Everyday conversations: Let’s go to the rain forest! [audio]

(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.

A student (Peter) talks with another student (Lee) about his future trip to the rain forest.

Lee: I’m so jealous that you’ll be spending part of your winter break in the rain forest. As an environmental science major, I’d love to go to the rain forest to study it.

Peter: I’m really excited to go. I’ll be volunteering at a school for two weeks. I’ll be helping one of the classroom teachers there.

Lee: Are you nervous?

Peter: Not about working in the school. I’m just worried about malaria.

Lee: Right. Mosquitoes in that area carry malaria. But can’t you get vaccinated or something?

Peter: There’s no vaccination for malaria, but I can take a drug. I will have to take a pill every day while I’m there.

Lee: Definitely don’t forget to take it. Malaria can kill you.

Peter: I know. Fortunately, governments and NGOs are increasing awareness about the disease and giving people mosquito nets to help with disease prevention.

Lee: That’s good. So you’ll be sleeping under a mosquito net too?

Peter: I think so!

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

A winter break is a period of vacation between semesters of college or other schools that includes the winter holidays, such as New Year’s Day.

A rain forest is a forest in a tropical area (an area that is very warm and near the equator of the earth) that gets a lot of rain.

To volunteer means to offer to do something without being paid to do it or without being asked.

Malaria is an infectious disease (a disease that can be spread) that causes fever and chills and is passed to people by mosquitoes.

To be vaccinated means to be given a substance (usually by injection with a needle) to protect against a particular disease.

Awareness: knowing that something exists and is important.

A mosquito net is a net (an object made with pieces of string, rope, etc., and woven together) that is hung over a bed, etc., to keep out mosquitoes.

Prevention: the act of stopping something bad from happening

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.