrance examinations.
I am not sure what I am going to do when I  leave  school.  By  the  time  I
finish school I will have already formed a much  better  idea  of  what  I’d
like to do. But the problem is we have to decide  which  subjects  to  study
for university or college two years before we finish school.
It’s not easy to make the right choice. There are  a  number  of  things  we
could do. For some of the most interesting professions, like  medicine,  you
have to be very good at chemistry, and I am not much of a chemist.  Although
my parents are doctors, I don’t seem to be very  interested  in  caring  for
others and helping them with their problems. I don’t  think  it’s  the  best
decision to follow in the footsteps of a parent or a  relative  if  you  are
not interested in this profession.
I have always wanted to be something like a computer programmer,  because  I
like computers and I am interested in knowing how computer programmes  work.
Besides,  I  have  an  aptitude  for  working  with  figures   and   solving
mathematical problems. Maths is my favourite subject, and I am  really  good
at it. So I think I can work in a scientific or computational field. As  far
as my personal qualities are concerned, I can  say  that  I’m  creative  and
hard-working; I have  good  logical-reasoning  and  problem-solving  skills.
Besides, I’m rather communicative and like to work in a team. So  I  feel  I
can become a good specialist in programming.
To my mind the profession of a programmer has a lot of advantages. It  is  a
highly paid job, and it can offer many opportunities.  I  will  be  able  to
work on the full range of development activities, such as analysis,  design,
coding, testing and implementation. Computers are the most rapidly  changing
sphere of modern technology. The next generation of computers will  be  able
to talk and even to think. We are living in the age of  information.  And  I
think that the future will be just filled with computers. Today, in the  USA
people work, go shopping, or even go on dates, sitting at their computers.
But to become a good specialist in computing,  you  should  know  a  lot  of
programming languages and application programmes. So after finishing  school
it is necessary for me to enter a university  or  a  college  and  to  study
computer science. I’ll have to take three entrance examinations:  in  Maths,
Physics and Literary composition. If I am lucky, I’ll  have  the  chance  to
study interesting  sciences,  and  to  listen  to  the  lectures  of  famous
professors.
However, it’s very difficult to pass entrance examinations. The school I  am
now studying in is  a  comprehensive  school  with  a  standard  curriculum.
Though the teachers here are very knowledgeable and experienced,  my  school
only offers general education. So after finishing the ninth  form,  I  would
like to leave it and to enter  a  lyceum  of  information  technologies.  It
gives its pupils profound knowledge in Maths,  Physics  and  other  academic
subjects. Besides, pupils are offered a wide  choice  of  elective  subjects
connected with computers. They study  different  programming  languages  and
learn how to write programmes. The teachers there  are  friendly  and  well-
qualified. The lyceum is known for its academic excellence.
I hope my  education  at  the  lyceum  will  form  a  basis  for  my  future
occupation. But it goes without saying that I’ll need some  extra  knowledge
to pass my entrance exams at the university or college.  That  is  why  I’ll
have to take preparatory courses in Maths and Physics.  Anyway,  I  have  to
get down to some hard work now, if I want to achieve my aims.
3. Choosing a profession is not an easy matter. What do you think  can  help
you to make the right choice?
What do you want to be when you grow up? We have heard  this  question  many
times during our school years. Perhaps, it was difficult for us  to  give  a
definite answer earlier. But now we understand that the time to  choose  our
future profession  has  come.  Finishing  school  is  the  beginning  of  an
independent life for millions of school-leavers. Many roads are open  before
us: technical schools, colleges and universities.
Centuries ago there were only a  few  jobs:  people  were  farmers,  bakers,
butchers or carpenters. Today there are  thousands  of  different  kinds  of
jobs, and new ones are constantly appearing. No wonder that  it  is  not  an
easy thing to make the right choice.
When choosing a future career, we should consider different factors.  In  my
opinion, money is one of the most important factors when you make a  choice.
There are highly paid jobs and low-paid jobs. For example, a businessman,  a
president or a film star, are highly paid jobs. A worker,  a  doctor  or  an
engineer, are low-paid jobs. I think everybody wants to earn as  much  money
as possible. Training, promotional prospects and conditions should  be  also
taken into account.
On the other hand, it’s good when you get satisfaction from your job. It  is
very important to choose a profession  that  suits  your  interests.  In  my
opinion, a job should be interesting and socially important. Some  jobs  are
considered to be more suitable for men and others for  women.  For  example,
the professions of secretary  or  nurse  are  more  suitable  for  women.  A
lifeguard or a pilot are more likely the  jobs  for  men.  You  should  also
decide whether you want to work indoors or outdoors.
To make the right choice, you  should  take  into  account  your  traits  of
character. It goes without saying that to become a good doctor you  must  be
patient, caring  and  kind.  Teacher’s  work  requires  love  for  children,
profound knowledge of subjects, and the ability to explain. A secretary  has
to be efficient and careful in order to do her work quickly and  accurately.
Salespeople need to be friendly and persuasive,  to  get  people  buy  their
products.
There are so many people  who  influence  us  in  choosing  our  occupation.
Parents and friends play a very important role in our choices.
My father works is a bisnessman. It is a highly paid job  and  it  offers  a
lot of opportunities. You can travel abroad and meet  different  people.  My
father is a friendly person and he is easy to talk  to.  He  thinks  that  I
must choose my future profession according to my taste  and  preferences.  I
respect him but I want to become a programmer.
I have always been interested in computers.  I’m  rather  communicative  and
have good social skills. I have good analytical abilities and I am  good  at
problem-solving. Besides, I am good  at  English.  English  has  become  the
standard language for all kinds of international programs. To  know  English
today is absolutely necessary for every programmer.
But to become a good specialist in computing,  you  should  know  a  lot  of
programming languages and application programmes. So after finishing  school
it is necessary for me to enter a university  or  a  college  and  to  study
computer science. I’ll have to take three entrance examinations:  in  Maths,
Physics and Literary composition. If I am lucky, I’ll  have  the  chance  to
study interesting  sciences,  and  to  listen  to  the  lectures  of  famous
professors.

