Oral topics EOI Salamanca

I have put this post to help people who are trying to pass the oral exams in the Salamanca's EOI. I've done this work in order to be more confident and also to practice my writing skills. I'd be glad if someone else could take a profit from this work. There are fifteen topics.

If you are reading it and you know someone who could be interested in, please send it. Also If you are in a group which are practising English or you want to interchange conversation or having a chat in Spanish and English, please leave a reply at the end of this post. 



The future

I'm not feeling very optimistic about future in general. First of all, today there are lots of unemployed people and with the current economic crisis it's impossible to find jobs for all of them. Secondly, as the number of workers has decreased, the income that public institutions collect from taxes and services they offer isn't enough to cover the unemployment benefit payments, the pension payments and all other expenses, such as public servants payments, army, organisms, health, education, infrastructures and so on. If the problem of lack of jobs isn’t solved soon, we'll be bankruptcy in a few months.



What does this mean? The age of retirement will rise (what could causes problems in companies), pensions will drop, poverty will spread as the savings of the unemployed diminish or disappear and consequently beggars, homelessness, child malnutrition and health problems in general will increase. All this can conduct to a rise in robberies, insecurity and violence. This process has just begun and many people, especially young people, are trying to cope through emigration, looking for opportunities in other countries.



I also feel quite gloomy about the prospects in the entire world. Overpopulation is a huge problem. Although we produce enough food to feed the whole population of the world, some foreign greedy countries are taking control of natural areas in underdeveloped countries, to obtain natural resources such as minerals, woods, agricultural products and fish. It’s usual that the money paid for these purchases or rents of lands goes to politicians who rule the countries, so people don't get anything except low payments and the worst of our Western civilization, like pollution, chemical waste, alcoholism, drug addictions, military control and violence.



Wealth is every day more and more concentrated in a few hands, and increasingly more people are living on charity.



Furthermore, everyday increase the number of groups that hold extreme religious ideas and terrorist organisations. These groups promote hate among cultures and the use of violence to achieve their objectives. There are a great deal of people who are willing to die and kill for their ideas. Some conflicts can create wars between countries, which could become global wars if some powerful allies decide to extend the conflict all over the world, looking for their interests: mineral, food, oil, etc.



Probably in ten or fifteen years, cheap oil will be finished, although I think other sources of energy will have been developed.



The best I can tell you about the future is that in a couple of years, I will speak and write in English fluently.



Victim of a crime



Everyday we can read in the newspapers or watch on TV more and more reports of different kinds of crime, from pickpocketing to murdering, from arson in our forests to kidnapping in the waters near East Africa, mugging and killing in America, Asia and Africa, vandalism, terrorism, tax evasion and bribery everywhere.


But now we are going to talk about directly being the victim of a crime. Fortunately I've never suffered a serious attack, but I know some people who have been injured because they refused to give money to a mugger. Once I even saw an old woman who had been robbed a few minutes before. If I were in a situation like that I think it would be better not to try to be brave or to fight against someone who is threatening you with a knife or a gun; I think an armed person could be really dangerous, even if we think this person is weaker than we are. So, in this case I would prefer giving them the money or the mobile phone to avoid more serious problems.


After suffering a crime, first of all we must look for help if we have been injured. After that we should call the police to report the crime. It is important to remember all the details about the criminal, to give an accurate description of him, including height, complexion, race, colour of his hair, accent, etc. If someone else has witnessed the incident we should ask for their help to remember as much as possible.


It is also important not to make it easy for pickpockets to rob us. I can suggest some ideas, like keeping most of the notes you need, as well as your credit cards, in a money belt under your clothes and carrying only the money you'll need during the day in your pocket.
Another idea it would be to carry on a second wallet in your pocket, where you could put some unuseful or out-of-date cards and a little money, so if you were choosen by a pickpocket as a target, you wouldn't have a significant loss.

My brother suffered an assault and he was robbed when he was going into the underground in Madrid, some years ago. A robber held a knife to his throat and asked him for all the money he had. My brother reacted quietly and gave him his wallet and coins. Fortunately, the robber didn't notice that he was carrying an expensive camera in his backpack, which was his means of work because he was professional photographer at that time. After have been robbed, he asked people for the minimun amount of money he needed for an underground ticket, but everyone refused to give him anything, so he decided to call one of our aunts, in order that she was prepared to pay a taxi for him.


