Paige: You're listening to “Coffee with Gringos.” I’m Paige Sutherland.
Ian: And I'm Ian Kennedy.
Paige: So today we are talking about school. So, we're going to talk a little bit about our education background from growing up—childhood—to going on to college to maybe even graduate school. If you get lost, go online to see that audio transcript as well as the audio guide. Okay, so Ian, you grew up in Missouri? I know nothing about Missouri. Did you go to public school, private, what's normal?
Ian: So, where I grew up in Missouri, I lived in a city—not that big, not that small. So, there weren't many opportunities for private schools. I went to public schools, all growing up. So, for elementary school, middle school, and high school, I went to all public schools. And that was typically common for most people where I'm from. There was one Catholic high school that was private. But it was mostly common for people to go to public school for those levels of education. Now, what about you in Boston?
Paige: So, I grew up in the suburbs of Boston. And in the suburbs, Massachusetts is actually pretty well known for its public education. We pay a lot of taxes towards it. So, our public schools are really good. So, most kids go to public schools. Unless you live in Boston—in the city—it's more common to go to a private school, which would probably be, like, you said, like a Catholic school of some sort. But no, I went to the public elementary, public middle school and public high school. But it's funny when I moved here, because I feel like everyone goes to private.
Ian: Yes, I learned the same thing. Yeah, I've noticed that.
Paige: I think there's some areas in the US where the public schools are really bad. So like people do send their kids to private, but in the US private isn't affordable, at least in my state. Like, if you're sending your kid to a private high school, you have to have money. It's almost the same cost as a college.
Paige: But where the public school is free.
Paige: I think the private schools are expensive, but more affordable. So, I think you see here, a lot of, like, middle class families sending their kids to private school. Where in the US, it's only the really upper families that are sending their kids to private high school. So okay, so that was your childhood. And then where did you go for college?
Ian: So, for college, I went to a private college called William Jewell College. I doubt anyone's ever heard of it. It's a very tiny, private school in Kansas City, which is a bigger city in Missouri. This was a little bit more different, because it was also very expensive, but very, very high-quality education, I felt like for the area. It's pretty common for most people to go to, I guess, mostly a public state school. I don't know if that's the same up in the northeast. But in my case, most kids would go to either University of Missouri, or Missouri State University, maybe some schools that were nearby and in states nearby—University of Arkansas, University of Kansas. But you had a few that were peppered in there going to private schools, like myself.
Paige: And your school, what was the size?
Ian: I think there were less than two thousand students.
Paige: So, it was kind of like a high school?
Ian: My high school is actually bigger than my college class was. So yeah, it was pretty interesting going from a big public school to a small private college.
Paige: And at, you know, two thousand—is this the kind of size where you go to the dining hall and you know everyone? Like you knew everyone in your group?
Ian: Exactly. You knew everybody that you saw on campus, and you better believe if you did something embarrassing, that you were going to see those people the next day. So, it definitely had its small school implications.
Paige: And when you were applying for school, was that something that you wanted? Was it you wanted that small school kind of close-knit community? Or was it just the school you liked and it happened to be small?
Ian: Yeah, so it was more what I was really looking for at a university at a college was obviously a good education. That was number one. But I was also playing soccer competitively. So, I found William Jewell College because it offered a really good education, and then also a very good study abroad program. In addition to that, they offered me a pretty good scholarship to play soccer. So, for those reasons, it felt like a good fit.
Paige: And how far was the school from your house?
Ian: It was about three hours driving from the city where I grew up in. It's very common for United States college students to live away from home—to be living on campus where they're going to college. So, it’s very typical to hear of someone who, maybe they go to university on the other side of the country, or a couple states away. Maybe It's a long drive, but it's very common to be living on campus, as opposed to everyone living with their parents. What about you? Tell me about your university experience.