4. There are different ways of learning about the world:  through  the  mass
media, books, travelling,  visiting  museums,  meeting  other  people,  etc.
Which ways do you prefer to learn about the world?
There are a lot of different ways of getting new information.  In  the  past
the only way to learn about the world was  traveling.  The  first  travelers
were explorers who wanted to  discover  new  lands.  Nowadays,  millions  of
people  travel  around  the  world  either  for  pleasure  or  on  business.
Traveling has always been a part of people’s education.  It  teaches  people
about the art and culture of different countries.  It  teaches  them  to  be
understanding.  Besides,  you  can  improve  your   knowledge   of   foreign
languages. In my opinion, traveling is the most  pleasant  way  of  learning
about the world. It’s always  interesting  to  discover  different  ways  of
life, to visit different museums, to try different foods, and to  listen  to
different kinds of music. In brief, when we travel, we can learn  a  lot  of
things that we can never see and learn at home.
But to travel around the world you need a lot of  money.  That  is  why  the
main source of information for millions of people is mass media. Mass  media
includes newspapers and magazines, advertising and radio,  and,  of  course,
television.
Television is a reflection of the modern world. It gives you an  opportunity
to travel all over the world, to see  different  peoples,  and  learn  about
their customs and traditions. Television keeps you informed about  the  rest
of the world. When you need immediate information  about  the  latest  world
events, you  switch  the  TV  on.  There  are  always  a  great  variety  of
programmes on TV: current affairs programmes and  documentaries,  plays  and
feature films, talk shows and TV  games.  A  lot  of  people  like  TV  news
because they can see everything with their own eyes.  Besides,  TV  has  the
power to educate and broaden our minds.
Some people think that the only way to be in the know of  everything  is  to
read newspapers and magazines. If you get on a bus or catch a  train  during
the morning and evening “rush hours”, when most people travel  to  and  from
work, you will see a lot of people with their heads  in  a  newspaper  or  a
magazine.
Newspapers are packed with the latest news, information, fashion and  facts.
They cater to  a  variety  of  political  views,  interests  and  levels  of
education.  Papers  are  generally  divided  into   “quality   papers”,   or
broadsheets, and “popular papers” that are half  the  size  of  broadsheets.
But the size is not the only  thing  that  makes  them  different.  “Quality
papers”  are  serious,  with  long,  informative  articles;  while  “popular
papers”, known as “tabloids”, have a more sensational  reporting  style  and
contain more human interest stories than news. The two most popular  British
daily newspapers, The Sun and The Daily Mirror, are both tabloids.  Tabloids
sell many more copies than broadsheets.
In Russia  we  also  have  these  two  types  of  newspapers.  For  example,
Izvestiya or Kommersant are broadsheets. They  contain  political,  business
and cultural information. Such tabloids  as  Megapolis-Express  and  Express
Gazeta contain the latest gossip, sensations and crossword  puzzles.  People
choose a paper according to their tastes and preferences. Though  newspapers
don’t react to events as quickly as TV, they usually provide us  with  extra
details, commentaries and background information.
There are also a lot of  magazines  and  other  periodicals.  Whatever  your
interest, there is likely to be a magazine about it – from  sport,  cookery,
and farming, to religion, computers, cinema and  more.  Young  people  below
the age of 18 do not buy newspapers; but they do buy magazines. Girls  enjoy
magazines about pop  music,  clothes,  fashion  and  make-up;  whereas  boys
prefer to read about sport, cars and computers. As far as  I  am  interested
in fashions I enjoy  reading  Yes.  It  is  a  monthly  magazine  for  girls
containing the latest information about our favourite  pop,  film  and  soap
stars, brilliant fashions and beauty,  sports  and  romance.  It  approaches
interesting subjects with intelligence and good humour. Besides, there is  a
lot of useful advice on various areas of life.
Still, many people prefer the radio. It’s good to listen to the radio  in  a
car, or in the  open  air,  or  when  you  do  something  about  the  house.
Listeners can tune into all kinds  of  stations:  pop  or  classical  music,
news, sport or foreign radio stations. People can  often  call  in  and  ask
questions about everything  from  cooking  or  car  repair  to  politics  or
health. Callers often get a chance  to  give  their  opinions  on  the  air.
Besides, radio has fresher news than  newspapers.  They  inform  every  half
hour.
The Internet has recently become another important  source  of  information.
It is a computer system that allows millions of people around the  world  to
receive and exchange information about almost everything. The  main  use  of
the Internet is to find information – for your schoolwork or  job,  or  just
to find out more about your hobbies,  sports  or  current  events.  All  the
latest information is available to you in your home, at any hour of the  day
and night. It’s much faster  and  easier  to  surf  the  net  in  search  of
information from all over the world than to travel to  libraries  in  dozens
of countries.
However, the real world of the Internet may not be as perfect as  it  seems.
With so much information available, finding  what  you  want  can  take  you
hours. Multimedia web pages with photographs are attractive, but  they  make
downloading slow and boring. Besides, there is too much advertising  instead
of real information.
With so many modern forms of finding information, such as radio, TV and  the
Internet, people read fewer books, newspapers and magazines. Nowadays,  most
people consider television their most important source of  information,  and
a majority ranks television as  the  most  believable  news  source.  In  my
opinion, we can’t say exactly which source of information is  the  best.  It
depends on what kind of information you need.  However,  I  don’t  think  we
should forget the educational value of reading a good book.
5. Travelling is  one  of  the  ways  of  discovering  new  countries.  What
attracts tourists to Russia? What would you show  your  foreign  friends  in
your home town?
Millions of people all over the world are fond of  travelling.  They  travel
to see other countries and continents, to discover different ways  of  life,
to meet different people and to practise foreign languages. It goes  without
saying that travelling broadens the mind. While travelling we  can  see  and
learn a lot of things that we can never learn staying at home  and  watching
TV or reading books. That’s why a lot of foreign people come  to  Russia  to
get acquainted with Russian culture, with Russian customs and traditions.
Russia has always been a  country  of  mystery  attractive  for  foreigners.
There are lots of villages and towns in Russia  famous  for  their  specific
crafts: painted boxes in Palekh, wooden tableware in Khokhloma and  toys  in
Dymkovo. Thousands of foreigners visit Russia to enjoy the  typical  Russian
log houses, decorated with wood carvings.
Tourists like to visit  old  Russian  towns  and  cities  famous  for  their
ancient architecture. They are  especially  attracted  by  Russian  orthodox
cathedrals, churches and  monasteries.  One  of  the  most  interesting  old
cities in Russia is Novgorod, or Novgorod the Great, as  it  was  called  in
the old times. It is a treasury of architecture, painting  and  applied  art
created over the 11th to 17th centuries. The first records of  the  city  on
the Volkhov River date back to the year of 859. Now  Novgorod  has  expanded
far beyond its former limits. It is an  important  industrial  and  cultural
centre, located on the busy highway linking Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The focal point of the city is the Detinets, or the  Kremlin.  The  present-
day Kremlin stems largely from the 15th century.  Several  alterations  made
in  the  16th  and  17th  centuries  were  minor  and  did  not  affect  its
appearance. Novgorod’s contribution to the development  of  Russian  culture
is outstanding. No other city excels  Novgorod  in  the  number  of  ancient
monuments of architecture. The Novgorod Museum of History, Architecture  and
Art shows visitors the history of the medieval Novgorod. Its artistic  value
lies primarily in its collection of medieval icon painting.
There is a lot to see in Russia, but first of  all  foreign  tourists  visit
the capital of our country, Moscow, its political, economic, commercial  and
cultural centre. They dream of visiting Red  Square,  which  is  called  the
heart of Moscow. Perhaps, the most ancient monument of  Red  Square  is  St.
Basil’s Cathedral. With its nine beautifully painted cupolas, it is  a  real
masterpiece of ancient Russian architecture.
If you come to Moscow for the first time, you should by all means visit  the
Kremlin, which is very impressive. On the territory of the Kremlin  you  can
see old cathedrals, the Bell Tower of Ivan  the  Great,  the  State  Kremlin
Palace, the Tsar Cannon and the Tsar Bell, the biggest cannon  and  bell  in
the world. The tallest Kremlin tower, the Spasskaya Tower,  has  become  the
symbol of the country.
If you leave  the  Kremlin  by  the  Trinity  Gate  you  will  come  to  the
Alexandrovsky Gardens. The first thing to do in the Gardens is to  stand  by
the Tomb of the  Unknown  Soldier,  still  and  silent.  Not  far  from  the
Alexandrovsky Gardens, behind the  Bolshoi  Kamenny  Bridge,  you  will  see
Christ  the  Saviour  Cathedral,  with  its  huge  beautiful  gilded   dome.
Foreigners are usually surprised by the number of  churches  and  cathedrals
in and around the city. There are also  a  lot  of  beautiful  palaces,  old
mansions and monuments in Moscow.
There are more than 80 museums in our capital. The largest museums  are  the
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, whose collections include works of art  of  the
ancient Orient and ancient Egypt, and the  State  Tretyakov  Gallery,  which
houses a rich collection  of  Russian  painting  and  Russian  icons.  Other
unique museums in Moscow  are  the  State  History  Museum,  the  All-Russia
Museum of Decorative, Applied and Folk Art,  the  Polytechnical  Museum  and
many others. Moscow is famous for its theatres, too. The best-known of  them
is the Bolshoi Opera  House.  Drama  theatres  and  studios  are  also  very
popular.
Another interesting place to visit in Moscow is  the  All-Russia  Exhibition
Centre which occupies an  area  of  530  acres.  The  Exhibition  Centre  is
situated in a beautiful park. The most admired  feature  of  the  Exhibition
Centre is its fountains. The “Friendship of  the  Nations”  and  the  “Stone
Flower” fountains are the most beautiful. The Exhibition Centre is  a  large
cultural and commercial complex where  different  international  exhibitions
and fairs are held.
One of the most famous sights of the city is the Moscow Metro and a  journey
by Metro will be unforgettable. In the Metro you do not feel  as  if  you’re
underground. This is due to the unique architecture and the artistic  design
of the stations, which are more like palaces. No  two  stations  are  alike;
most of them have their own appearance.
Of course, every foreigner should visit St. Petersburg, the  second  largest
city in Russia and one of the most splendid cities  in  the  world.  It  was
founded in 1703 by Peter the Great at the mouth of the Neva  River.  Now  it
is an important industrial, cultural and educational centre.
St. Petersburg is indeed a wonderful city: at every turn there is  something
to catch your eye. The Winter Palace, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the  Peter-and-
Paul Fortress, and the Admiralty  Building  attract  thousands  of  tourists
from every corner of the world. Petersburg’s many museums house some of  the
world’s most famous art collections. The Hermitage and the  Russian  Museum,
for example, contain the richest collections of pictures in the world.
The city is called  the  Northern  Venice,  because  there  are  65  rivers,
branches and canals there with artistically  decorated  bridges.  It’s  also
famous for its beautiful white nights.
There are a lot of Hero-cities in our country. And I  would  recommend  that
my foreign friends visit  one  of  them.  Volgograd  is  a  legendary  city,
because here in 1943 the Soviet Army won  the  great  and  glorious  victory
over the fascists. The city was completely ruined during the  war,  but  now
it is a beautiful city again. It stands on the banks of  the  great  Russian
river Volga. The symbol of Volgograd is the Mamaev Hill. It was  the  centre
of fighting during the heroic defence of Stalingrad. Now there  is  a  great
memorial there. Besides,  you  can  visit  the  Stalingrad  Battle  Panorama
Museum, which is situated on the bank of the  Volga  River.  The  centre  of
Volgograd is the Square of the Fallen Heroes. In the middle of it  there  is
a granite obelisk and the common graves of the heroes of the Civil  War  and
the Great Patriotic War. At the  foot  of  the  memorial  you  can  see  the
Eternal Flame. Now Volgograd is a big industrial and cultural centre.
There are a lot of other interesting towns and cities in Russia,  which  are
all worth visiting.
6. Every country is special. What comes to your mind, when you think of  the
UK and its people?
The British Isles is the name  for  a  collection  of  about  4000  islands,
including Great Britain and Ireland. Great Britain, known as Britain or  GB,
is the name for the  largest  of  the  Islands  in  the  British  Isles.  It
includes England, Scotland  and  Wales.  The  United  Kingdom  or  UK  is  a
political  term  which  includes  England,  Scotland,  Wales  and   Northern
Ireland. All of these countries are represented  in  Parliament  in  London,
and the abbreviation UK is used  on  most  official  documents  produced  by
Parliament. Everybody from the UK is British, but be  careful:  only  people
from England are English. People from Wales think of  themselves  as  Welsh;
people from Scotland as Scottish; people from  Northern  Ireland  as  either
British or Irish.
Britain is split into counties. The word county describes an area  with  its
own local government. County councils are elected to  run  things,  such  as
education, housing, town planning, and rubbish  disposal.  They  look  after
things like roads, libraries and swimming pools.
The British flag, known as the Union Jack, is a combination of three  flags:
the Saint Andrew’s cross, the Saint Patrick’s cross and the  Saint  George’s
cross.
The Saint Patrick’s cross is the former flag of Ireland.  Saint  Patrick  is
the patron saint of Ireland. He was born about  AD  390.  He  converted  the
Irish to Christianity. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on  17  March.  The
symbol of Northern Ireland is a shamrock and a red hand.
The Saint George’s cross is the English flag. Saint  George  is  the  patron
saint of England. He was a soldier famous for saving the Princess  Cleolinda
from being eaten by a dragon. Saint George’s Day is celebrated on 23  April.
The symbol of England is a red rose.
The Saint Andrew’s cross is the Scottish flag. Saint  Andrew,  a  fisherman,
was one of the 12 apostles who followed Jesus  Christ.  Paintings  of  Saint
Andrew often show him being crucified on an X-shaped cross.  Saint  Andrew’s
Day is celebrated on 30 November. He is the patron saint  of  both  Scotland
and Russia. The symbol of Scotland is a thistle.
The Welsh flag shows a dragon. Saint  David,  the  patron  saint  of  Wales,
converted Wales to Christianity and established the Welsh church.  Paintings
of Saint David show him with a dove on his shoulder. Saint  David’s  Day  is
celebrated on 1 March. The symbol of Wales is a daffodil or leek.
London is the capital city of England and the UK. It is a  place  where  the
invading Romans first crossed the  River  Thames.  They  built  a  city  and
called it Londinium. This original site of London is now called the City  of
London. London manages in a unique way to reflect the past and, at the  same
time, to live a life of a modern city. The saying “When a man  is  tired  of
London, he is tired of life” means that you can’t be bored in London.  There
are hundreds of historic buildings, galleries and museums in London.
As for me, I’m fond of history and I’ve read a lot about English  kings  and
queens. I’d like to visit all places in  London  which  are  connected  with
Royal London, such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster  Abbey,  Whitehall  and
Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the  Tower  of  London.  And  I’d
like to visit places which are not in London, such as  Windsor  Castle,  the
Queen’s house in Greenwich, the Palace of Holyrood house  in  Edinburgh  and
other places in the UK which are connected with the Crown. The UK is  famous
for its castles such as Edinburgh Castle and Leeds Castle  and  others,  and
I’d like to see them with my own eyes. Another place which is  worth  seeing
is Madam Tussaud’s Museum of  Waxworks.  This  museum  consists  of  several
halls with  wax  images  of  outstanding  political  characters,  poets  and
writers, world-famous film stars and musicians. Then I’d like to see one  of
the wonders of the world – the famous Stonehenge. Every  year  thousands  of
young people go to Stonehenge to take part in the midsummer Druid  festival.
I wish I were there.

