Everyday conversations: How do I get to …? [audio]

Students help each other navigate through campus. (State Dept./ D.A. Peterson)

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.

In this conversation, new students (Jana, Lucía and Akinyi) at a university help one another to locate a building on campus.

Jana: Excuse me. Do you know how to get to the Campus Center?

Lucía: Yes, I do. Go straight on this path. At the big brick building, take a left. Walk on that path for about a minute. The Campus Center is on the right. It’s a big white building.

Jana: Great! Thank you so much. Do you also know where the Burton Conference Hall is? It’s located somewhere inside the Campus Center.

Lucía: I’m not exactly sure. But my roommate and I are heading there now. Do you want to come with us?

Jana: That would be great!

Lucía: By the way, I’m Lucía, and this is my roommate Akinyi. We’re exchange students for the fall semester.

Jana: I am too! My name is Jana. It’s nice to meet you both.

Lucía and Akinyi: It’s nice to meet you too.

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

One way to ask for directions is to use the question form: “Do you know how to get to _____?” For example: “Do you know how to get to Main Street?” “Do you know how to get to the post office?”

When giving directions, go straight means to move in the same direction without turning.

Take a left means to turn left.

On the right is used when giving directions. It means that a location (such as a building) is on the right side of the path or street.

Not exactly sure: The person is not 100 percent certain about something.

To head somewhere means to go somewhere.

The phrase by the way is used to introduce a statement that changes the subject being discussed. For example: “I went to the movies last night and saw the movie you recommended. By the way, I saw your sister there.”

An exchange student is a student from one country who attends a school in another country.

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.