Author Archives: elise

Spaniards Resort to Self-employment

B2 – Upper intermediate

Having one’s own business used to be something people did post-retirement. But with the long-drawn out unemployment crisis in Spain, it has become the only option left for many. The real issue however, is how to convert these people ‘s talents and skills into a regular source of income.

Watch the video and find out if  self-employment is the key to the unemployment problem in Spain.


1. What do you think of self-employment as a source of income? Would you consider it yourself?
2. Do you think the Spanish government is doing enough to support self-employed individuals?
3. What qualities should a self-employed individual have in order to succeed?
4. What are the pros and cons of being self-employed?

Rent a Foreigner in China

C1 – Advanced

In China, being Caucasian can open doors to a Hollywood style career. With thousands of high-rise apartment units to sell, housing developers have turned to talent agencies that specialize in renting out foreigners to clients. A white face is supposed to make a place “truly international”  which should then translate into sales.

Watch the video and see how the Chinese use image to solve the real estate glut and in the process transform the average Joe into a celebrity of sorts.


1. Do you think foreigners being made to pretend to be people they are not is acceptable?
2. Can you think of an experience you’ve had whereby you were treated in a special way because of the color of your skin?
3. Why do you think the Chinese associate white people with prestige?
4. Would you agree to be a foreigner for rent in China? Why or why not?

The 2 Euro T-Shirt – A Social Experiment

B1 – Intermediate

A nice t-shirt for only 2 euros sounds like a really good bargain. But, is it really?

Watch the video and discover why this “good buy” comes at a cost for the lowly third world sewers who make them.


1. When buying clothes, what things do you consider?
2. What do you think can be done to help improve the situation of sweatshop workers in third world countries?
3. Is there an advocacy or cause that you support? If you do, explain why you support it.

Video: America’s Shrinking Homes

C1 – Advanced

America is the place where everything is big – from food portions to super skyscrapers and warehouse stores. “Small” is the last word one associates with the US. Surprisingly, however, it was in this very land of everything mega that the tiny house movement was born.

Watch the video and learn more about the minimalist lifestyle that has made some people move from big houses to whimsical dollhouse-type homes.

America’s shrinking homes


1. According to the video, why are there more and more people joining the tiny house movement?
2. In your country, what did people do to adjust when the economic crisis hit? Did people start selling their homes?
3. Is it usual for people to live in big houses in your country?
4. Describe your ideal house.

Signs You Were Born and Raised in Spain


B2 – Upper intermediate

Are you a true-blue Espanol? Read the article and see which among the cultural quirks you can identify with. Be ready to debunk the myths, explain the idiosyncrasies, and add what you think is missing from the list.

15 Signs You Were Born and Raised in Spain


1. Which ones do you practice? Which ones are not true for you?
2. Do you think you can add more to the list?
3. What do you think is the history behind some of the mentioned practices?

Video: The Silent Eatery

C1 – Advanced

Can you imagine having dinner out with friends without engaging in conversation? That is exactly the protocol at a New York restaurant called “Eat”.

Watch the video below and be prepared to share your thoughts about it.

Silence is golden for New York restaurant


1. Is the restaurant a novel idea or is it mere gimmickry?
2. Explain the concept behind “Eat”.
3. Towards the end of the video, how did the diners react to their dining experience?
4. What are some of the unique restaurants that you have been to?

Video: Cosmetic Surgery Boom in China

B2 – Upper intermediate

In Europe, young people try to improve their chances of finding employment by learning English or by going to a foreign country.  It’s an altogether different story in China where young job seekers go to extreme lengths to make sure they land those much coveted jobs.

Watch the video below and be ready to share  your thoughts on the disturbing trend among young Chinese people aiming to be part of the workforce.

Cosmetic surgery boom in China


1. According to the video, what are some of the most common procedures that patients have?
2. How much do the procedures cost and who pays for them?
3. What is your general opinion of plastic surgery?
4. Is plastic surgery something that is common in your country?