Palace of Holyrrodhouse in Edinburgh
In the House of  Lords,  the  Chancellor  sits  on  a  sack  of  wool.  This
tradition comes from old  times  when  sheep  wool  made  England  rich  and
powerful. In the House of Commons there are two rows of benches: one row  is
for the government and the other one is for opposition. There is a red  line
in the carpet in front of each “front bench”. The person who is speaking  is
not allowed to step across it. It is also a tradition from  old  days,  when
that division prevented the two parties from fighting  during  the  debates.
Even the Legislation of the country is traditional. It  includes  many  laws
that haven’t been changed  for  centuries.  Other  traditional  features  of
Great  Britain  are  the  numerous  clubs  that  unite  people  of   various
interests; and the pubs, the local beer  halls,  where  Englishmen  like  to
spend their time talking, discussing traditional matters: politics,  sports,
and weather, over a glass of beer. The British have a  reputation  of  being
conservative,  for  having  established  values  without  questioning  their
validity. They drive on the left side of  the  road  and  use  double-decker
buses. They stick to their own measurement system and  continue  to  measure
distances in miles and yards  (not  in  kilometres  and  metres).  They  buy
cheese in pounds and ounces, milk in pints, petrol in gallons.

Fire-place
English people are famous for their habit of politeness.  It  is  considered
polite to give up one’s seat to a woman who is standing, to open a door  for
her, carry things for her, and so on. Most British people expect the  person
in front of them to hold the door open for them. People think you are  rude,
if you don’t do this. English people are  very  reserved.  This  means  that
they don’t talk much to strangers, and don’t show much emotion.  A  reserved
person never tells you anything about himself. But the people of  the  North
and West of Britain are much less reserved  than  those  of  the  South  and
East. Most British people queue when they are waiting for a bus  or  waiting
to be served in a shop. But during the  rush  hour,  when  a  bus  or  train
arrives, people often push forward to make sure they get on. This is  called
jumping the queue. British people keep their old  traditions  and  are  very
proud of them. They are famous for their sense  of  humour.  English  people
show great love for animals. And, of course,  English  people  are  fond  of
sports. Many continentals think life is a game; the  English  think  cricket
is a game. To many Englishmen cricket is both  a  game  and  a  standard  of
behaviour. When  they  consider  something  unfair,  they  say  “That  isn’t
cricket”.