Advertising



Advertising is everywhere. We are used to seeing commercials in the breaks from TV programmes, posters on the walls or in other places designed for displaying them, junk mail in our mailboxes, ads in newspapers and in many other places, including emails, web pages, social networks and Internet search engines.



For example, if we have a look at the usual activities on our everyday life, this could be a normal day: I wake up with my alarm clock, which is connected to the radio; a jingle sounds, I know it very well because I hear it several times almost every day. It'll remain in my head at least for the next minutes, or until I hear the next jingle. Let's assume it's Sunday. I go out to buy the newspaper at the newsagents. It comes with a colourful magazine; both publications are full of ads. Depending on the date I will find more of cars, insurance, toys, mobile phones, perfumes, household appliances or other consumer products.



When I go back home I turn on my computer. Every web page I browse has pop-ups. I check my email and see that I have received some messages from department stores, sports equipment providers, and others from different companies. Some of them are junk mail, I don't know how they got my address, and I put them in the spam tray. I also open a link to Youtube that a friend has sent to me. It is very fun, brilliant and touching. I know that this is a viral advert, because it has been produced by a food brand, but I like it, so I resend it to other friends. I log onto my Facebook account, where I can see many other commercials too. I put my signature to support a campaign for a charity before turning off the computer.

In the afternoon I put on the TV. I like to watch an episode of my favourite series. There are some commercial breaks, but I also see that the characters always use the same brands of food, and there are some well-known logos everywhere.

I go for a walk and see lot of luminous signs. When I am drinking something with my friends in a pub, the waiter offers us a new drink, as a part of a campaign. We have seen some posters showing the picture of a film star who is promoting this new drink.



In short, we are surrounded by advertising. I think it is not wrong that companies offer their products; we have to know them in order to buy the ones that best fit our needs, but I certainly think we need the government to control the veracity of what is advertised. I also believe that we need regulation to prevent junk mail, spamming and the excessive use of advertising.


Are you a lark or an owl?



I definitely prefer the day to the night. Early morning is for me the best moment of the day to study and to carry out any activities that require any intellectual work. In addition, especially in summer, in the mornings the temperature still hasn't risen enough to discourage you from tackling the housework, food shopping or any other physical activity. As a matter of fact it's also the best time to do some exercise such running or cycling. On the other hand, in these hot days we fancy swimming in the swimming pool, in the river or in the sea (if we are away on holidays).


Personally I'm a great enthusiast of nature and I like going to the countryside, walking in the paths and climbing mountains. In fact, in my spare time, at the weekends or on holidays I like to go for trips and treks. Sometimes, I start my journey even before sunrise in order to avoid the heat of midday. During the mid hours of the day I prefer resting, and even having a nap after lunch.
I also think around sunset is a good part of the day, and enjoy it in a different way, reading, walking and going out to meet friends and having a chat while drinking a cold beer.


It bothers me to be disturbed at night. I mean, there are people who need to listen to the music or watch the TV at a really high volume, it doesn't matter what time it is. I have a neighboring family that doesn’t worry about raising their voices and have angry arguments in the middle of the night. I thing it’s annoying every time, but specially at night, when supposedly we shoud be resting.

Of course you have to choose what the best part of the day is for you, considering what your working timetable allows you.
When the night comes I prefer staying at home, eating a salad in my terrace, occasionally watching TV and going to bed when the heat is going down.
It doesn't mean that I don't like to have a party or to go out for dinner! Of course I like doing these things, but not every day. I enjoy these activities more if I do them once a week or even less.


So, definitely I'm a lark more than an owl.


Fears and phobias



There are many people who suffer from fears and phobias in modern society, but are there more people than there used to be? Should we worry? I think we could ask ourselves to find a plausible explanation.


First of all, we all know what fears are, but what do we mean when we say "phobias"? In my opinion a phobia is an intense and unjustifiable fear of something or someone that most people don't perceive as a threat, for example It could be of animals like dogs, ants, snakes or spiders; places, like lifts, narrow or little enclosed spaces; heights or crowded or deserted places. Phobias can be so intense that we must consider them a psychological problem that causes distress to sufferers and even can stop them from tackling their daily activities.


In my opinion these phobias have a link with the fact that human beings (talking in terms of the evolution of our developed society) don't need to fight against animals or enemies for getting a shelter, have money to buy food and can easily find anything we might need for everyday life. Threats over our lives have decreased but human still get the feeling that we could be attacked and need to be ready for reacting against a possible aggression. This response consists of feeling fear, having your five senses in alert against threats.


