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, one student (Akinyi) teaches another (Lucía) about different cooking devices and their positive and negative effects.
Lucía: Akinyi, do you wanna watch a movie tonight?
Akinyi: I’d love to, but I can’t. I have work to do for my virtual internship.
Lucía: Do you have a new project this week?
Akinyi: I do. I’m working with a company that helps provide access to clean energy.
Lucía: What kind of things do they do?
Akinyi: They create and donate clean cookstoves. I’m helping them with a marketing campaign. They want more people to understand the importance of clean energy, especially clean cookstoves.
Lucía: I guess I don’t really know the difference between a clean cookstove and a … dirty cookstove?
Akinyi: They’re usually called traditional cookstoves, but yeah, they’re definitely dirty. The smoke from them contains hazardous pollutants and causes health problems, especially for the people who use them. Plus, they are a source of black carbon emissions, which contributes to climate change.
Lucía: Lee has talked about black carbon before. I had no idea a simple stove could impact the environment so much. But people need to cook!
Akinyi: Exactly. You can’t tell people not to cook. And some people don’t have the money needed to buy a new stove. That’s the reason this company donates clean cookstoves.
Now let’s review the vocabulary.
A virtual internship is a work experience program where the intern (participant) works remotely and is not physically present at the job location.
Access is being able to use, see or get something.
Clean energy is energy that does not pollute the environment when used.
A clean cookstove is a stove that burns fuel more efficiently and with less and cleaner smoke compared to traditional stoves.
A marketing campaign is a series of advertisements to promote a product or service.
Hazardous pollutants are pollutants (substances that make land, air, etc., dirty and unsafe) that are bad for people’s health and bad for the environment.
Black carbon emissions: Fine particles sent into the air from fossil fuels and biofuel. Black carbon is the part of the fuel that is not burned completely. Black carbon emissions have a negative effect on humans and the environment.
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.