Paige: Pretty similar. I went to a private college, very small liberal arts, which they don't really have here. I think there's, like, it’s a new like thing here. Liberal arts is basically, you have all these requirements, where you have to, you know, take a class in philosophy, you have to take a class in the arts and history, math and science. So, you basically have a degree in just, like, everything, and then you major in a specific degree. So, you have you have a lot of requirements, but it's called Holy Cross. It's a small, liberal arts Catholic school, about two hours west of Boston. So, I ended up staying in the same state that I grew up in, which was not the plan. I think I applied to a bunch of schools, like California, just like all over. I was very excited to leave. But I got a scholarship for track. And Holy Cross is a very academically prestigious school. You know, I got a big scholarship and I was like, I can't really not go.
Ian: Sure, can't pass up that opportunity.
Paige: Yeah, yeah. So, I went but Holy Cross about three thousand (students). So just a little bit bigger than yours, but it's the same. You do something embarrassing on the weekend, you will see them at brunch in the dining hall.
Ian: Yeah, yeah, with your face red and trying to hide in the other corner.
Paige: What's funny, though, is my school is officially called College of the Holy Cross. So, in the northeast, people know of it. But when you travel anywhere, and you say that, people are like, “are you a nun? Did you study the Bible?” And it's funny, I always get asked if I'm, like, super religious, if I studied theology. It definitely has, like, the Catholic feel—the architecture of it is very beautiful. And we have a pretty church, but not a lot of people are religious there. So, it is funny. “Are you a nun?”
Ian: Did you go to the convent? Yeah, how funny.
Paige: What did you major in, in college?
Ian: So, I majored in Business Administration with a minor in entrepreneurial leadership—how to start a startup, how to develop innovation, things like this. But I ended up working more in marketing when I got out of university. So, my experience is more in that field than business administration itself. And what about you?
Paige: Since I went to a liberal arts school, we had very generic majors. We didn't have professional majors. Like, you couldn't be a nurse or a lawyer, you know, any of those kinds of tracks. So, I studied philosophy, actually.
Ian: Wow, look at you. You must be quite the deep thinker then.
Paige: And I kind of fell into it. I applied to all journalism schools when I was in high school. But then, llike I said, I got the scholarship and went to the only school that didn't have my major. And I thought, oh, I need to pick a major that has a lot of writing and, like, debating and communications. So that was the closest major I could find. So, I majored in international relations and philosophy. And then right after I graduated, I immediately went to graduate school for journalism.
Paige: Surprisingly, I have no regrets.
Ian: Surprisingly. Well, I think it's turned out okay for you.
Paige: So, you have the classic conversations with older people. “You're majoring in philosophy? What are you going to do with that?”
Ian: “What? What kind of job are you going to have? What are you going to do?
Paige: Here, I bet if I told people, they’d roll their eyes. Because it's, like, engineering—very practical majors. Where, like, philosophy is useless. I definitely didn't study it for the money.
Ian: I can imagine not. Yeah. But for the mental wealth, I think you got it in the mental wealth. Right? There you go. There you go.
Paige: You made a good point earlier, it's very different here, the structure of college. Because in the US, college, like I said before, is totally about the education. But it's really about just, like, a different lifestyle. I mean, you're living in dorms, bunk beds, with, you know, strangers. At first, like, your freshman year, I was in a dorm with two girls in bunk beds, and like, the size of the bathroom, it was tiny. And you all are from different states; you have different backgrounds…
Ian: Different cultures.
Paige: …(different) schedules. Like, you all have different classes and different routines and everything and you have to, like, coexist together. You have to wear a shower shoes to shower in communal showers. And you eat in the dining hall with, like, buffet style, drink out of red Solo cups—like this whole different world that is American universities.
Ian: That's a really good point you make and also, it's for a lot of people, it's the first time that you've been away from home. It’s the first feeling of responsibility. And so, you're learning a lot of things good and bad. And like you said, it's just a complete new lifestyle. It's a real different kind of thing, different way to live. And it's even unique in the United States, because when I've traveled to other countries, other continents, it seems most students live at home, and they commute to their classes. Which that's something I didn't quite realize until I started traveling more and it was “Okay… the dorm life, the American college life isn't so commonplace…it's a little different.