One of my friends, who would have come with me and other friends on a trip abroad, was not able to get on the plane, and lost the money from bookings and tickets, in spite of the fact that he had thought that he would travel until the last minute.
There are medical treatments to overcome distress and unjustified fears, but not all people are ready to recognise their suffer from this psychological problem.

I recognize that I have a phobia to snakes. I know that there are other people that have the same. Perhaps it has a relationship with the fact that the catholic religion has many images in which a snake appear as a representation of the evil. Since I was a child I have been seen these images and now I can't avoid feeling a repulsion to snakes.



Happiness



What do we need to be happy? This is a question that many people have been asking themselves for centuries, and the answer has changed with the passing of time. When people had to worry about everyday survival, merely to be alive one more day was enough reason to be happy. In modern times, money has been associated with happiness. Lots of people think that nobody could be happy without money and that the ideal formula to be happy is to be rich. It is clear that it is necessary to have a certain amount of money that allows us to solve our daily problems and to provide us with means for the future. On the contrary it appears to be clear that a large amount of money doesn't give you happiness by itself. As an example of this, it should be highlighted that wealthier people are also unhappy and commit suicide more often than poor people, and there are countries with lower incomes, like Buthan, where people in general seem to be happier than in other wealthier countries, although they don't have big houses, cars or televisions. In this country, they have opted for "happiness economics": nobody is rich, but no one dies in misery. I'm not really sure about the long term results of this political regime, because it lays in a monarchy with lot of power, but for the moment things appear to be going really well for their inhabitants in comparison with other nearby countries (in terms of happiness).



Coming back to our Western society, in my opinion it is easier to reach happiness by people who are peaceful, who try to avoid being in the rat race of consumerism and who are not obsessed with their social status or the amount of shopping they can afford. I think what makes people happy is related more closely to living the kind of life they want. In my opinion is important avoid commuting further than it’s reasonable, working in a job you feel safe and get well paid, not to be socially isolated (except if you want to, because occasionally we all need it). The most relevant is feeling happy with your close people, friends, relatives, partner…



We also need to be healthy as a previous condition to be happy, although normally we only think about it when we lose our health. I also think that we need more leisure time and less material possessions, less working time (especially if you aren't really proud of your job) and more holidays, and overall, giving and receiving more love and having less arguments and disagreements at any time.





I can tell you a story in relation with happiness and money. When I was young, perhaps 17, one of my friends and I had a fancy to go on a course of paragliding (actually it wasn't paragliding, because it didn't existed in this times, it was another system of flying called delta-wing). We couldn't afford the costs because it was very expensive, but the manager of the youth organization to which we belonged told us that there were a couple of free places if we were directly there. The problem was that the course was going to take place in Galicia and we couldn't afford even the journey's costs. Our parents weren't really glad with the fact that we were to this course, so they didn't give us the money. We found the solution: we made the trip by hitchhiking. The trip was extraordinary , full of fun and adventures. I have it among my best memories. I'm sure that if we had had money to pay for the course and the trip, we wouldn't have enjoyed as much as we did.


Surveillance technology



We live in a surveillance society. Wherever you go there is CCTV, webcams, speed cameras and number plate recognition systems. It's really difficult to find a place where you can't be monitored, and even in these places there is always someone with their own devices, like a video recorder, a digital camera or a mobile phone taking pictures of you. Nearly that same second, these images can be sent through the Internet and published on social networks, without your permission or knowledge. I don't like being recorded and watched by everybody! And that's not the worst part of it, because some public or private organisations can log your information, such as important appointments, habits of shopping, leisure time, trips, the kind of food you buy, etc. With these data they can know exactly what you are doing at any time. In the same way, they can try to sell you things that fit with your habits and I believe they even have the real possibility of taking control of our lives. This last sentence could sound a bit like sci-fi but I think it could happen and it could be very dangerous if the organisations that handle these features had some extreme political ideas.



On the other hand, I'm sure that this kind of technology acts as a deterrent to crime. Thanks to street cameras and CCTV many criminals don't act in some places, because they are aware of the fact that their actions can be recorded and they can be easily caught by the police after committing their crimes. We all know about crimes which have been solved thanks to these devices, especially when there weren't any witnesses in the vicinity.

