ESL University Conversation

This page about ESL university conversations will show you how to use university vocabulary while talking to someone else. When at university you will often have to ask questions and will need to know the correct words to explain what you want; you can use the material on this page to help you.

Use this ESL university conversation page to learn how to have a conversation about university.

To begin with this page has some example conversations so you can see how a natural conversation would take place. Each of the examples has also been made into a short cartoon that you can watch, and these have extra clues to help you understand the vocabulary being used. If you are still having trouble understanding the words that are used you can look at the ESL university vocabulary page to help you understand the words on this ESL university conversation page.

Then once you have understood the example ESL university conversations there are the three following exercises for you to do:

  • Fill in the blanks in a conversation.
  • Write a conversation.
  • Conversation topics.

Conversation 1

Situation: Andrew and Lucy talk about living in student accommodation.

Andrew: Where have you been? I couldn’t find you at the hall of residence.
Lucy: I was at the library all day studying for final exams.
Andrew: Why don’t you study in your room?
Lucy: I’m afraid I can’t concentrate. It’s always noisy next door when Jane brings some friends along.
Andrew: I see. Have you talked to her about that?
Lucy: I tried, but she seems to not even care. 
Andrew: Do you want me to talk to her?
Lucy: No, you don’t need to. I’m moving out next term.
Andrew: Really? Where?
Lucy: To a flat on the Holloway Road.
Andrew: That’s near to my place. Will you live there alone?
Lucy: No, I’ll share the flat with my sister. You live in a shared house, don’t you? How’s your housemate?
Andrew: Well, I share the house with four other students and we get along brilliantly and like to play pranks on one other. 
Lucy: How nice! By the way, what are you looking me for?
Andrew: I need my book that you borrowed last week.
Lucy: Oh, I didn’t bring it with me. It’s in my room. Do you mind stopping by to get the book?
Andrew: Not at all. 

Conversation 2

Situation: Tui plans to move out from her studio flat that she has rented for a year.

Tui: I’m currently looking for someone to take over my tenancy. Would you be interested, Jane?
Jane: Is it a one-bedroom flat?
Tui: No, it’s a studio.
Jane: I prefer a one-bedroom flat, so my friends can gather in a separated sitting area instead of in my bedroom. Why do you want to move out?
Tui: My sister will come from Thailand to study at King’s College. She wants to stay with me so I need to find some bigger accommodation.
Jane: What major is she studying?
Tui: She’s majoring in Law.
Jane: Why won’t she live in halls?
Tui: Um, she doesn’t want to. She can’t cook and can’t do her own laundry. She’s a mummy’s daughter, actually.
Jane: But if she lives with you, she won’t learn to be independent. Don’t you think so?
Tui: I know. It’s not that I will pamper her all the time. I’ll teach her how to cook simple meals and wash her clothes.
Jane: And manage her spending. That’s important, too.
Tui: I agree. Talking about spending, do you know where I can get cheap furniture?
Jane: You can check out Portobello Road Market. I think it’s the best second hand furniture market in London.
Tui: I think I’ve heard of it.  

ESL University Conversation Exercises

You should now try to use what you have learnt form the above ESL university conversations to answer the following exercises. If you do the following exercises you will get good practice at using the ESL university vocabulary to have conversations.

Exercise 1 – Fill in the Blanks

For the first ESL university conversation task you need to choose which option (A-D) from each question is the best one to fill in each of the blanks in the following conversation. Once you have finished you can use the get score button to see how many you got correct.

Situation: Bob and Patrick talk about the differences between university in the UK and the US.

Patrick: Bob! Professor Watson is looking for you! She said __________(1)__________ a few times lately.
Bob: You mean Doctor Watson? 
Patrick: Doctor? Why don’t you call her professor?
Bob: She is not yet promoted to a professorship. That’s why we can’t call her professor.
Patrick: I don’t know that. In the US, __________(2)__________ are called professors.
Bob: Really? What if you are taught by a graduate student?
Patrick: The same. In American universities, people really throw this term around.
Bob: I see. I wonder what else is different between university in Britain and America.
Patrick: I can tell you some of the differences. The first thing that I favor about being a student in the UK is the accommodation. You don’t need to __________(3)__________, so you have more privacy.
Bob: What about in America?
Patrick: In America, you’re lucky if you have just one person to share with instead of two. 
Bob: What about __________(4)__________? You know that in the UK everyone can get a zero-interest loan to fund their higher education.
Patrick: How generous! __________(5)__________ have to pay 4 to 5% interest rate.
Bob: It seems that your government makes a profit from student loans. 
Patrick: It’s sad but it’s true.

ESL University Conversation

Choose the best option (A-D) in the following five questions to fill in the blanks in the university conversation given above.

1) Which option is the best to fill in the first blank?
        A) you failed the final exam
        B) you left your book in the class
        C) you called your parents
        D) you missed class
2) Which option is the best to fill in the second blank?
        A) all university teachers
        B) all graduate students
        C) senior lecturers
        D) senior tutors
3) Which option is the best to fill in the third blank?
        A) pay tuition fees
        B) pay for laundry service
        C) share a room
        D) share a kitchen
4) Which option is the best to fill in the fourth blank?
        A) student living cost
        B) student loan
        C) student tuition fees
        D) student scholarship
5) Which option is the best to fill in the fifth blank?
        A) American students
        B) British students
        C) New students
        D) Freshers

Score =

Correct answers:

Exercise 2 – Writing a Conversation

In this ESL university conversation activity you need to write a conversation of your own. Use the examples above as guides and produce a conversation of your own. You will need to have two or more people speaking, and you should write what they would say to each other. The topic should be about universities or going to university. Use as much of the vocabulary form the university vocabulary page as possible. When you have finished you could find a friend and perform the conversation to get practice of speaking.

Exercise 3 – Conversation Topics

For the final ESL university conversation exercise you need to have a conversation with a friend. There are two sets of conversation questions below, and you should take one set while your friend has the other set. Then take it in turns to ask questions and answer them. When answering a question you should say as much as possible, and you can both ask extra questions if you think of them. The questions sets are just a starting point and you can talk as much as you want to. Once you have finished you could swap conversation questions and start again.

The questions have also been made into some conversation cards for you to download by clicking the picture.

There are lots more conversation questions in my ‘80 ESL Conversation Cards’ ebook for you to download.

Question set A

  • What is the best university in your country, and why?
  • Do you think that everyone in a country should go to university?
  • Why do people want to go to university?
  • What are the benefits of going to university?
  • What are the drawbacks of going to university?

Question set B

  • What do you think is the most useful degree to study at university?
  • Would you like to study for a post graduate degree?
  • What is the best part of being a student at university?
  • What is bad about being a student at university?
  • Have you been to university, and what was it like?

› University

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