Cricket
The traditional love of English people for tea is well known. They  like  to
drink tea with milk. They have their five-o’clock tea not only  at  home  or
in offices, but also in tea-rooms and  tea-shops,  which  can  be  found  in
every town.
A nation is born from its land, its history, its  art,  its  traditions  and
its institutions. These things work together to make people what  they  are.
But above all, a nation is made up of people, and although there are  things
they all share, all of those people are  different.  We  can  say  there  is
still a “British nation,” and one of the  most  characteristic  features  of
Englishmen is their traditions, which they  respect,  and  which  they  have
kept for centuries. The traditions don’t only accumulate the experience  and
wisdom of many generations, but they bring some stability into  the  rapidly
changing world.
7. Each country takes pride in its own achievements and success. What  makes
you feel proud of your country?
Our country is great, and I’m very proud of it. Russia  is  famous  for  its
outstanding people – scientists, writers, poets, travellers  and  explorers.
Russia is a stable and democratic society. Its citizens have many  freedoms,
among them the freedom of speech,  religion  and  the  press.  Russia  is  a
member of  the  United  Nations.  Russia  is  one  of  the  largest  trading
countries. It has a lot of energy resources  and  exports  oil  and  natural
gas. Russia has for centuries encouraged research and innovation and it  has
a lot of achievements throughout the twentieth  century.  Nobel  prizes  for
science, literature and peace have been won  by  Russian  citizens.  In  the
fields of art, media and sports, Russia enjoys an international  reputation.
Russia has nuclear weapons, a strong army  and  remains  a  widely-respected
country.
For ages mankind was dreaming  of  travelling  in  the  space.  The  science
itself came later. K. E. Tsiolkovsky, the great Russian  scientist,  is  the
father of the theory of interplanetary  travels.  His  words  that  “mankind
will not remain on the Earth forever” came  true.  On  4  October  1957  the
Soviet Union launched the world’s  first  satellite  “Sputnik”.  This  word,
“sputnik”, immediately  began  to  be  used  in  all  languages.  The  first
cosmonaut on the Earth to fly into space, Yuri  Gagarin,  was  from  Russia,
and he made his flight around the Earth on 12 April 1961 that lasted 1  hour
48 minutes. Years will pass, people  will  conquer  the  Universe  and  make
landings on other planets, but mankind will always remember Yury Gagarin  as
the first to pave the way to the stars.
Russia is also famous for  its  ancient  churches,  cathedrals,  and  towns.
Moscow, the capital of Russia, is famous for its  monuments  to  outstanding
people, churches, galleries, theatres, squares and streets.
The heart of Moscow is Red Square. It’s my  favourite  place  in  my  native
city. I show it to all  my  guests  from  different  countries.  It  is  our
history, and I’d like to tell you some facts about the buildings on  it.  St
Basil’s Cathedral was built in 1551–1561 after the victory  over  the  Kazan
Kingdom. It’s a magnificent Cathedral, with  eight  churches  placed  around
the tallest ninth one. There is a monument to Minin and Pozharsky  in  front
of the Cathedral. It was built in 1818 and it was the first  statue  put  up
in Moscow. Minin and Pozharsky were heroes of the people’s struggle  in  the
war against Poland in 1612. You can see Lobnoye Mesto  near  the  Cathedral.
It was erected in the 16 century; the tsar’s orders were read from it,  also
it was used as a place for execution. The tallest tower of  the  Kremlin  is
the Spasskaya Tower. It’s also on Red Square. It’s one  of  the  symbols  of
Moscow, because the Kremlin clock, made in the 16th century, is on  it.  The
clock strikes on the hour, half hour and  quarter  of  an  hour.  The  Lenin
Mausoleum is in the centre of the square. It was at first made of wood;  and
in 1930 it was rebuilt, and made of stone, brick, marble  and  granite.  The
State History Museum was opened  in  1883.  It  has  a  rich  collection  of
documents, drawings, pictures, and materials about the  country’s  past  and
Russia’s great people. The State  Department  Store  (GUM)  is  one  of  the
largest department stores in the country. It is an impressive building  with
a glass roof.
Of course the most ancient part of  Moscow  is  the  Kremlin.  Nowadays  the
Kremlin centre looks truly magnificent, with its  many-domed  cathedrals  in
Cathedral Square and with its Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon.
A very interesting place in Moscow is the Cathedral of Christ  the  Saviour.
The original cathedral was erected by order of Emperor Alexander as a  token
of the Russian people’s gratitude to God for the deliverance of Russia  from
Napoleon’s invasion in 1812. In 1931 it was demolished  by  order  of  Josef
Stalin. In 1995, Moscow’s Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and the  world-famous  musician
Mstislav Rostropovich laid the first stone in  the  foundation  of  the  new
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Today you can admire this Cathedral in  the
centre of Moscow.
People in Russia keep their old traditions and are very proud of them.  They
celebrate religious holidays such  as  Easter,  Christmas,  and  Maslenitsa.
They eat traditional food  for  Maslenitsa  such  as  pancakes  with  honey,
caviar or sour cream; they colour eggs; bake kulich  cakes;  make  a  paskha
out of cottage cheese for Easter. Many Russians are  religious  people.  The
main church in Russia is the Orthodox Church, but there are other  religions
too. The Orthodox Church has survived during hard times, and  now  we  speak
about a rebirth of religion in our country.
Russian people are open-hearted, hospitable,  and  friendly.  They  like  to
invite guests to their homes and  cities;  they  like  to  give  traditional
souvenirs to their foreign friends such  as  matryoshka  dolls,  beautifully
painted mugs, plate and spoons from the village of Khokhloma, Palekh  boxes,
art books, badges and etc.
We are proud of our famous and talented poets and writers such as  Alexander
Pushkin, Michael Lermontov and many others.  We  are  proud  of  our  famous
composer Peter Tchaikovsky and one of our famous artists, Isaak Levitan.  We
can see his  paintings  and  the  paintings  of  other  outstanding  Russian
artists, such as Repin, Vasnetsov, Shishkin, Surikov, Benua, Korovin,  etc.,
in the Tretyakov Gallery. It is  one  of  the  most  famous  and  well-known
picture galleries in our country and in the world. It  is  situated  in  the
centre of Moscow and is named after its founder Pavel  Tretyakov.  He  began
to collect Russian paintings in 1856. He was a famous  patron  of  arts.  In
1892 Tretyakov donated his collection to Moscow.
Russia is proud of its famous sportsmen who win a lot of  gold,  silver  and
bronze medals in different international sports competitions.
So, I’m very proud of my country, my native city and the people who  brought
a lot of fame to my country. And I invite everyone, who has  never  been  to
my country, to visit it, and to see its achievements with their own eyes.
8. What famous people from  Russia  would  you  tell  your  foreign  friends
about? Which  famous  British  and  American  people  do  you  admire?  What
made/makes them famous?Each country is  proud  of  its  famous  people,  and
Russia is among them. I’d like to tell you  about  Russian  famous  writers,
poets and musicians, because I’m fond of literature and  music.  A.  Pushkin
is the most important Russian writer and  poet  of  all  time.  He  is  like
Shakespeare in England. He provided  the  standards  for  Russian  arts  and
literature  in  the  19th  century.  In  1823  Pushkin  began  writing   his
masterpiece  “Eugene  Onegin”.  It  became  his  linguistic   and   literary
standard. It is a commentary on the  life  of  early  19th  century  Russia.
Pushkin also wrote a lot of other poems and created  masterpieces  in  drama
and prose. All Russian people  know  Pushkin.  Galleries  and  museums  were
named after him. In the centre of Moscow there  is  a  monument  to  Pushkin
built  by  the  famous  Russian  architect  Opekunshin  in  1880.  Pushkin’s
memorial museums in different cities  attract  many  visitors.  One  of  the
other famous poets and writers in Russia was M. Lermontov. He won fame as  a
poet after his poem on  Pushkin’s  death  had  been  published.  Lermontov’s
poems “Demon”, “Mtsyri”, his great novel A Hero of Our  Time  and  his  play
“Masquerade” are  masterpieces  of  Russian  literature.As  for  me  I  like
reading F. Dostoevsky and L. Tolstoy. They are  famous  Russian  writers.  I
like M. Bulgakov; Master and Margarita is one of the  world’s  masterpieces.
I often go to Patriarch’s Pond where the  book  begins.  It  has  a  special
atmosphere even now. I go there to be inspired. I like reading  poetry,  and
Anna Ahmatova is my favourite.  Russian’s  famous  musicians  and  composers
such as Sergei Rachmaninov and Peter Tchaikovsky  are  recognized  all  over
the world. Tchaikovsky composed a lot of symphonies  and  created  beautiful
music for operas  and  ballets.  His  famous  operas  “Eugene  Onegin”,  and
“Iolanta” and his famous ballets “The Swan Lake”, “The Sleeping Beauty”  are
masterpieces. His memorial museum was opened in 1894 in Klin  not  far  from
Moscow. And the international Tchaikovsky Music Competition started in  1958
in Moscow. S. Rachmaninov was an outstanding Russian composer  and  pianist.
He  became  famous  with  audiences  around  the   world   for   his   piano
performances.Great Britain is also proud of its famous people. And I’d  like
to tell you about one of its famous writers  A.  Conan  Doyle.  He  invented
Sherlock Holmes, one of the most famous characters  and  detectives.  Arthur
Conan Doyle was born in Scotland. He was a  doctor.  In  1882  he  moved  to
England to set up a practice. One of the doctors  he  worked  for,  was  the
model for Dr. Watson. Conan Doyle’s medical knowledge was a  great  help  in
his detective stories. He started the  fashion  of  the  detective  stories.
Nowadays I don’t know a person who doesn’t like detective stories.  We  know
a lot about Sherlock Holmes. We even  know  his  address  –  221  “B”  Baker
Street in London. If you go to London, you won’t find 221 “B” Baker  Street.
But  instead,  you  can  go  to  a  pub  called  “The  Sherlock  Holmes”  in
Northumberland Street (near Trafalgar Square). In that pub there is  a  room
like his room at 221  “B”  Baker  Street,  as  described  in  Conan  Doyle’s
stories. There is also the stuffed head of a hound. It is  said  to  be  the
original “hound of the Baskervilles”. A lot  of  tourists  visit  this  pub.
When Conan Doyle began  to  get  tired  of  writing  detective  stories,  he
“killed” Holmes in one of his stories. But the public didn’t like it.  Conan
Doyle had to write another story in which Holmes came back. So  we  can  say
that Conan Doyle was a famous British writer. He became popular  because  of
his love for people.I also admire American famous people. I’d like  to  tell
you about Walt Disney, the pioneer of animated cartoons. He  is  famous  for
creating such cartoon characters as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto,  Goofy
and others. He was born in 1901 in Chicago.  His  father  was  a  carpenter,
farmer and building contractor. So the family changed homes  several  times.
In 1917 Walt entered a Higher School in Chicago, where he took  photographs,
made drawings for the school paper and studied cartooning, for he wanted  to
get a job as a  newspaper  cartoonist.  After  World  War  1,  in  which  he
participated as a truck driver for the American  Red  Cross  in  France  and
Germany, he returned to Kansas City. There he met Ub Iverk who  turned  into
his partner for life. They started a small studio of  their  own  and  began
making short animated advertising films.  In  1927  Mickey  Mouse  appeared.
Disney himself provided the  voice  for  Mickey.  Then  the  other  cartoons
appeared. Gradually, the Disney studio turned  into  a  big  enterprise  and
began to produce a variety of cartoons for children.  And  it  was  he,  who
initiated plans for a huge amusement park, which is known as  Disneyland.  A
lot of grown-ups and children visit this park and remember  the  person  who
founded it, Walt Disney. And, of course, they remember Walt  Disney  because
of his remarkable cartoons.
9. What would you  tell  your  foreign  friends  about  traditional  Russian
holidays and celebrations? What do you think your British friends will  tell
you about their traditional holidays and celebrations?
Every country has its own national holidays, but  there  are  holidays  that
are common for many countries. People all over the  world  know  New  Year’s
Day, Christmas and Easter. In Russia, New Year’s Day  is  the  most  popular
holiday; but in the West people pay more attention to Christmas.
Christmas
New Year’s Day is a family event in Russia.  People  begin  to  prepare  for
this holiday beforehand. Everything is rush and bustle.  There  is  a  great
air of expectation. People  decorate  their  New  Year  trees  with  tinsel,
various baubles and coloured lights. They usually put their  presents  under
the tree. When the Kremlin clock strikes 12 they see the New Year in.
There are also dates and  events  in  our  country  that  are  memorable  to
Russian people.  They  are  Victory  Day,  the  Day  of  Reconciliation  and
Harmony, Women’s Day, the  Day  of  Spring  and  Labour,  Independence  Day,
Country Defendant’s Day, Constitution Day, and  Maslenitsa.  Besides,  there
are many professional days in our country: Teacher’s Day, Miner’s Day, etc.
Christmas in Russia is celebrated on 7 January. It is celebrated  with  all-
night services in churches. Country Defendant’s  Day  is  celebrated  on  23
February. This holiday is devoted to  soldiers  and  officers  and  everyone
else who defended the country or is in the Army. Women’s Day  is  celebrated
on 8 March. It is a day-off. Men and  boys  try  to  please  their  mothers,
sisters and friends by giving them presents and  flowers.  Maslenitsa  marks
the end of winter  and  the  beginning  of  spring  and  Lent.  During  this
festival people make pancakes, sing and dance traditional songs and  dances,
and visit each other. Maslenitsa and Easter are movable holidays. Easter  is
the main  Orthodox  festival.  People  colour  eggs  and  enjoy  traditional
Russian dishes. Churches hold special services on this day.
The Day of Spring and Labour is celebrated on 1  May.  On  this  day  people
prefer to go outdoors and take part in  all  kinds  of  outdoor  activities.
Victory Day is celebrated on 9 May – it celebrates the  end  of  the  Soviet
Union’s participation in World War II in Europe. People put flowers  at  the
tombs of the soldiers who were killed during the war. The main  ceremony  is
held in Moscow. People lay flowers in Moscow’s Park Pobedi and at  the  Tomb
of an Unknown Soldier. Independence Day is celebrated on 12  June.  On  this
day Russia became an independent country after the break up  of  the  Soviet
Union in 1991. This is an official holiday. The Day  of  Reconciliation  and
Harmony is celebrated on 7 November. It used to  be  the  greatest  official
holiday, celebrating the anniversary of the  October  Revolution.  Now  this
day is marked by marches and demonstrations. For many  people  it’s  just  a
day-off. The Constitution Day is celebrated on 12  December.  It  celebrates
the new Constitution of 1993.
There are fewer public holidays in Great  Britain  than  in  other  European
countries. They are:  Christmas  Day,  Boxing  Day,  New  Year’s  Day,  Good
Friday, Easter Monday, Spring Bank Holiday and  Late  Summer  Bank  Holiday.
All holidays and traditions are connected with the history  and  culture  of
the country.
The most popular holiday is Christmas. Every year the people of Norway  give
the city of London a present. It’s a big Christmas tree  and  it  stands  in
Trafalgar Square. The central  streets  are  beautifully  decorated.  People
decorate their houses with holly and mistletoe. They  send  Christmas  cards
to greet each other. Children  hang  their  stockings,  hoping  that  Father
Christmas will come with toys and sweets. Before Christmas groups of  people
go from house to house – they sing Christmas carols and  collect  money  for
charity. Christmas is a family holiday.  The  family  usually  meets  for  a
traditional dinner of turkey and Christmas pudding, and everyone  gives  and
receives  presents.  New  Year’s  Day  is  less  popular  in  Britain   than
Christmas. But in Scotland, Hogmanay is the biggest festival  of  the  year.
They celebrate New Year. The preparations for  the  occasion  begin  several
days before the New Year’s Eve, which is known as  Hogmanay.  The  night  of
Hogmanay is a time for merrymaking, the giving of  presents  and  observance
of the old customs. The name “Hogmanay” is supposed to come from the  Anglo-
Saxon “Haleg  Monath”  (Holy  Month),  or  the  Gaaelic  “oge  maiden”  (New
Morning). December 26th is Boxing Day. People usually visit  their  friends,
go for a drive or for  a  long  walk,  or  just  sit  around  and  watch  TV
recovering from too much food after Christmas dinner. In the  country  there
is fox-hunting.
Easter
Easter is  the  time  when  certain  old  traditions  are  observed.  It  is
celebrated as the start of spring and as a religious  festival.  It  is  the
time for giving and receiving presents,  such  as  Easter  eggs,  hot  cross
buns, fluffy little chicks, baby rabbits, and springtime flowers to  signify
nature’s reawakening.
Four times a year the banks are closed  on  Monday  apart  from  traditional
weekends. Such days are called Bank Holidays.
Besides public holidays, there are certain traditional festivals which  have
existed over centuries in the country. They are  Pancake  Day,  Guy  Fawkes’
Night, Saint Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Hallowe’en,  April’s  Fool  Day,
etc. These days are not days-off. But they help  to  keep  many  traditions,
which Englishmen have always been famous for.
As for me, most of all I like Hallowe’en. It goes back many,  many  hundreds
of years. At that time the Celts lived in England. The Celts said, “In  this
night the ghosts of the dead come back.” Nowadays children in  the  USA  and
Britain dress up as witches or ghosts.  Some  children  also  make  jack-o’-
lanterns out of pumpkins. They put them in the  windows  at  night.  In  the
evening, the children go out in groups and  knock  at  people’s  doors.  The
children call out: “Trick or treat.” Most people then give  the  children  a
“treat”. This is usually a sweet, some chocolate, or maybe a  toffee  apple.
But some people do not give the children a treat. Then the children  play  a
trick on them. Sometimes, they ring the doorbell again and  then  they  hide
or run away. Or they come to the house again later and  put  leaves,  grass,
stones or other things into the letterbox. Children and older  people  often
have Hallowe’en parties where they play games such as “bobbing for  apples”,
“apples on a string”, “fortune telling”. I wish we celebrated Hallowe’en  in
Russia because this holiday is very funny and interesting.
10. You are going to spend a month with an American or British family.  What
do you think will be interesting for your host family to learn about you?
Hello! Let me introduce myself to you. I’m  Alexander,  Alex  for  short.  I
live in Moscow. I’m a student of the 9th grade. We are a family of four:  my
mother, my father, my elder brother and me. We live in a block of  flats  on
the 11th floor. There are three rooms in our flat and  we  have  all  modern
conveniences. I share a room with my elder brother. My brother is a  student
of Moscow University. We are close friends. I discuss  everything  with  him
and we don’t have any  secrets  from  each  other.  We  get  on  very  well.
Sometimes I even borrow his clothes and he  never  gets  annoyed.  We  don’t
feel competitive, because we have different  interests.  I’m  more  academic
and he’s more artistic. But we are both fond of sport very much. We both  go
to the swimming pool twice a week. It helps us to  keep  fit,  it  gives  us
good stamina, and it’s good  for  our  hearts  and  lungs.  We  hardly  ever
quarrel or fight. My brother never sees me as being in the way. I think  I’m
quite easy-going. I’m similar in personality to my  mother.  She  is  always
very friendly to all, although she can be quite critical of people.  I  like
to be friendly to the people around me, and I don’t normally like to let  my
bad moods and anger inside me, come out and affect other people.
I don’t know if I’m particularly obsessive. I like to  do  different  things
every day. I am fond of collecting different things. One day I  collect  toy
cars, another day I want to  collect  badges.  But  most  of  all  I  prefer
collecting stamps because it’s a family hobby. You can  learn  a  tremendous
amount through stamps, especially about history. Stamps are a great  way  to
bring history alive. All the members of my family  collect  stamps  and  the
theme of our collection is history. It  is  a  long-lasting  hobby  and  who
knows – in 20 years or so it may have become an impressive  collection  that
can be appreciated and enjoyed by my own children too.
I have grandparents, my mother’s parents. They don’t live  with  us;  but  I
often visit them. They live a very routine life, but they like it.  I  can’t
put my finger on it, exactly, but there is some atmosphere  in  their  house
like nothing has changed for twenty years. My parents are doctors  and  they
work in the hospital. They are  very  giving,  caring  persons,  and  always
consider those around them. They  work  very  hard  in  their  hospital  and
really put all their energy in their work. They are very much in love,  even
after years of being married and always caring for each  other.  My  parents
have warm, friendly eyes and always express a  spirit  of  goodwill  towards
people. I love my parents very much and my ambition is to be a  doctor  too,
because I want to help people if they have some problems with their  health.
I originally became interested in medicine  during  my  9th  grade,  when  I
realized that my skills and my traits would  serve  me  well  in  my  future
career. Besides I’m good at Chemistry, Biology and History  –  they  are  my
favourite subjects. I’m not very good at English, but I understand  that  it
is one of the most important subjects now, and I try my best to improve  it.