At the same time, we must consider the fact that nearly everybody has at least a device which can be used to take pictures or make videos, which can be used by the police to find the culprit of a crime or as an evidence in a trial. This can make people more accountable for their actions.

Actually, law-abiding citizens shouldn't be worried about the use of recording devices. I wouldn't have any objection if I were sure that these technologies were used only to increase the security of people, but I'm not sure that this is the only reason.



I see one more problem: the fact that some technologies are used only to make money. It's the case of speed cameras and number plate recognition systems. I'm for the use of these devices inside tunnels or in the stretches of road where there are problems regularly because of traffic congestion or other one-off situations, but I don’t agree when I see recording systems in places where there aren't any problems at all.

I could tell you the location of some speed cameras placed in the streets of this city just to earn money.


The media



The media has enormous power. In our society they are the only way to know what's happening around the world. Depending on how we are informed, we can react in a way or another, we can focus on some problems or others, even we consider that we can judge and blame some people.



In past times, the radio was the only way to keep people informed. TV didn't exist and newspapers had limited technology that didn't allow them to investigate nor keep people informed.



As time went on, the public TV systems in many countries had a net of journalists that covered the most important issues and a net of national TV systems (called Eurovision) was created. This net allowed them to share images and news. TV was such an important breakthrough that most people saved money to buy a reception device. Radio and newspapers remained important, but lost much importance.



Everywhere the media in general and the public TV in particular were in hands of the politicians who ruled the countries and were a means for propaganda. This situation was extreme in some countries ruled by dictators, as it happened in Spain, where independent controls didn't exist until the arrival of democracy.



Nowadays, since the arrival of the Internet, every newspaper has its own site, so we can be informed at every moment, in every subject and everywhere. Radios and TV channels also inform, and they are usually faster than web pages giving the latest news, but on the Internet you can find the same, with full information and you can easily change the source in order to compare different political points of view.



In order to be informed, we should avoid some tabloids and some TV channels that are highly politicised or don't have professional journalists and infrastructures.



We must be careful because -at least in Spain- the media are in few hands, I mean, there are only a few firms that own nearly all the newspapers, magazines and TV channels. When we listen to the radio or watch the news on TV we must be conscious that many of them present the news according to their political view. I agree with the fact that an editorial can present the opinion of the owner of the media, but, in my opinión, there are lots of newspapers and TV channels that offer really distorted news, and only show the truth partially.



By now, we all have the experience and ability to choose among the media those which are fairer and more professional. I try to support these media by occasionally buying a newspaper or magazine or visiting their sites. I don't ignore the others, but I only read some news to compare the points of view.



Some years ago I used to buy the newspaper at least once a week, but since the arrival of the Internet I seldom buy any, I prefer reading on-line news.


Television

Some time ago I liked to watch television every day. At night, I was tired and wanted to lie down on the sofa until my eyes closed. If I had been told then that I was not going to watch TV everyday I wouldn't have believed it.



I don't like to watch TV but I think there are some good programs like the documentaries they put on in channel 2 in the afternoon, especially those about wildlife and History. I also like to watch some films when they are programmed on the public TV, because there aren't commercial breaks every fifteen minutes, as opposed to what happens in the private channels. I always put on the subtitles and watch the films in the original version.

I watch very few sport programs, but I must recognise that I put on the TV when there is a good football match, provided that I don't have anything more interesting to do.


There is also a quiz that I occasionally watch. Its name is "To know and to win". It consists of three guests that must answer some questions about a wide range of themes. They should also have the skills for doing some simple maths problems and find the words that an off voice defines and that include three letters that are shown to the contestants. The host of the program has worked there for fifteen years or more, and incredibly, he looks as if time hadn’t passed for him at all.

There are also some programs that I definitely hate, like those on channels 5, where there are people shouting to each other all the time. I can't stand them. Those people pretend to know about every matter and want to have the last word in all circumstances.


I think programs like these are violent and more dangerous to people than violent films. By the way, many people don't worry about their children when they watch this kind of rubbish, but I think they must forbid them to stay in front of the TV or even to listen to the annoying noise of the angry and stupid arguments they have about everything.

Children should be protected against any kind of violence and also against spending a long time watching TV without doing anything else. Unfortunately, I think some parents use the TV like an anaesthetic for children in some moments, and they don't care about what they are watching. It is said that almost 70 percent of children's series contain some sort of violent act, even cartoons. For example, one of the oldest and best known, Tom and Jerry, is also one of the most violent. It has more than a violent act every minute.



