ESL Topics: Education


1.) Are you in school? Are you a student (both questions have the same meaning.)?

Yes, I'm currently enrolled at the University of Toronto.

2.) What is your best subject? What is your strongest subject? (both questions have the same meaning.)

When I was a high school student my strongest subject was science.

3.) What is your worst subject? What is your weakest subject? (both questions have the same meaning.)

When I was a high school student my weakest subject was French.

4.) What elementary school did you attend? What high school did you attend?

I went to St. Jerome Catholic elementary school. I attended St. Martins Catholic Secondary school.

5.) What university do you go to? Which university do you attend? (both questions have the same meaning.)

I go to the University of Toronto.

6.) Will you pursue a masters or a doctorate in your field?

I don't think the benefits of obtaining a masters or doctorate degree outweigh the costs and time associated with acquiring one.

7.) Did you attend an all boys / girls school? Or did you attend a co-ed school.

I always attended a school with both male and female students. So, I attended a co-ed school.

8.) Were you a member of any extracurricular activities? If so, which?

I was a member of the high school football and soccer team. I enjoyed athletics.

9.) Were you a good student? Were you a good student academically? (What's the difference between these two questions?)

I was a good student. However, I wasn't very good academically.

10.) Is your university renowned for any programs?

The University of Toronto is renowned for it's medical degree program. Some of the best doctors in Canada graduate from the University of Toronto.

11.) What's your major? What are you majoring in? (Both questions have the same meaning.)

I have a double major in political science and historical studies.

12.) Growing up, did you take part in (participate in) any after school activities?

I attended a math academy after school to boost my low grades in algebra.

13.) Were you ever bullied by your classmates? Were you ever a bully?

Luckily I wasn't bullied. I also never bullied anyone. I always stood up for people who were bullied.


1.) Does your major have a high success rate for job placement? (Is it easy to get a job after graduation?)

Actually, majoring in history and political science has a very low success rate for finding work following graduation.

2.) Did your major offer an internship program? If so, did you become an intern? Tell us about it.

No, my major didn't have an internship. In Canada, usually business majors and science majors have opportunities to become interns.

3.) Did you develop any lasting relationships with any teachers or professors over the years?

I didn't become very close with any teachers. However, I did develop a lasting relationship with one of my professors from university. We keep in contact and usually have lunch a few times a year.

4.) What led you to pursuing your major? Do you have any regrets with your decision?

It was the only program from the university of Toronto that would except me. I initially wanted to get a degree in business but my grades were insufficient.

5.) Do you prefer lecture based classes or hands on classes?

I prefer hands on classes. However, universities in Canada are mostly lecture based, where you sit in a lecture hall and just listen to the professor ramble on and on.


1.) Does your university, or government offer any assistance in job placement following graduation? If so, was it helpful?

Actually, the first two years following graduation, my university helps students with job placement. However, there are no guarantees!

2.) Do you have any credentials other than your degree that will assist you in finding work?

Yes, I have experience with programming and analyzing data, I am certified with Microsoft Office, and I have over 500 hours of volunteer work with my local hospital.

3.) What degrees are in high demand for jobs in your country?

Many jobs in the tech industry are in high demand. Specifically, jobs related to programming and telecommunications. However, the pay isn't that great.

4.) Will your salary be enough to support a family, or will it require your partner to also work (duel income family)?

In Canada, new positions in almost all fields aren't enough to support a family with children on a single income. So duel income households have become a necessity to provide a high standard of living.


1.) Remember: "I major in _______." or "I'm a _____ major." Don't say: "I'm ______ major." So many students make this strange mistake.

2.) Remember: "I'm a Seoul National University student." Or "I'm a student at Seoul National University." Don't say: "I'm Seoul National University." This is also a very common mistake among students. Remember, you are not a university; you are a student.

3.) Don't say: "I'm a fourth grade university student." This is incorrect. Instead, say : "I'm a fourth year university student." Grades are used for elementary, middle and high school, not university.

