IELTS Speaking topic - home and hometown 1

IELTS Speaking topic – Home and hometown #1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about the town you were born in
You should say:

  • where it is
  • if it is famous for anything
  • whether you still live there

and say how much it has changed over the years.

Model answer

I was born in a small town some 20 kilometers away from Stockholm, Sweden. There are about ten thousand people living there, so it’s a tight-knit community where everybody knows everybody.

Few know this, but our little town is where the founder of IKEA spent his formative years. I think there is even a statue of him, I’m not quite sure where it is though. Another thing this place is well-known for is it’s beautiful landscapes with rolling hills that get consumed by thick woods up north.

I don’t live there anymore as I had to move to the capital when I graduated. As with most smaller towns, finding a job can be tricky so many choose to try their luck elsewhere.
I went there last year and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it hasn’t changed in the slightest. It still feels like the old, cozy place I knew when I was growing up.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Home and hometown

Is it better to spend all your life in one place or to change where you live? Why?
It is possible to answer this question accurately only if we take each case individually. An outgoing, open-minded person will find travelling from one location to another much easier. One has to be quite industrious and adaptable to feel comfortable at a new place. This can be fun and it definitely builds character. Conversely, a shy, anxious person is very likely to struggle if forced to move often. Such experience is going to be excruciating for them. So to answer the question at hand – one is better off deciding whether to travel or not based on their character.

What can the local government do to make life more comfortable for citizens?
Life in a big city is busy, noisy and quite stressful. Not many people can stomach the pace of a modern metropolitan area. In order to make things more tolerable, local authorities could create more infrastructure where citizens would catch a moment of peace. Parks, squares, alleys and other green spaces would be perfect for that. Another possible improvement is an effort to make the city less car-centered. Alternative transportation infrastructure such as bike lanes could make the city a quieter place. It would make it safer and promote healthy lifestyles.

Why do young people leave their hometowns to live in bigger cities?
When you are young you want to live your life to the fullest and experience what a big, bustling city has to offer. Young adults, bursting with energy and enthusiasm go there and never look back. The busy lifestyle of a major city sounds alluring – these areas are the financial and cultural centres that have so much to offer. Whether you want to start a promising career or have a blast partying you are far more likely to find that in a bigger city. But as people grow up their values evolve as well. 

City and the country

What are typical differences between inhabitants of bigger cities and smaller town?
From my experience townsfolk tend to be more reserved. It can be more difficult to win their trust, but on the other hand once they open up they are quite welcoming. I don’t mean to say that people from huge cities are distant and aloof – on the contrary, they are more open (and open-minded) and welcoming to strangers. When one is surrounded by people one gets used to them. In smaller towns and villages social contact is not so common so people maintain distance – both personal and physical.

What would make living in the country more attractive?
Number one reason for mass exodus of village folk is no employment prospects. If the government could subsidize working there, create new positions and otherwise encourage development there then it would become a much more attractive place to live in. When you think about it, living in the country has no problems such as overcrowding, air and noise pollution, crazy traffic jams. Life in the country is much more natural, going at its own pace. Therefore, the only thing that is missing is a stable job that would allow people to earn a living there.

How might cities change in the future? What about the country?
We live in times of tumultuous changes so making any predictions is a risky endeavour, but one can always speculate, right? Judging by the current trend, we will see even more people moving to the cities, possibly to an extent where housing capacity will no longer be able to accommodate everybody. This might require city planners to come up with an alternative housing solutions like pods and micro-flats.

Another challenge that stems from the increased number of people is commuting – more and more people will have to resort to public transport as roads wouldn’t be able to keep up with the increase in privately owned car numbers. As for the changes in the country – I’m afraid these might just outright die out, unless we do something about it. Decentralisation measures have to be introduced for that. 

Home and hometown vocabulary

Tight-knit community – a group of people where everybody knows and trusts each other
Rolling hills – hills that slowly go up and down in the distance
The pace of – (here) the way life goes or changes, i.e. slow pace of life.
Local authorities – local government such as the city council that make the decisions on change and development
Infrastructure (n) – the places and institutions that make our life better such as hospitals, kindergartens, shops, museums and many others
Bustling (adj) – very active
Townsfolk (n) – people living in smaller towns
Exodus (n) – the action of leaving a place in great numbers.
Employment prospects – chances of getting a job
Air and noise pollution – air pollution is a result of various harmful gases created by cars and factories, noise pollution is mostly due to the great number of cars on the roads.
Pods (n) – (here) little man-sized containers that can be used to sleep. The point of these is that they take up very little space and at the same time offer some privacy.
To keep up – to maintain the same speed or rate
Die out – to stop existing

General vocabulary

Some (adj) – another way to say ‘about’.
Founder (n) – a creator of something, usually a business or a company
Formative years – years up to eight of age when a person undergoes most changes and creates a foundation of their future character
Try your luck – see if you can achieve something, give something a chance
Outgoing (adj) – eager to meet other people and spend time outside rather than at home
Open-minded (adj) – understanding and accepting of other people’s differences and peculiarities.
Industrious (adj) – able to find original and effective solutions to problems easily
Adaptable (adj) – able to change and transform to fit better in the current situation
Build character – to become emotionally stronger by going through difficulties
Excruciating (adj) – extremely painful or tiring, either physically or emotionally
Stomach (v) – to accept or live with something or someone that is extremely unpleasant
Promote (v) – to encourage some development or change
Burst with – to be very full with something to the point when it is almost tearing apart because of that (not literally here)
Alluring (adj) – attractive in a mysterious or unusual way, especially if it is difficult to resist.
Have a blast – (inf) to truly enjoy some activity
Subsidize (v) – to promote something by sponsoring something or making something easier to finance in some other way
Tumultuous changes – sudden, usually violent changes
Endeavour (n) – an attempt to do or achieve something, usually strong and resilient (determined to succeed)
Outright (adv) – completely, totally

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