Annoying habits

I think it is really annoying when you have agreed an appointment with somebody and people are not punctual. It doesn't matter if this happens once or twice or even if it's a short delay: everybody can be late because of a traffic jam, a phone call or some unexpected obligation. The problem is when somebody arrives late as a habit, as if that were normal.



Another thing that makes me feel upset is when someone betrays their principles or lies. I think only people who always speak the truth are reliable. I can't stand those politicians that are always promising things and appear to be honest, religious and sensible people but they are caught on a microphone saying that they are in politics to make money (like it happened to a famous one some years ago), or they are known to have been earning dirty money in exchange for doing favours, especially to constructors and speculators. Even more, when they go to court they deny what is evident for everybody and in the rare cases when they are found guilty, their offenses have prescribed due to too much time passing. Other times they pretend to be innocent and even require that people apologise to them.


There are also some annoying habits if talking about normal people, especially those related with lack of higiene, I mean, people who don't wash themselves properly and smell badly. It's really disgusting when you must share a lift or a means of transport with one of these persons.

I think it is also impolite when people talk very loudly even in places where we are supposed to be silent. In the theatre or the cinema, I get angry when people only think of themselves and make annoying noises with pop corn, sweet wrappers or don't put their phone on silent or switch it off or even start talking during the show.

Related with noises, It bothers me to be disturbed at night. I mean, there are people who need to listen to the music or the TV at a really high volume, it doesn't matter what time it is. But this is not the worst, sometimes I have to put up with the loud voices coming from my neighbor's house. It happen at every moment. It seems like if they don't know how to communicate like normal people. I can't stand listening to their voices all day long.

I want to reflect as well on those people who throw rubbish on the ground. I think littering is one of the most annoying habits. Why do some people do that? If we didn't throw rubbish everywhere, we would enjoy our cities and countryside more and, in addition, the more rubbish we throw on the ground, the more money we need to spend to clean up these places. Some beautiful places are incredible dirty because of those rude and disrespectful people. I'm sure that people who litter don't do the same in their own houses. Why they can't think of public places and countryside in the same way? Probably they'll come again and they'll protest of the filth. Isn’t that an annoying habit?


Reading

I like reading. It can be a book, a newspaper, a magazine or a web page, it doesn't matter. When I was a child I used to work helping my parents. They had a little grocery shop (actually it was much more than that; it was one of these shops that had nearly about everything). Due to the little size of the shop, the most important part of the business was to deliver groceries directly to the customers' houses. One of the customers was the director of the local newspaper. Some people used to give me some money as a tip, but this man, who was a highly educated person, had a big library, and every time I went to his house he would give me at least one book and he would chat with me for a while.

Sometimes the book was about archaeology, history, arts or essays about many different matters. Also he gave me a few books about politics. It was very strange for me, because I knew the newspaper he directed was politically very right-wing and my friends and I used to complain with people about how biased the news told there were, but he gave me books from Bakunin or Marx, poetry from García Lorca o Alberti. Of course he also gave me other books from other "more predictable" authors, like Fraga, Calvo Sotelo or some historians who supported the political regime.

Every time he gave me a book, he spent some minutes warning me of the danger of reading books uncritically. He said to me that we should read even the papers we find in the street, but always thinking that there could be another view. I have always tried to follow this tip.

Until then, I had only read books borrowed from the public library, and a few that my parents had bought me, but from that moment on, my own library was growing with the most diverse and heterogeneous books anybody can imagine.

I like to read historical books, but also novels. Now I'm reading "The Fall of Giants" by Ken Follet, not in Spanish, but in English. I am reading it using my e-book. It is a Kindle and it has the possibility of translating words, so I only use the dictionary when I assume the translation of the word is bad. I’m reading it because it easy to read and entertaining, not because it was a masterpiece of literature.
I have recently read two books that I can recommend to you; one is "The Empire is You" by Javier Moro. It’s about the emperor of Brazil when the country achieved its independence from Portugal and became a republic. The other is "Where Thrones Stand ", by Ángeles Caso, based on a period of Spanish History, the succession of Charles IV (the fourth) "The Bewitched" and the conspiracies and intrigues in the court of the new king Philippe V (the Fifth), who was the duke of Anjou and the grandson of the King Louis XIV (the fourteenth), also called the King Sun.