We have a pet. It’s a dog. Her  name  is  Sunny.  Her  mother  is  a  Scotch
Shepherd dog. I am never lonely with my pet. She is a great  favourite  with
everyone in our family. All people admire her. She wears a good collar  with
her name on it. She especially likes morning walks with my father.
My native city is Moscow. Many people associate Moscow with the Kremlin  and
Red Square as the heart of the city. It is really the oldest historical  and
architectural centre of Moscow and my favourite  place  in  Moscow,  because
it’s connected with the history of my country. Nowadays the Moscow  Kremlin,
with all the beauty of the palaces and cathedrals,  is  a  wonderful  sight.
All these cathedrals have been converted into  museums.  Ivan  the  Terrible
Bell Tower, one of the most  remarkable  structures  of  the  16th  century,
rises in the centre of the Kremlin. It unites  all  the  Kremlin  Cathedrals
into a majestic ensemble. One of  the  well-known  Kremlin  museums  is  the
Armoury Chamber. It was built in 1851. The famous golden  cap  of  Monomach,
the first Russian imperial crown of Catherine II made of  silver,  and  many
other precious historical items are exhibited there. So when you come to  my
native city, I’ll show you all the interesting and amazing sights of it.

11. People have various reading preferences. What do you like to read?  What
is your favourite writer?
I think that we can’t live without books.  There  are  a  lot  of  different
kinds of books in the world,  for  example,  thrillers,  historical  novels,
science fiction, adventure books and  others.  Most  of  them  are  with  us
during all our life.  Boys  all  over  the  world  like  reading  adventure,
thrillers and horror stories,  whereas  girls  prefer  romances,  historical
novels and poetry. Encyclopaedias, reference  books  and  dictionaries  help
pupils to do well at school.
All the members of my family like reading very much. My father  often  reads
newspapers and magazines. He thinks that it is the only way  to  be  in  the
know of everything. And my mother is keen on  reading  romances  and  modern
novels. For her they are more interesting  than  boring  historical  novels.
She agrees with Anatole France that “history books  which  contain  no  lies
are extremely dull”. But she wouldn’t mind reading about the life  of  well-
known people.
I enjoy reading very much. Most of all I  like  reading  detective  stories,
because they  have  interesting  story  lines  and  unusual  endings.  I  am
particularly captivated by characters who conduct investigations.
I never believed there really were books  that  you  couldn’t  put  down.  I
changed my opinion when I started to read  The  Woman  in  White  by  Wilkie
Collins, an English writer. The book was written in the 19th  century.  It’s
a very good detective story, with a bit of romance thrown in  it.  The  book
is basically about mistaken identity. The main character in the story  is  a
young artist who goes up to the north  of  England  to  instruct  two  young
ladies. And he falls in love with Miss Fairlie,  who  looks  very  like  the
woman in white. Finally they turn out to  be  identical  twins.  The  author
brilliantly describes the adventures, love  and  fears  of  his  heroes.  He
really brings the characters to life. A good writer knows how  to  keep  you
reading the book. In The Woman in White  the  reader’s  interest  is  caught
from the very first page and there is suspense till the very end! This is  a
great book and I would recommend it to anyone.
But my favourite writer is Agatha Christie.  She  is  possibly  the  world’s
most famous detective story writer. She wrote 79 novels and  several  plays.
Her books are translated into 103 foreign languages. Many of her novels  and
short stories have been filmed. Her sales outnumber  those  of  Shakespeare,
but her life was often lonely and unhappy.
She was born in 1890 in Devon. She didn’t go to school, but was educated  at
home by her mother. During World War I, while she was working in a  hospital
dispensary, she learned about  chemicals  and  poisons,  which  proved  very
useful to her in her later career. She  wrote  her  first  detective  novel,
“The Mysterious Affair at Styles”, in 1920. In  it  she  introduced  Hercule
Poirot, the Belgian detective, who appeared in many subsequent  novels.  Her
other main detective was  an  elderly  spinster  called  Miss  Marple.  Miss
Marple doesn’t look like a detective at all. This old lady always  uses  her
instinct and knowledge of human nature to investigate crimes.
In 1914 she married Archibald Christie, but the  marriage  was  unhappy.  It
didn’t last long, and they  divorced  in  1926.  Agatha  desperately  wanted
solitude and developed very bitter feelings towards the  media  because  the
newspapers had given her a hard time over her breakdown. She was  determined
never to let them enter her private life again and  she  buried  herself  in
her work. On November 25, 1952 her play “The Mousetrap”  opened  in  London.
Today, over 50 years later, it is still running. It is the  longest  running
show in the whole world. Agatha Christie died  peacefully  in  1976.  People
all over the world value this talented writer and consider  her  to  be  the
Queen of Crime.
I don’t mind reading adventure stories. I  especially  like  to  read  about
characters who go through dangers to complete their mission.  I  think  it’s
more interesting than reading dull historical novels. But I dislike  poetry,
especially modern poetry. I find it too complicated.  Sometimes  I  fail  to
understand what poets mean.
I am sure that reading is an essential part of our life. Only in  books  can
you find answers to all your questions. Books can tell us a  lot  about  the
modern world and ancient times. Besides, they can help  us  to  explore  new
ideas and expand our outlook. I completely agree that  “reading  is  to  the
mind what exercise is to the body.” What is more, books teach us to be  kind
and honest. While reading we learn how to solve our  problems  and  to  make
people happy. And I think that reading is a perfect way to spend  free  time
and not to feel bored. Books must be our friends during all our life.
12. Television is much spoken about nowadays.  It  has  both  good  and  bad
points. What are your arguments for and against watching TV?

