Everyday conversations: Communities in the U.S. [audio]


Six students from around the world meet. What do they have in common? They are all exchange students studying at a U.S. university for a semester. Throughout the semester, they learn more English, learn about U.S. culture, and learn more about their fields of study. This series of Everyday Conversations is about these six students and their experiences during a semester at a university in the U.S. These conversations are for intermediate-level English-language learners or higher.

Students (Lucía, Akyinyi and Ajay) discuss the many different groups of people who have moved from their homeland to the U.S. and the different cultures in the U.S.

Lucía: Hey, Ajay. Akinyi and I are going to an event about diasporas at the Campus Center tonight at 8. Do you want to come with us?

Ajay: I was already planning to go, but let’s all go together. I have an assignment for one of my classes. I need to choose and write about a diaspora community in the U.S., and I think tonight’s event will give me good background information.

Akinyi: It definitely will. There are a lot of different diaspora communities in the U.S.

Lucía: Yeah, we’ve been studying this in one of my classes. The U.S. has more global diaspora members than any other country in the world.

Akinyi: I knew it was a multicultural country, but I had no idea just how multicultural until I got here.

Ajay: Well, which diaspora community do you think I should write about?

Akinyi: I think you should choose a diaspora community that is prominent in this city.

Ajay: Yeah, I could interview people in the community and talk to them about their experiences here in the U.S. and even see how their experiences are different from ours as exchange students. I really want to know what the community is like.

Lucía: You should talk with Kayla. She lives in our dorm. Her family is part of the Ethiopian diaspora, and they own a really popular restaurant downtown. We should all go there for dinner one night.

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

A diaspora is a large group of people who have moved from their home country to live in other countries in the world. Often this move is not completely by choice but is because of war, political issues, famine, etc., in the people’s home country.

A diaspora community is a large group of people who have moved from their homeland and live in a different country.

Multicultural: relating to or including people who have many different customs and beliefs.

To have no idea is an informal way to say one does not know. For example: “I have no idea where I’m going” means “I do not know where I’m going.”

Something that is prominent is well-known, important, easily seen.

When we use the phrase what something is like or the question What is something like, we want to know more about the place, object, event or person. For example: Q: What is Florida like? A: It’s hot and humid, but I like it. Q: What is Maria like? A: She’s thoughtful and friendly, and she’s an excellent student.

Dorm is short for dormitory. A dormitory is a large building at a college or university where students live.

Downtown refers to the main or central part of a town or city.

Ready to learn more English? Our materials can help.

The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily.

Everyday Conversations are developed by the State Department’s Heidi Howland, a senior program officer in the Office of English Language Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.