A couple of years ago I read "Don Quixote". I enjoyed it very much; I think it’s an incredible book, very clever, with many different stories inside of it and full of irony. I sincerely recommend everybody to read it, of course using an edition with good footnotes that explain anything that is difficult to understand nowadays without an explanation.


Age

I feel really comfortable with my current age. I have been very lucky in my life and I think I’ve enjoyed all my ages. When I was a child I used to work helping my parents. They had a little grocery shop (actually it was much more than that; it was one of these shops that had about everything). Due to the little size of the shop, the most important part of the business was to deliver groceries directly to the customers' houses. Every day I had to carry heavy loads. I had enough spare time to play, although I also had to work hard. This is not a complaint, I felt really happy during my childhood. Some of my best memories are from the summer sundays that my family use to spent by the river. I enjoyed with baths, exploring gorges, woods or climbing rocks.

When I grew up I began to climb mountains, and in my youth I did trips every time higher, longer and harder. I had also been very lucky with my job. Only a few months after finishing my studies, I found a job. It was not a highly qualified job, but it gave me the opportunity to progress into the company until I reached a position where I could developed my career. Although at that moment I couldn't suspect it, I worked for this company for the following thirty three years. Now I'm just retired.



Now, in my maturity I’m really close to hapiness. I don't have any serious financial problems, I'm in a stable relationship, I'm healthy enough, I've had two daughters who have finished their studies with good results, I have friends and enjoy my free time.


There are some fears I feel sometimes due to the passing of time, for instance, although I'm healthy, every time I have a health problem, it takes me more time to overcome it, and I feel that the strength and stamina I used to have decrease slowly. Nowadays we know that there are many medical advances that allow us to discover illnesses in their first stages, and there are new treatments to get better results and fight against diseases that years ago led to death. Probably these advances will allow the next generation to live more than a hundred years. Unfortunately they'll need to cope with other problems like pollution, global warming, greenhouse effect or new diseases, but I feel confident that science will find solutions to these problems.



I'd like to return to my youth, of course, I'd like to be twenty years old. I think everyone has dreamt about going back to the past, but keeping the experience and knowledge we have at this moment. Youth is a fantastic part of our life, although we don't know that until we have passed it.



Anyway, I want to say that the age is more in your brain than in your body, I mean, if you feel comfortable with your age and adapt your activities to your capabilities, you could enjoy your life like when you were younger. Many retired people don't do anything like sports, travelling or mental activities, but I think this is the best moment in life to learn what you couldn't do before, like reading books, learning to cook, discovering new hobbies, and - if you don’t have any financial problems- traveling abroad and inside your own country to get to know other cultures, sceneries, wildlife, people and ways of life.



I totally agree with the saying "Old people are always ten years older than you are".


Downtime and great experiences

Since I was a child I have enjoyed any activities related to nature. My parents used to spend every Summer Sunday gooing to the river. I liked to explore the woods, the gorges and climb the rocks. Meanwhile the adults and even other children were fishing or resting.

When I grew up, I begun to go out with other friends. In the beginning, we used to stay close and we would walk through the paths outside the city, and later, we would go up mountains, every time higher, harder and longer. We did many trips and climbing excursions, some of them very difficult. We even opened some new climbing routes. We were strong, hard mountain enthusiasts. When I began to work, whenever I had an opportunity I used to take my backpack and go to spend the weekend or the holidays walking through forests, valleys and mountains. When I could meet with my friends, we would try some difficult climbs in the Pirineos or the Alps.

Actually, now I do the same, but in a more relaxed way, walking through paths almost every weekend and occasionally doing some special activities, like canoeing, paragliding or high-mountain climbing.

When I met my current partner she taught me how to identify birds, plants, insects, stars and constellations. I used to enjoy only sceneries, but from that moment up I understand better everything I see. I think this is a step forward to enjoy nature in a more complete way.

My great experiences are related to trips and treks I have done in different parts of the world. Every year we’re used to going abroad for a trip. In these trips we try to catch as much as we can about the habits, culture and nature of the countries that we visit. For instance when my partner and I went to Egypt we visited a large amount of monuments, historical and archaeological sites, much more than usual; when we went to Nepal, we made a trek around the Annapurna mountains; in Morocco we visited the Draa Valley, the Sahara desert and the Atlas mountains. I could tell you more about the trips we have made, but, as a summary, they have all been full of great experiences, like watching rare birds at the Danube delta, walking in forests between the biggest trees of the world in Yosemite, climbing the highest peak of Europe, the Mont-Blanc, in the Alps or visiting monuments everywhere.