It goes without saying that  television  plays  a  very  important  part  in
people’s lives. It’s a wonderful source of information and one of  the  best
ways to spend free time and not to feel bored. Television viewing is by  far
the most popular leisure pastime. For example, in Britain over 99  per  cent
of British homes have a TV, and the average  person  watches  “the  box”  26
hours a week. It’s not surprising, because TV channels show a great  variety
of programmes: documentaries and current affairs programmes,  feature  films
and comedies, soaps and police series, concerts and talk shows.
There are four TV channels in Britain: BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV and Channel 4.  BBC
1 and BBC 2, the two state channels, do not show adverts.  ITV  and  Channel
4, the two independent channels, do show adverts. BBC  1  and  ITV  tend  to
broadcast popular programmes: sports programmes, recent  films,  news,  game
shows, children’s programmes and soaps. BBC 2 and Channel 4 show  programmes
which usually attract much smaller audiences: TV plays, classical  concerts,
foreign films and programmes for minority groups.
Russian television has between 10 and 15 channels, which show all  kinds  of
programmes:  news  and  sports   programmes,   talk   shows   and   quizzes,
documentaries and feature films,  soaps  and  police  series,  comedies  and
concerts.
Thanks to satellites, TV viewers can increase their  options  and  watch  TV
from different countries. Conventional television has to struggle to  retain
its audience, as people switch over  to  cable  viewing,  satellite  TV,  or
renting video cassettes.
Television is a reflection of the modern world. It gives you an  opportunity
to travel all over the world, to see different people and learn about  their
customs and traditions. Television keeps you informed about the rest of  the
world. And of course, it helps you to escape from everyday problems.
A lot of people usually relax watching soaps – TV  serials  which  dramatise
their characters’ daily life. Their story lines are entertaining, but  often
unbelievable. I don’t think that they show life realistically; but  to  many
people, the characters in the  weekly  TV  serial  shows  have  become  more
important than real people.
As for me, I prefer watching different quizz shows. That’s why my  favourite
TV programme is “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” It is shown twice  a  week,
and lasts about an hour. The programme is now hosted by Maxim Galkin. It  is
a game show where the player is asked different questions.  If  the  answers
are correct, the participant gets a lot of money. But if  he  is  wrong,  he
loses everything. I particularly enjoy watching this programme, because  the
questions are always  very  interesting  and  they  help  me  to  expand  my
outlook. Besides, it’s a perfect way to be in the know about  everything.  I
find this programme clever and informative and try not to miss it.
Of course, not everything shown on TV is  made  in  good  taste.  There  are
badly-written  programmes  which  contain  unnecessary  bad   language   and
violence. The strange thing is that neither politicians nor  producers  like
to admit that watching violence on TV  leads  to  greater  violence  on  the
streets.
Many people admit that the quality  of  television  could  be  better.  They
would prefer to see fewer soap operas and crime series,  and  more  history,
drama, and science. One  reason  for  the  poor  quality  of  programmes  is
advertising. Not all people like watching commercials. They find  ads  silly
and boring. As for me, I don’t take advertising seriously. On the one  hand,
advertisements help people choose the best products and get the  best  value
for their money. But on the other hand, they show life  unrealistically  and
give false information. Besides, in adverts all  people  seem  to  be  happy
consumers, all kids seem to be healthy and well off. But this  is  not  true
at all. What is more, I find it very annoying when a film stops at the  most
interesting moment. Nevertheless,  I  am  not  against  commercials  on  TV,
because television companies earn their money from advertising.
Another thing I would like to complain about is the  amount  of  smoking  in
the films that are shown on TV. Smoking is often  shown  as  a  very  “cool”
thing to do – making young people much more likely to copy  what  they  see,
and take up smoking themselves.
Some people say that television is a terrible  waste  of  time.  Of  course,
there are TV addicts who can’t drag  themselves  away  from  the  box.  They
watch TV for hours without choosing programmes, and spend time in  front  of
television which they could spend talking to their friends  and  family.  In
this case, television makes them really waste time. But on the contrary,  if
we watch TV for an hour a day, to find out what is happening  in  the  world
or to relax, then television is really useful.
In short, television does have  its  good  points.  Many  of  the  broadcast
programmes are educational and can help with schoolwork. A  good  soap-opera
or a comedy is a source of  relaxation  for  many  people.  Television  also
provides jobs for thousands of people. So I think it is not  the  TV  itself
which is to blame for the bad effects it has, but the fact  that  people  do
not know how to make the best use of it.
13. What are the most popular free time activities for British  and  Russian
teenagers? What activities do you like? Why?
Britain has recent by  been  described  as  a  “leisure  society.”  This  is
because there  are  a  great  variety  of  leisure  pursuits.  Young  people
generally go out on Friday or Saturday nights to a disco, to  a  concert  or
to a pub. In recent years going out for a meal or getting a  take-away  meal
have become popular too. During the past years there is a great increase  in
keeping fit and staying healthy. A lot of  teens  started  running,  jogging
and going to different fitness clubs in their spare time.  Aerobics  classes
and fitness clubs opened  in  every  town,  and  the  number  of  recreation
centres greatly increased. Indoor pools, with  their  wave-making  machines,
water slides and tropical vegetation, have became very popular.
And the same is true in Russia. A lot of teens go in for different kinds  of
sport. Sport helps them to feel as fit as a fiddle. In both countries  there
are  special  programmes  for  problem  teenagers,  such  as   a   high-risk
activities, for example they are taught  to  jump  out  of  aeroplanes.  But
despite the increase in the number of  teens  participating  in  sport,  the
majority of young people still prefer to be spectators. They  prefer  to  be
couch potatoes. Watching sports on TV is a popular leisure activity,  as  is
going to football matches on Saturday. Cinemas  have  been  redesigned  with
four or more screens, each showing a different film at the same time, and  a
lot of teens like going to the cinemas too.
The young generation is fond of  communication.  There  are  many  available
methods of communication nowadays, and the most popular one is computers.  A
lot of teenagers spend plenty of time working  on  computers.  The  Internet
seems really good fun. You  may  send  e-mails  to  friends  from  different
countries and get their answers instantly. You even may talk to them. It  is
easy and quick. A lot of teenagers  have  mobile  telephones,  so  they  can
always be contacted, if they keep their telephone switched on, at  any  time
of the day or night, or tend text messages.
A lot of teenagers in both countries are  crazy  about  animals.  They  race
them, train them and breed them. They like to hear  stories  about  them  on
television programmes and they like reading books  about  them.  Many  teens
have a pet animal. It could be a dog, a cat, a goldfish, a bird or  a  small
furry animal like a hamster. Looking after and being kind to their  pets  is
very important for teens. Why are teens so interested  in  animals?  Perhaps
it’s because they are rather shy  in  their  heart  of  hearts.  One  of  my
friends says: “I can say anything I like to my dog,  but  she  never  thinks
I’m silly.”
There are plenty of other kinds of activities, such as travelling,  visiting
historical places,  babysitting,  delivering  newspapers,  putting  together
jigsaw puzzles, reading, going to different  museums,  skateboarding,  going
fishing, hitchhiking, shopping, helping people in need, joining  a  computer
club and others. We can say “So many teens; so many kinds of activities.”
Now some words about me. I am fifteen and I am a computer addict. I am  fond
of communication with other teens. That’s why I have a lot of friends in  my
and other countries. We send messages  from  one  computer  to  another  one
using e-mail; we have on-line conversations. I am a member of the  computing
club and I spend much time there. Of course, it’s rather expensive,  but  my
parents understand me and give me enough money to pay for my computer  club.
And I think that my hobby will be useful in my future  profession.  Besides,
I spend my free time in the sport club. I go in for kung fu. Recently  films
about kung fu have become very popular in Russia. This fighting itself is  a
great art, the result of many years of hard work  and  self-discipline.  The
man who made kung fu films famous was Bruce  Lee.  He  used  fists,  elbows,
feet (never weapons) and moved as fast as lightning. I  am  rather  good  at
kung fu now, but I never use  my  skills  to  hurt  anybody,  unless  it  is
absolutely necessary. Now people know what Kung Fu is, and I  think  it  may
become a sport of the future, because it develops up your personality,  will
and nobility.
14. Young people are fond of different  styles  of  music.  What  kinds  are
popular now? What kind of music do you like? Why?
Can you think of a day without music? We can hear music everywhere:  in  the
streets and at home, over the radio and on TV,  in  the  shops  and  in  the
parks. People all over the world are fond of music. They  listen  to  music,
they dance to music, they learn to play musical instruments.
But what is music? Specialists explain that music isn’t only  a  combination
of pleasant sounds. It is an art which reflects life. There  are  a  lot  of
different kinds of music. Some of them  appeared  long  ago,  and  some  are
modern. For example, folk music appeared long ago, but it  is  still  alive.
There are many local performers, choirs  and  folk  groups  in  Russia;  but
perhaps the most famous singer is Nadezhda  Babkina.  Folk  songs  are  very
tuneful and pleasant to listen to. Classical music is often associated  with
the music of the  past.  However,  this  style  also  includes  music  being
written now, and we may speak of modern classical music.  Rap  is  a  modern
musical style where the singer speaks or shouts the words in time  to  music
with a steady beat. Such groups  as  Public  Enemy  or  House  of  Pain  are
leaders in this style.
Great Britain has produced more popular music stars than any other  country.
Over the last 30 years  rock  and  pop  music  have  been  very  popular  in
Britain. The Beatles, with their style of singing,  eloquent  and  exciting,
is still one of the most  popular  groups.  British  groups  often  set  new
trends in music. New styles, groups and singers continue to appear. Some  of
the more recent pop groups are Dire Straits, Eurhythmics  and  Spice  Girls.
Many of the new bands have been able to use the  changes  in  technology  to
develop their music. Computerised  drum  machines,  synthesisers  and  other
electronic instruments are now just as popular as  the  piano  and  electric
guitars.

Tastes differ. So people’s musical interests range from pop and rock  music,
which are extremely popular nowadays,  especially  among  young  people,  to
classical music and opera.
My favourite style of music is pop music, because  it  is  breathtaking  and
full of energy. When I listen to pop music it makes me remember happy  times
and forget the problems of everyday life. It helps  me  to  relax  when  I’m
tired, and entertains me when I’d like to have fun. My  favourite  group  is
Abba. It was formed in 1973 in  Sweden.  Abba’s  cheerful  tunes  made  them
international pop stars and  one  of  the  most  successful  groups  of  the
seventies. Their most  famous  songs  (“Waterloo”,  “Money,  Money,  Money”,
“Knowing Me, Knowing You”, etc.) often topped European  charts.  Though  the
group doesn’t exist any more, it is still popular with people of  all  ages.
I can’t but admire their  style  of  singing.  I  find  it  fascinating  and
overwhelming. When I have free time I listen to their records. I  also  like
having background music while I am working.

I don’t mind listening to dance music, especially when I go to disco  clubs.
This style of music is catchy and firey and I like catchy  tunes.  It  makes
me more energetic.
It’s a pity that many young people like to listen only to modern  music.  As
for me, I also enjoy listening to classical music. I  find  it  tuneful  and
appealing. Classical music is always a complex  of  emotions.  It  gives  me
delight, pleasure and a sense of happiness. Some pieces of  classical  music
are really wonderful. Not long ago I listened to the First  Piano  Concerto,
composed  by  Tchaikovsky.  The  power  of  his  music  captivated  me.  The
impression was overwhelming.
The music I hate is heavy metal. I  find  it  noisy  and  dreadful.  When  I
listen to this style of music it presents to my mind pictures of dark  days.
Though some young people are fond of this style  of  music,  it  is  not  to
everyone’s taste. To my mind, music too loud can  destroy  our  ears.  I  am
indifferent to other styles of music. For example, I  don’t  mind  listening
to jazz. Improvisation is an important part of  this  style,  that’s  why  a
jazz song may sound a little different each time it is played. I think  that
jazz is a mixture of many different kinds of music, but I consider it a  bit
complicated.
My mother and father approve of my tastes in music. Though  they  prefer  to
listen to classical and “bard music”, they think that, on the whole,  modern
music is not too bad. My parents agree that  each  generation  has  its  own
tastes.
It goes without saying that music plays a very important  role  in  people’s
lives. It reflects our moods and emotions. Music appeals to our  hearts  and
transforms our feelings. It conquers  our  souls  and  enriches  our  minds.
Besides, listening to music is the perfect way to spend free  time  and  not
to feel bored. You can hardly find a person who doesn’t like or need  music,
who never sings or dances. Music is  beauty  in  sounds,  it  is  our  magic
source of inspiration.
15. What are traditional British  kinds  of  sports?  Are  they  popular  in
Russia? What kinds of sport, is your family interested in?
Englishmen are known to be great sports-lovers.  One  of  the  most  popular
British games is cricket, which foreigners can hardly understand. There  are
two teams of 11 players. Matches last from one to five days.  It  is  played
all over the country in the summer. To many Englishmen  cricket  is  both  a
game and a standard of behavior. When they consider  something  unfair  they
say “That isn’t cricket.” Almost all Englishmen become fans when they  watch
a  traditional  cricket  match  between  the  teams  of  Great  Britain  and
Australia, or New Zealand. England  without  cricket  would  be  like  bacon
without eggs.
Another game which attracts great attention is soccer  (European  football).
There are plenty of amateur and professional soccer  clubs  in  every  town.
Professional soccer is big business. The Cup Final played in London  is  the
culminating event of the  football  season.  Rugby  football  is  also  very
popular, but it is played  mainly  by  amateurs.  It’s  a  kind  of  English
football in which the players use their hands for carrying  the  ball.  This
game is played by teams  of  15  men  with  an  oval  ball  and  it’s  often
considered to be a violent game.

A  great  number  of  people  play  and  watch  tennis.  Among  many  tennis
tournaments the most famous is the one in Wimbledon. Horse  racing  is  also
extremely popular in Great Britain. The racing season includes  five  races.
The annual race for “Derby” is perhaps the most  famous  sporting  event  in
the  whole  world.  Englishmen  also  go  in  for  golf,  baseball,  hockey,
basketball, bowling,  and  badminton.  Athletic  sports,  such  as  running,
jumping, rowing, swimming, boxing and gymnastics, are practiced  at  schools
and colleges. The annual Oxford-Cambridge boat  race  on  the  river  Thames
attracts lots of people and is very popular. In Scotland,  where  there  are
good conditions for winter sports, skiing is very popular.
Great Britain and America are the birthplaces of  many  sports.  That’s  why
many of them have English names. It is easy to understand  how  these  games
were named.  For  example,  baseball  is  played  with  a  ball  and  bases.
Basketball is played with a ball  and  two  baskets.  The  names  for  other
sports come from the name  of  the  place  where  they  were  first  played.
Badminton comes from the name of a piece of land owned by an  English  Duke.
The game was first played on the Duke’s land in 1873. Golf was first  played
in Scotland, but its name comes from  the  Dutch  word  for  a  hockey  club
“colf.”

