Part One- General Discussion
Q. Good afternoon. My name is Christopher. Could I have your name, please?
A. Good afternoon. My name is Leon Frederic and you can call me Leon.
Q. What places in your country should a foreigner visit?
A. I am from Belgium and our country has many attractive tourist spots. Brussels, for example, is the centre location, the heart of Europe and an international metropolis that attracts a lot of tourists every day. This is a highly recommended place for tourists and foreigners.
Apart from that, Bruges is another attractive destination which was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage sites. SPA, which is also called ‘Pearl of the Ardennes’ is another tourist spot I would recommend to international tourists. Cathedral of Saint Bavo, Ghent is one of my favourite places in Belgium and I think this is a worth visiting place for any foreigner.
Q. What places would you recommend a visitor to go to in your hometown?
A. I am from Aalst, Belgium. This city has many beautiful places to visit. Belfry of Aalst and Saint Martin’s Church are two places I would highly recommend to a new visitor. A visitor should spend a considerable amount of time visiting ‘t Gasthuys – Stedelijk Museum Aalst’ which is an interesting museum in my opinion.
Q. Tell me something about your family.
A. Well, I live in a nuclear family which is quite different than the family my grandfather had. I, in fact, can compare the changes because I observed both of these two types of families. My father is a researcher and professor in a university and he teaches physics while my mother is a housewife and works as a part-time consultant at local law firms. My mother was, in fact, a full-time lawyer, but sacrifices her career when my elder brother came to the world. I have got two sisters and a brother and I am the youngest in the family. I am very close to my family and I admire all of them for their great help and support for me.
Q. What do you do in your spare time?
A. I mostly hang out with my friends in my leisure time. I have some really good friends and we have many common passion and interests and playing the guitar is one of those. I often read books or use the internet in my free time when I am at home. If I get a long vacation I love to visit different places with my family. Last month we went on a tour and stayed near a beach for 3 days.
Part 2 – Cue Card
Describe the best present you have ever received in your life.
You should say:
- what the present/ gift was
- who gave it to you
- when you received it
and explain why this is the best present you have ever received.
[ You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you’re going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]
Part 3 – Two-way Discussion:
Q. Do you think that present giving will play an important role in our daily life in the future? Why?
A. Yes, the present giving and exchanging gifts is already an important part in our daily life and it will continue for a long. We give gifts to people we care about and this is a way to show that we care. People, in fact, expect gifts in many parts of the world on special occasions. For instance, most of the children and young people in my country expect that their family members, relatives and friends would be present on their birthday and would give them gifts.
Gift exchange is a part of many cultures and I can think of several occasions when people love to do that. For instance, during the Christmas seasons, New Year and other occasions it is quite customary to exchange gifts. This is an important part of our life as it brings us closer to each other, represents our good wishes and blessings. As the society has evolved, the custom of gift changing might have slightly changed but its main role has remained the same – to show our love and good wishes for others we care about.
Q. Do you think that the brand name is very important for sales?
A. Yes, I think so. From my personal experience, I can say that good brands ensure proper quality of a product and that is why people are ready to pay more to purchase the branded products – be it a pair of jeans, a laptop or a household appliance. Brand names ensure better sales as they give a positive impression, customer satisfaction and guarantee of the quality to a customer. The after-sales service of a reputed brand is comparatively better than that of a brandless product and this is why many people do not take the risk of purchasing brandless products. Due to the lack of customer service and decent guarantee on non-brand products the sales are on the rise for branded products. This is even more applicable in this modern era when replica products are quite common in the market. The upsurging sales volume of the branded cellphones despite the presence of brandless mobiles at a very lower price is a proof that people still rely on branded products.
Q. In terms of the media, which do you think will play the main role in present giving, television, newspaper or the Internet?
A. I am quite positive that the internet has a greater role to play in our present giving trend and in the future, the internet would be the hub to send or receive the gifts with the booming of the e-commerce and related technology in almost all of the world. To be honest, the internet is a more powerful media that will reach more people in the future than the television and newspaper would. This is why the main role of choosing, purchasing, sending or receiving a gift would all be done with the help of this technology. The television and newspaper fail to connect the people all around the world and provide the platform for gift exchanging but this is not the fact in the case of the internet. The rich features like the wish list, online greeting, the global e-commerce website like amazon.com and worldwide express delivery systems would, in fact, change the way we purchase and present gifts to others.
Q. Compare the gift which people have received 10 years ago to the present that people now are receiving? What’s the difference between them?
A. Well, that’s a nice question. I can answer this from my own experience. Ten years ago people used to receive gifts mostly from their relatives, friends and family members and household appliances, story books, pens, diary, money, dresses and showpieces were the main gift items at that time. These days, people get gifts from a wider circle including people they do not know very well. For instance, in my last job, I was given a wrist watch by a person who joined the company just three months ago and that was quite a surprise for me. In terms of the gift items people receive these days, technological devices, electronic gadgets and household electronic appliances are more frequent than the storybooks, pens and dresses. I believe the number of occasions when people exchanged gifts in the past has increased as well and these days we have more occasions to celebrate and more people to give us gifts!
Q. Do you think the custom of gift giving changes over time? Why?
A. Well, the customs of gift giving varies widely across the countries. The custom has changed, evolving and will change in the future. Ther are few reasons that influence the fact. First of all, people give gifts marking various ceremonies or religious occasions. But the types of gifts are different now than it was before. Earlier, people used to give monetary gifts to others while the tradition is less frequent at present time. Moreover, guests also used to provide some other types of materialistic gifts on different occasions. But now the types are different and people rely on the internet mostly to pick the gifts. Basically, it is the time and trend that sets the types of gifts. In the past, people had fewer options and they chose the right one as a gift. But now amid thousands of websites, they get the desired stuff and often get confused which one to pick. This will continue to change in the future as well.
Q. How can the Internet change the way people exchange gifts?
A. The Internet plays a great role in the way we exchange gifts these days. It has made selecting and sending gifts easier for them. Now people do not need to be present physically at stores to purchase a present; rather they can place an order while the product is delivered on the doorstep to the recipient. I think this is a great way and the internet will change the way of exchanging gifts even more in the coming days.
[I think that’s all I want to ask you today. Thank you very much. It was very interesting talking to you and I wish you all the best. Goodbye.]