If I had more money and spare time I'd like to visit New Zealand. My partner and I have read a lot about this country. There are many different types of scenery, from beaches to the highest mountains in the continent, deserts and glaciers, woods, valleys, rivers and big waterfalls. We hope to go there one day, and we'll try it in the near future.

I think people should have more free time. The way they spend their free time is the best way to know how they are. Some people only want to rest in their holidays, lying on the sand of a beach, drinking beers and eating without control in one of those "eat as much as you can " restaurants, but I definitely prefer to have more active and creative holidays. For me everyday leisure time means painting, reading,learning, walking and doing sports.


Regrets

I'm really glad about how my life has been for me until today, but if it were possible, I'd like to change some things.

When I travel abroad, I can cope with problems of communication, but I think is a pity that I didn't learn to speak and write English when I was a child. I think childhood and the youth are the best part of life to learn a foreign language properly. I should have been taught English instead of French, but this was unusual in those times. It was said that French was the language of diplomacy, but I think neither the parents nor the children could choose freely between the two languages.

I began to work when I was really young. In this time I used to enjoy my free time going to the countryside, having trips through forests, valleys and climbing mountains in Spain. I wish I had had more money and free time. If I had traveled abroad in my youth, it would be possible that now I had already climbed the highest mountains in the world.

I should have travelled more when I was younger, in order both to learn English and to know other cultures, monuments and sceneries, but it was impossible because I didn't have enough money.

Perhaps I shouldn't have become an engineer. When I was young I was really good at physics and maths, and these studies seemed to be useful to find a job, as in fact it happened, but I feel that I enjoy literature, music and the arts, and in my free time I like painting more than reading technical articles. I wish I had studied something different, related to these subjects, like history, geography, arts or journalism. The projects I have done really have little poetry.
Another of my regrets is that I've never learned to play any musical instrument. I have a good ear for music and I'm able to play some songs with a flute, a guitar or a piano, but I can't read music and I have never tried to learn it.

I also must tell you that I'm not a very sociable person. People use to say that I'm a good laugh, but in fact, I usually tend to keep myself to myself and I can be pretty serious too. If only I were more sociable, I probably would have had more close friends.

In relation with regrets I must say that I'm totally agree with the saying: "It's better to regret something you did than regret something you didn't do", although I must admit that I not always follow this tip.


Social problems. Charities.

There are many social problems in this country. To begin with I think the economical situation is worse than it was in the last twenty years. Lots of people found a job during the period of time when there was a "construction fever" and there were also many big public works. With the arrival of the crisis, thousand of workers were fired. Those who had bought an appartment or a car, or hadn't managed their finances well, thinking that they could afford an expensive mortgage, lost their properties and became ruined. Today there are a lot of unemployed and desperate people because of their debts and their lack of income.

What does this means? When the savings of unemployed people diminish or disappear , will increase beggars, homelessness, child malnutrition and health problems in general. All this can lead to a rise in robberies, insecurity and violence. Poverty, related with lack of work is one of the main social problems nowadays.

Today, due to the current economic crisis it's nearly impossible to find jobs in Spain. Many people, especially young people, are trying to cope through emigration, looking for opportunities in other countries. These situations can cause uprooting problems due to lack of friends, family and different habits of life.

Another serious problem is domestic violence. This problem has always existed, and unfortunately, even a kind of verbal violence related with sexism has been considered as a normal issue in our society for centuries. Nowadays we can see very often on TV that a woman has been killed by her husband or ex-boyfriend.

There are other social problems, like alcoholism, drug abuse and other even more worrying like those related to people who steal big amounts of money using their political positions, through bribery, using very privileged information or avoid paying their taxes. Even the highest politicians and economic representatives have been caught in these kinds of illegal practices.

There are some organizations which try to help people with problems, for example delivering food to poor people, helping inmigrants, homelessness and other socially excluded people, like ex-alcoholics. There are also other charities that help people with illnesses or with problems accessing health, education, new technologies and others.

The charities work thanks to the contribution of volunteers and people who put time or money to help in addition to taxes, in order to make the world a better place. Unfortunately everyday there are more and more social problems and people with risk of exclusion. The work of charities isn't enough to solve these problems, which should be solved by the public powers.






Comentarios

  1. Gracias!!!!, tengo el speaking de avanzado1 el proximo martes y necesitaba ideas para algunos temas :)

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