Almost all these games are popular in Russia. Russian people even  began  to
play cricket. And plenty of bowling clubs appeared in our country.  This  is
because we can hardly overestimate the meaning of sport in our life and day-
to-day activities. The main purpose of going in for sports is to  develop  a
generation of strong and healthy people. Sports prevent us from getting  too
fat, and brings up a harmoniously developed generation. Sometimes playing  a
sport is connected with great risks. Besides, there  are  violent  kinds  of
sports and sportsmen and fans discuss whether  these  kinds  of  sports  are
necessary.
In my family we prefer swimming. I began swimming  at  the  age  of  six.  I
think that swimming is something like music or  languages,  and  that’s  why
it’s very good to start as early as possible if you want to be good  at  it.
There is no question that you can speak; there is no question that  you  can
walk; and there is no question that you can swim if  you  start  at  a  very
early age. My parents also go to the swimming pool, but they began going  in
for swimming when they were grown-ups. There are some sports which I’ve  not
had a chance to experience but would really like  to.  They’re  mostly  non-
competitive sports. I love the water very much and I’d really  like  to  try
some more water sports. For instance, being pulled by a boat whilst  wearing
water-skis would, I’m sure, be a fantastic experience. And I’d also like  to
try surfing. I think there’s no greater feeling on  earth  than  riding  the
top of a wave on a surfboard. I’d like to try it just  to  see.  My  parents
and I are great fans. We subscribe to a sports newspaper and  like  watching
nothing but football matches. We read the newspaper from cover to cover  and
lie on the sofa watching sport competitions on television on Sunday.
16. Some people go  in  for  sports,  while  others  like  to  watch  sports
competitions? Which is better: to watch or to participate?
The modern way of life, when people have little physical activity, use  cars
instead of walking, watch television for many hours, and work  on  computers
is turning them into  legless  creatures.  Although  a  lot  of  people  are
interested in staying healthy, not many people do very much about  it.  Only
10 per cent of adults take part in sport more than twice a week.
The majority of people live in  towns  and  cities,  where  space  for  team
sports is limited. To keep fit, most people take part in individual  sports.
They usually go walking, swimming, cycling, or do aerobics. Taking  part  in
all of these sports is informal and casual. Most people just want to  relax.
If they do aerobics or go swimming, they usually go to  the  sports  centre;
but not many people join a sport club.

Some people argue that sports are not very useful. It takes a lot of  energy
and time. As a result of going in for sports, people have  broken  legs  and
arms and other injuries. Besides, it makes you unhappy when you lose. A  lot
of people prefer to watch sports  competitions  rather  than  take  part  in
sports. Thousands of people go to the stadiums to  support  their  favourite
teams and sportsmen. The most popular spectator sports are football,  hockey
and figure skating. Most of the important competitions  are  televised,  and
people enjoy watching sports programmes on TV. They needn’t buy tickets  and
go to a stadium,  especially  in  cold  and  rainy  weather.  But  certainly
watching sports events and going in for sports are two different things.
In my opinion, people can’t do without  sports.  Sports  play  an  important
part in our lives. I think sports help us in different ways. First  of  all,
it helps us to stay in good shape, to keep fit and to be healthy.  It  makes
people strong, fast and agile. What is  more,  sport  builds  character;  it
teaches  us  to  compete  and  practice  sportsmanship.  It  makes  us  more
organised and better disciplined in our daily activities. Besides, it  is  a
good way to meet people and to make new friends.

Sports are an essential part of our everyday life. To have a  healthy  mind,
you must have a healthy body. But to be healthy,  it  is  not  necessary  to
become a  professional  sportsman.  You  may  go  in  for  sports  just  for
pleasure, when you have free time.  Some  people  jog  every  morning;  some
follow fitness classes shown on  TV.  Young  people  usually  put  on  their
roller-skates and skate in the streets and parks.  A  lot  of  young  people
spend their holidays hiking; it doesn’t cost much, and it is a  really  good
way of getting away from crowds.
Physical education is an important subject at school.  It  helps  pupils  to
relax and to keep fit after a hard  working  day.  Each  school  has  sports
facilities. A lot of different competitions are usually held at  school  and
a great number of pupils take part in them. That’s why I  think  sports  are
so popular in our country.

