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city or countrysideCity or Countryside Living provides you with the opportunity to explore the reasons that people choose to either live in a rural or urban environment. These activities are centred around the theme of the environment and nature from the IGCSE ESL curriculum, which explores the way humans and animals live, adapt, and change on our planet.

Exercise 1Exercise 2Exercise 3Word ListExtension
Watch a video about the differences between city and country life.

Click here to view the transcript


A: It’s so lovely to see you again. After that ferocious feline chased you off, I never thought you’d leave your country cottage.
B: Hm, yes, I don’t much care for the city, but I really needed to buy some Stilton cheese.
C: The country mouse is on to something. Cities allow for large markets that provide specialized products, like gourmet cheese.

A: You can’t buy fancy cheese or much else that’s good in the country.
B: No, no, I’ve got Amazon Prime, I can order almost anything else online.
C: Amazon Prime is a great example of how transportation and logistics can deliver a wide range of products across America and the world.

A: You can’t sample cheese when shopping online, and there aren’t great specialized services, like whisker waxing salons, out in the country.
B: But when I order online, I can avoid the crowds. I hate lines and I hate traffic.
C: The average commute time for a New York City resident is 40 minutes. The average commute time in Montana is just 18 minutes.

A: I just listen to music when I’m stuck waiting.
B: Well I have a short commute, and I can hear the crickets at night.
A: True, you don’t have to deal with traffic, but jobs pay more in the city.
C: On average, wages go up by about 5% as metropolitan area density doubles.

B: Sure, you make good money, but what about housing? I’d never pay such sky-high rent.
C: Housing prices also typically go up by about 5% as metropolitan area density doubles.

A: Yes, but I have the best museums, shows, and restaurants.
B: This cafe is very nice.
C: City dwellers basically share the fixed costs of supporting a variety of cultural institutions. Urban density also increases the bump rate, the chance of meeting someone new and exciting.

B: But cities are dangerous.
A: I always feel safe in the city, there are so many eyes on the street.
C: Crime is an unfortunate reality in American cities, but most have become a lot safer since the 1980s. In fact, New York City has a lower murder rate than the country as a whole.

A: And really the best thing about cities is the endless novelty. The new opportunities, the new ideas, the new rodents, it’s all so exciting!
B: Give me my warm, safe cottage any day!
A: Okay, but while you’re visiting, wanna catch a show? You know, Cats is playing!

You will hear six people talking about living in the city and in the countryside. For each of Speakers 1 to 6, choose from the list, A to G, which opinion each speaker expresses. Write the letter in the box. Use each letter only once. There is one extra letter which you do not need to use.

Speaker 1:

Speaker 2:

Speaker 3:

Speaker 4:

Speaker 5:

Speaker 6:


Click here to view transcript

Speaker 1: I’ve lived all my life in the country, first as a child, then as an adult, farming the land. I married someone from the same village, and we set up a home here. All our family members are here in this same village – none of us has moved away. Now that I’m retired, I no longer work as a farmer, but I still live here. I’m much too old to want to try anything different. City life is not for me, although some friends tell me it would be much more convenient!

Speaker 2: There is nothing to do here in the evenings and at weekends. School is OK – you have your friends around you and it’s fun – but outside of school… oh, it’s so boring. It’s OK if you like long, quiet walks, I suppose. But I don’t. I like going to cafés, the cinema, and shopping – all the things that only the city can offer you. But I shall have to wait until I finish my exams. I want to go to college in a city—that’s my aim. And I won’t be coming back if I can help it.

Speaker 3: I want to move out of this city – the noise, the dirt, and the fumes from all those cars and buses are absolutely awful, and they’re getting worse. When I visit my friends who live in the country, I’m so jealous. They can walk in the fresh air and just relax. I’m sure they have fewer colds and illnesses than we get where we live now, always being in hot, confined spaces, like buses, trains, and offices, with hundreds of other people. I just hope I can fulfill my dream one day, but it seems rather unlikely, I’m afraid.

Speaker 4: I live in a tiny village in the country – we’re about thirty kilometres from the nearest town, let alone a city! Don’t get me wrong, I loved the city where we lived. I have a real passion for history, and I loved visiting all the museums and exhibitions. But now, well, I landed a dream job! I’m the manager of an old castle. I run the visitors’ centre and give talks about the castle’s thousand-year history. This more than makes up for what I am missing, believe me.

Speaker 5: I’ve just retired from my job as a city banker. All the working life I’ve lived in the city – I had to, you see, because of my work. And my wife worked in a city bank, too, so it made sense for us to live in a flat close to where we worked. But now, at long last, we have moved into the countryside. We enjoyed our work but now we are pleased to be far away from all the hustle and bustle of city life.

Speaker 6: We moved here—my husband, children, and I—into the city about ten years ago. We decided our children would have a better way of life—more activities, but even more, because we wouldn’t have the problem of having to drive our children everywhere. The regular buses and trains are so convenient! I think it has suited us all very well, and I don’t feel any sadness about leaving our old way of life behind. You know, there aren’t any buses at all in the village where we used to live!

Do you know the most populated cities in the world. Try this quiz to see how much you know.

Click here to research the answers.

Here are keywords and phrases covered in the activities for city and country living:

  • Amazon Prime
  • castle
  • City dwellers
  • convenient
  • commute time
  • country cottage
  • countryside
  • cultural institutions
  • exhibitions
  • fumes
  • New opportunities
  • metropolitan area
  • museums
  • specialized products
  • specialized services
  • urban density
  • village
  1. Choose a country or city where English is the native language. Research the changes in population there over the last 30 years. Look for the causes and effects of those changes. Create a graph of certain changes and present it to the class or a friend.
  2. Write an article on the information that you researched using subheadings such as causes and effects, recent developments, problems, and solutions.
We add activities and exercises regularly on various themes, so why not bookmark our site, so you can come back to practice anywhere or at any time of the day.

Explore the way we use technology and science in the modern world

Here you will find exercises to practice for the reading and writing section of IGCSE ESL examination for either the core or extended papers.

Exercise 1 (Questions 1 -4) - Short answer exercises

Exercise 2 - (Question 5) Gap-filled exercises

Exercise 3 - Matching

Exercise 4 - Multiple Choice

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. So, our IGCSE ESL Word searches are an excellent way to help to reinforce spelling. Word puzzles require not just a good vocabulary and a knack for spelling, but the ability to think logically and strategically. In the case of puzzles like our IGCSE Crosswords, it’s crucial to spell linked words correctly to be able to complete the task.
Learning English requires not just a good vocabulary, but a strong foundation of all the skills required to communicate well. Here we provide activities for the IGCSE ESL for all the skills required to be successful in this examination.
Levels Links:
Learn English with our free material for different levels of English. We add exercises on grammar and vocabulary as well as whole text activities on a regular basis. In addition, we provide test practice activities for students who are preparing for the Cambridge Assessment English Main Suite as well as the English Language B for the IB Diploma. The material will also support students studying for the Cambridge Advanced courses.

We provide free resources across the full range of levels to provide the tools to communicate in English well.

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