4.) When you take a test, you get a "score". All your test results combined make your overall "grade". Therefore, "I didn't score well on my last exam but my overall grade is good." Just remember your score is the number. For examples, I got 7/10. My score was "7". The grade is the letter. For example, since I got a 7/10 my grade is a C-.


Match the words from column 1 with the best-suited answer in column 2.

Column 1 Column 2
1.) enroll a.) boys and girls
2.) pursue b.) after school
3.) doctorate c.) formal education
4.) co-ed d.) A person who abuses, or threats someone who is weaker.
5.) extracurricular e.) at first
6.) academic f.) qualifications
7.) bully g.) to talk for a long time confusingly
8.) initially h.) phD
9.) ramble i.) follow
10.) credentials j.) to join a class


Answer the questions in full sentences using some of the key words you 've learned in this handout.

1.) Are you enrolled in any programs or classes?

2.) Did you attend a co-ed school growing up?

3.) What are some of your credentials?

4.) What's your biggest regret?

5.) Did you form many lasting relationships form your childhood?

6.) Do you prefer hands on classes, or lecture based classes?

7.) To support a family with a high standard of living, what month income is required?

8.) Is your profession in high demand? Was job placement difficult?

9.) What did you initially find appealing about your major?

10.) Would you consider going back to school if you lost your job? If so what would you major in?

11.) Did you attend a private or public school growing up?


  • enrolled: To register for a class or program. "Half the staff at Apple will be enrolling in free Chinese classes."
  • pursue: To go after. "I was told to pursue a degree in science due to the many job openings available."
  • doctorate: The highest degree attainable; PhD. "I would love to get my doctorate in History and teach at the university level."
  • acquire: To get; to possess. "My wife and I are trying to acquire a real-estate certificate in our spare time."
  • co-ed: Males and females mixed together for school, or sports. "I'd love to play co-ed beach volleyball with Sarah."
  • extracurricular: Something outside of your main course of career. "Music is a simple extracurricular course to enroll in to get an extra credit and make friends."
  • academically: related to higher education. "She is amazing academically, but she is terrible socially."
  • bullied: To be the victim or attacks, threats, or verbal abuse. Usually the poor, weak, and ugly are bullied. "I was bullied in middle school because of my abnormally big nose."
  • stood/stand up for: "When someone helps someone who is weaker and needs help from a bully." "I was taught to stand up for myself, and to stand up for those in need."
  • job placement: The process institutions (schools, government agencies, military) take to put you in the proper position for getting a job. "I would take the internship program because I heard they help you with the job placement process after the internship."
  • lasting relationships: Relationships that continue outside of their initial place of origin (school, work, club). "I made many lasting relationships from my days in the military."
  • regrets: Sadness because of a missed opportunity. "My biggest regret is not buying Apple shares when my friend told me to."
  • initially: At first. "I was initially instructed by my doctor to lose weight just from diet before starting an exercise program."
  • insufficient: Not enough. "My bank statement says I've got insufficient funds."
  • "hands on": A class or program that teaches you by actually doing examples and experiments, instead of just listening. "I prefer colleges to universities because they are more hands on."
  • ramble: To talk for a long time about something in a confusing way. "My dad can ramble on and on about World War II."
  • credentials: Your qualifications and skills. "I need to get some more credentials in computers before I can apply for that position. "
  • high demand: When something is in short supply. "Skilled technicians in mechanical engineering are in high demand."
  • duel income family: When both partners work. "Duel income families were not so common 20 years ago, but times change."
  • necessity: A requirement, a must."Speaking English is a necessity for international flight attendants."
  • high standard of living: When an individuals or families expections the best services and way of life provided for them. "Many Americans have a much higher standard of living compared to their neighbors, Mexicans, to the south."

Daily Expressions & Idioms:

1.) "sweating buckets": When someone is sweating a lot.

"I was sweating buckets during my job interview. He was asking my questions I just couldn't answer."

2.) "out of touch": When you do not understand the reality of the situation.

"He's really out of touch with reality if he thinks he will get the job with such poor credentials and English skills."

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