The most popular sports in Russia  are  football  and  hockey,  skating  and
skiing, track and field and swimming,  tennis  and  basketball.  It  is  not
always easy to decide which  sport  to  take  up.  The  aim  of  all  sports
training  is  to  improve  fitness  and  skills,  and  to  develop  training
programmes that are both safe and effective. The important  thing,  however,
is that anyone who is not used to exercising should not do too much  at  the
beginning. Moreover, it is better to do a little regularly than a  lot  once
every two months. Among the be-nefits of regular exercise  are  a  healthier
heart, stronger bones, quicker reaction times, and  less  susceptibility  to
various illnesses. Scientists believe that if you  go  in  for  sport  on  a
regular basis, it could even help you to live longer.
I enjoy many sports; but best of all I love swimming.  I  started  to  learn
when I was about seven years old. When I was younger I used to  go  swimming
three or four times a week. Now I have less free  time,  but  a  week  never
goes by without my visiting the pool at least once. Sports help me  to  work
off my extra energy.
Swimming  is  an  inexpensive  and  simple  sport.  You  do  not  need   any
complicated equipment. You just  need  a  swimming  costume  or  trunks  and
perhaps a cap. You can swim in the sea or a  river,  or  you  can  go  to  a
special swimming pool. I love swimming because it is a  very  good  exercise
for the whole body. I would recommend it because it is so convenient to  do:
you can do it when you like and for as long as you like.
17. What does a healthy way of  life  mean?  How  do  you  look  after  your
health?
People nowadays are  more  health-conscious  than  they  used  to  be.  They
understand that good health is above wealth.
To be healthy we should avoid different  bad  habits  that  can  affect  our
health. In my opinion, smoking, and  drinking  too  much  alcohol,  are  the
worst ones. It’s common knowledge that smoking and drinking can shorten  our
lives dramatically. Smoking, for example, causes a number of heart and  lung
diseases, such as pneumonia, emphysema and cancer. Besides,  it  makes  your
teeth yellow and skin unhealthy. Fortunately, in recent  years  smoking  has
received a lot of bad publicity,  and  fewer  people  smoke  nowadays.  Some
companies don’t employ people who are smokers. Smoking has  been  banned  in
most public places because everyone agrees it does harm  to  our  health.  I
don’t smoke, because I don’t want to have unhealthy skin and teeth  and  die
young.
Smoking and drinking are joined by less dangerous habits, such  as  skipping
meals, eating unhealthy food, or even overeating. Of course,  they  are  not
quite as deadly as smoking or drinking alcohol, but  they  also  affect  our
health.
If we eat too much, we’ll become obese, and obesity leads to serious  health
problems. A lot of people like drinking coca  cola  and  coffee,  and  enjoy
pizzas and hamburgers. But what is tasty is not always  healthy.  Fast  food
makes you fat, that is why Americans are the fattest people in the world.
In  recent  years  eating  habits  have  undergone  a  change.  People   are
encouraged to eat less fat and more fibre. Fat is believed to be one of  the
major causes of obesity and heart disease. High fibre and low fat foods  can
now be found in all shops and supermarkets. Salads, beans,  and  fruit  have
taken the place of steak and ice cream.  The  fashion  for  health  food  is
growing all the time.
Many people feel they are too fat, even if their  doctors  disagree.  And  a
lot of people try to improve their fitness. There are a lot of ways to  lose
weight and avoid gaining it. Perhaps the most popular of them  is  following
a diet. If you want to lose weight, you should cut out snacks and  desserts,
and cut down on fat. People have also become more  aware  of  calories,  the
energy value of food. Some people count the  number  of  calories  they  eat
every day; so that they can try to take in fewer calories and  lose  weight.
This is called a calorie-controlled  diet.  Manufacturers  are  increasingly
producing special foods with fewer calories for slimmers.
But excessive dieting may be dangerous, too. Some people refuse to eat  meat
as they consider it harmful. They say a vegetarian diet reduces the risk  of
cancer and vegetarians live longer than others. I  can’t  agree  with  them,
because meat is an excellent source of good nutrition. In my  opinion,  it’s
wrong to put down a food simply because excessive amounts can  cause  health
problems. Consumed in moderate amounts,  meat  is  perfectly  good  for  our
health.
To my mind, the only way to stay healthy and to keep fit is by going in  for
sports. Among the benefits  of  regular  exercise  are  a  healthier  heart,
stronger bones, quicker  reaction  times  and  more  resistance  to  various
illnesses. Besides, you can eat and drink as much as you  want  because  you
are burning it all off.
To be healthy, it is also very important to spend a lot of time in the  open
air. It is useful to go for a walk before going to bed, or to air the room.
I think it is very important to be fit and healthy, and it is  necessary  to
take care of your health. Being fat, in fact, can cause  real  problems.  It
is harder for fat people to get a good job, or even to make friends. If  you
want to do well, you must be thin. That’s why  I  go  in  for  sports  on  a
regular basis. I have been doing aerobics for three years and I feel  great.
I am not enthusiastic about strict dieting, but I try to  eat  only  low-fat
food, and fruit and vegetables which are rich in vitamins.
Personally I believe that regularity in life promotes our  health.  Sleeping
eight or nine hours, getting up early, regular meals,  a  healthy  diet  and
going in for sports is really a good way to live.
18. The problems of ecology are very important now.  Which  problem  is  the
most urgent, in your opinion? What can you and the people around you  do  to
protect the planet?
Environmental problems have become exceptionally acute in the modern  world,
and environmental protection has become a vital necessity for all people.
Our planet is in serious danger. One of  the  most  important  environmental
problems in the world today is  the  shortage  of  clean  water.  Industrial
pollution has made many sources of  water  undrinkable.  Rivers,  lakes  and
even seas have become poisonous. Thousands of  fish  die  every  year  as  a
result of the illegal dumping of waste in rivers by factories all  over  the
world.
Lake Baikal is one of the worlds’  largest  and  most  beautiful  lakes.  It
contains a rich variety of fish and plants,  including  1,300  rare  species
that do not exist anywhere else  in  the  world.  However,  they  are  being
killed by massive industrial waste, which some  factories  still  pour  into
the lake every day. A few years ago people thought that the supply of  clean
water was unlimited. Now clean water is scarce,  and  we  are  beginning  to
respect this precious  resource.  We  must  protect  the  clean  water  that
remains for the sake of our children and grandchildren.
Air pollution is another important problem. In hundreds of cities and  towns
the concentration of harmful substances in the air is  over  ten  times  the
admissible level. Every day a huge number of plants and factories emit  lots
of harmful substances into the atmosphere of big cities. The great  increase
in the use of motor cars in the last quarter of the  twentieth  century  has
caused an increase in a new kind of air pollution. Pollution from  factories
and cars poison the  air  we  breathe,  and  is  the  main  reason  for  the
greenhouse effect and acid rain.
Acid rain can damage life in lakes  and  rivers  and  destroy  forests.  The
greenhouse effect may also have disastrous consequences for our  planet.  It
is already affecting  several  areas  of  the  world  with  unusual  weather
causing droughts or heavy storms. The world’s temperature is  going  up  and
the climate is changing. Cutting down on  emissions  from  large  combustion
plants and exhaust fumes from vehicles  would  help  solve  the  problem.  I
think we should try and use alternative energy, such  as  solar  energy  and
wind energy, and design plants and cars that  run  on  electricity,  a  much
cleaner fuel than petrol.
One of the most alarming environmental problems is depletion  of  the  ozone
layer, which protects the Earth from the dangerous ultraviolet rays  of  the
sun. Because of  the  ozone  holes,  the  dangerous  rays  get  through  the
atmosphere, causing skin cancer and other serious diseases. Many  scientists
think that these ozone holes are the result of air pollution.
In  my  opinion,  the  most  urgent  ecological   problem   today   is   the
environmental safety of nuclear power stations. Nuclear pollution  can’t  be
seen, but  its  effects  can  be  terrible.  We  all  know  how  tragic  the
consequences of the Chernobyl disaster are.  Nuclear  waste  also  endangers
people’s lives. People all over the world protest against nuclear tests  and
nuclear weapons. If we do not take any action, the possibility of  a  global
nuclear disaster is very real.
Of course, we can’t help mentioning such burning issues  as  destruction  of
tropical forests and  wildlife,  overpopulation,  and  shortage  of  natural
resources. The list of serious ecological problems could be continued.
Today environmental issues are much spoken and written about on  TV,  radio,
and in the newspapers. If people want to survive, they must  do  their  best
to solve these problems. Fortunately, it’s not too late to save our  planet.
We understand that our environment is not just our home town, but the  whole
earth. The protection of the environment requires  the  cooperation  of  all
nations. Governments  should  take  measures  that  will  help  improve  the
environment.
There are a lot of environmental  groups  and  international  organisations,
whose main goal is to strengthen cooperation  among  environmentalists  from
different countries. The most famous of them is Greenpeace,  which  combines
the people’s efforts for peace with the huge and ever mounting movement  for
nature conservation. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the  name  of  another
international organisation that appeared in 1961. It has  created  or  given
support to National Parks on five continents.
However, there are a lot of simple things we  should  all  do  to  stop  the
destruction of the environment. First of all,  we  mustn’t  drop  litter  in
public places. Besides, we  shouldn’t  dump  our  rubbish  without  thinking
which things, such as bottles and paper,  can  be  recycled.  We  must  stop
using aerosol sprays, because the stuff  they  contain  destroys  the  ozone
layer. We should take care of birds and animals. We can help to plant  trees
and create parks for endangered species. We can clean rivers and canals  and
create footpaths. But first of all we must change people’s attitude  towards
the environment.
If we take action now, there might be some hope for the  future.  If  we  do
nothing, we are heading for disaster!
19. People set up different organizations for various purposes. What do  you
know about these organizations? Are you a member of any organization?  Which
organization would you join? Why?
The  20th  century  is  characterized  by  the  creation  of   international
organizations: only a small number of the  international  organizations  now
in existence were formed before 1850, and about 90% were  organized  in  the
period 1900–1956. In the 1980s  there  were  more  than  2500  international
organizations, of which about 750 were  formed  after  World  War  II.  This
number included more than 130 intergovernmental agencies, of which the  most
notable were the United Nations and its affiliates.
The name United Nations was devised by United States President  Franklin  D.
Roosevelt and was first used in the “Declaration by  United  Nations”  of  1
January 1942, when representatives of 26 nations pledged  their  governments
to continue fighting together against Germany, Japan and Italy. The  Charter
of the United Nations was signed by 51 states on 26 June 1945. This  day  is
now celebrated each year throughout the world as United Nations Day.  Russia
is a member of the United Nations.
A specialized agency  of  the  United  Nations  is  UNESCO  (United  Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). It was founded in  1946.
It promotes international collaboration in education, science  and  culture.
Education is UNESCO’s main activity. The  organization  attempts  to  assist
and support national efforts of member  states  in  eliminating  illiteracy,
training teachers, developing educational institutions  and  extending  free
education.  UNESCO  also  works  to  study,  develop  and  promote  cultural
heritage and protect historic monuments and the natural environment.  UNESCO
assists and supports the  efforts  of  member  states  through  conferences,
seminars and publications, through the promotion of  research  and  exchange
of information and knowledge.
Now I’d like to tell you about  the  World  Health  Organization  (WHO).  It
began its activities in  1948.  It  is  a  specialized  agency  designed  to
further international cooperation for improved health conditions. The  major
function of the WHO is to establish measures for  the  control  of  epidemic
diseases.  This  consists  of  mass  campaigns  promoted  by   WHO   against
communicable diseases. The major function of WHO is nursing  concerned  with
maternal and child  health.  It  also  assists  educational  programmes  for
nurses and assistants. WHO is coordinating an international  effort  against
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) as well as the current threat  of
SARS.
Another medical organization is the Red Cross  and  Red  Crescent.  The  Red
Cross is an humanitarian agency with national  affiliates  in  almost  every
country in the world. The Red Cross movement began in  1863.  Its  peacetime
activities include first aid, accident prevention,  water  safety,  training
of nurses’ aids and mothers’ assistants  and  maintenance  of  maternal  and
child welfare centres, clinics, blood banks  and  numerous  other  services.
The Red Cross is the name used in Christian countries; the Red  Crescent  is
the name used in Muslim countries.
Greenpeace is an international  nongovernmental  organization  dedicated  to
preserving endangered species of animals,  preventing  environmental  abuses
and taking care of wildlife. Greenpeace was founded in  1971  in  Vancouver,
Canada. It brought together people concerned with  terrible  abuses  to  the
environment. The organization has  a  small  staff  and  relies  largely  on
voluntary staffing and funding. Greenpeace also campaigns:
– for stricter control over chemical waste disposal on land;
– to stop all nuclear weapons tests;
– to close down nuclear power stations and nuclear reprocessing plants;
– to stop acid rain and protect the atmosphere;
– to reduce the trade in endangered species products;
– to declare Antarctica a World Park  –  free  of  military  and  industrial
exploitation, and so forth.
Today it is a global organization with national  offices  in  27  countries;
one of them is in Russia (since 1992).
There are also youth organizations, because the main aim of  society  is  to
prepare young people for  responsible  roles  in  the  adult  world  and  to
provide  constructive  outlets  for   energies   of   young   people.   Some
organizations such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or  Guides,  and  Young  Men’s
Christian Association and Young Women’s Christian Associations, have  spread
all over the world. The Boy Scout movement was founded in Great  Britain  in
1908. In 1910 the Girl Scout movement was  also  founded  in  that  country.
There are about 1,300,000 boys and girls in them. The movement  of  the  Boy
Scouts has its aim to help a Scout (a boy from 8–18) to develop into a  good
man and a useful citizen. He  must  be  able  to  handle  sails,  to  use  a
compass, to lay and light a fire  outdoors,  he  must  know  first  aid  and
develop his interest in music, literature, drama, arts and  films.  A  Scout
is a friend to animals, he’s “clean in thought,  word  and  deed”.  He  must
obey the Scout Law.
As for me, I’m not a member of any organization. But  if  I  had  chance,  I
would become a Scout, because I like the aims of this organization  and  the
ways they are achieved.
20. Growing up can cause problems.  Do  you  have  any  problems  with  your
friends, your parents and other people around you?  How  do  you  cope  with
these problems?
It’s hard not to see that teenagers nowadays have a lot of problems. One  of
the real problems is having no close friend. Several days ago I had  a  best
friend, but now I don’t. My friend was much more to me than  just  a  person
with whom I communicated. We were as thick as thieves. We helped each  other
to survive and got along well. But some days ago we quarrelled, and now  I’m
at a loss what to do. Fortune turned its back on me and I feel very  lonely.
I can’t say that my parents don’t understand me, they  try  to  support  me;
but I think only time can heal me. Some young  people  are  just  sure  that
their parents don’t want to understand them. It’s a  very  serious  problem.
I’m sure that this point of view is absolutely wrong.
Psychologists believe,  parents-child  conflicts  cannot  be  avoided  in  a
society that is undergoing rapid change. In our society  youngsters  are  at
odds with their parents on a wide range of issues, from how  late  they  can
stay up, to whom they should marry. It’s called  a  generation  gap.  But  I
think our parents are people whom we can trust. In most  cases  teens  don’t
understand their parents and become very nervous. When  this  happens,  it’s
time to say to yourself “stop”,  and  try  to  find  in  your  parents  more
positive than negative traits. Our  parents  should  understand  one  thing,
that today’s children will become tomorrow’s society. So they should try  to
understand the child; they should find out  about  teen  problems  and  help
solve them.
The other very important problem is our school life. Teens are  often  under
pressure in many ways at school – they are supposed to be “macho” – good  at
school subjects, able to stand up for themselves  without  crying.  If  they
can’t, they are “wimps”, and often  children  will  tease  and  bully  them,
especially at school. But all children are different – they  have  different
needs and talents, likes and dislikes.  Teens  are  not  just  “machos”  and
“wimps”, they are rebels and conformists,  extroverts  and  introverts.  Our
teachers and our parents should assure us that all  these  types  of  people
are good, and it will reduce a lot of our problems.

Teenager’s Problems
There are so-called “problem teenagers”, who take drugs. A large  number  of
teens use them very often. They are drug addicts. I don’t have such  friends
and I think that there should be special programmes to solve this problem.

Drugs Destroy Lives
Another problem is connected with biorhythms. Not all people  know  what  it
is, and they begin to laugh at you and can offend you,  when  sometimes  you
are all fingers and thumbs,  when  you  are  accident-prone,  or  when  your
temper seems to be on a short fuse. It is because we all  have  an  internal
“body clock” which regulates the rise and the fall of our  bodies’  energies
and it’s called biorhythms. So our teachers, parents and  classmates  should
understand it and not pay attention to it because it’s the law of  our  life
and nature.
My other serious problem is to enter a good university and find a  good  job
afterwards. But unemployment rates  are  extremely  high  –  even  qualified
people with great knowledge can’t find something good. But in spite of  that
I hope for the best.
I always want to impress people. But the first  impression  we  make  almost
fully depends on what we wear and how we wear it.  Manners  and  speech  are
noticed next and character only later. Many teens have the same taste.  They
like to keep up-to-date with the changes in our society. They like  to  wear
clothes which look good and which you feel comfortable in. Being in  fashion
makes you feel good, in tune with the world you live in. But  when  you  are
at school it is important to wear the right clothes, even formal  ones,  and
not to dress up. I understand it, but some  of  my  classmates  don’t.  They
like to shock their teachers and parents, and provoke them, and  that’s  why
they have some problems at school. So you should have some  “clothes  sense”
to know and feel  the  types  of  things  that  are  your  style  in  formal
situations (when you are at school) and at parties.
As for me nowadays, I try to cope with all my problems alone,  or  with  the
help of my parents. My parents are real friends and they understand  me  and
try to help me or give advice.
So if someone denies all of the problems teenagers have, they are not  being
honest. Teens have a lot of problems. But the first thing we have  to  think
about is the future we’re building  for  ourselves  and  our  children.  The
better we are now, the better we understand  one  another,  the  better  our
place will be when we grow up.



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