Paige: I will say, without that part, I don't think college would be as good. Obviously, I had a great education and my classes were very important to me. But, like, the dorm life, the relationships you get from living with people for four years, is much better than, like, commuting and not having by living on the same campus.
Ian: I totally agree. It does, really, a lot of good things for developing your social skills. If you have to coexist, like you said, with other people. You’re sharing a room with people you don't know; you're eating new, strange food, you're sharing cultures. It's uncomfortable at first, but in the end, it's really good for growth—socially, mentally, culturally, everything. And I think in other places, you're right, it kind of lacks that a little bit. You go to class…you go back home… you go to class…you go back home. There's maybe a few extracurricular activities in between, but it's not quite the same as spending 24 hours a day with new people and in a new environment.
Paige: So that was a little bit about our educational background. Mine is probably done. Yours is still continuing. Yep. And again, if you get lost at all, go online. There's a transcript and audio guide for you to check out. So, thanks again for listening.
Ian: And we'll see you next time.
Key Vocabulary, Phrases and Slang:
1. suburbs (noun): area of district outside of a city center.
a. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.
2. affordable (adjective): inexpensive, reasonably priced.
a. Our trip to Mexico was affordable.
3. upper (class) (noun): social group in society with higher status.
a. Only the upper (class) can enjoy the benefits.
4. tiny (adjective): very small.
a. His apartment is so tiny!
5. pepper in (phrasal verb): to add a small amount of something.
a. We like to pepper in vocabulary during our verb exercises.
6. implication (noun): likely consequence of something.
a. It was a victory that had political implications.
7. close-knit (adjective): united by strong relationships or common interests.
a. The football team is very close-knit, so they play well together.
8. “number one” (noun): the most important
a. Living near my work is the “number one” for me.
9. Study abroad (verb): live and study in a foreign country.
a. My daughter wants to study abroad in Spain.
10. scholarship (noun): payment awarded to students for academic costs.
a. He received a scholarship to attend Stanford University.
11. good fit (noun): someone or something suitable for something particular.
a. Based on her profile, she is a good fit for our company.
12. degree (noun): completed academic study or field of expertise.
a. He completed his degree from the best university in Italy.
13. major (noun): specific career field or subject of academic study.
a. I received my major in Business from Harvard University.
14. prestigious (adjective): respected, having high status.
a. The university is known for its prestigious academics.
15. pass up (phrasal verb): decline, reject.
a. I decided to pass up on the offer to attend the college in Canada.
16. embarrassing (adjective): causing shame or discomfort.
a. It was so embarrassing to see my old photo from elementary school.
17. nun (noun): religious woman who devotes their life to religion.
a. There were nuns at the Catholic school I attended.
18. theology (noun): study of religious belief.
a. He decided to study theology during his time at the college.
19. convent (noun): a religious school for nuns
a. Her cousin joined a convent when she was fifteen years old.
20. major in (phrasal verb): to study something as a main focus in university.
a. She always wanted to major in medicine her whole life.
21. entrepreneurial (adjective): taking financial risks with the hopes of gaining profit.
a. It is important for a new business owner to be entrepreneurial in their thinking.
22. startup (noun): newly formed business.
a. My brother is creating a technology startup in Silicon Valley.
23. fall into (phrasal verb): to start doing something by chance.
a. I fell into reading as a child because I spent so much time in the library.
24. regret (noun): a feeling of sadness or disappointed for something that has happened.
a. My grandfather has many regrets from his life as a soldier.
25. wealth (noun): possession of many assets or money.
a. The king’s wealth was easy to see.
26. dorms (noun): a shared living space between college students.
a. It is common to live in the dorms as a college student.
27. bunk bed (noun): beds that are vertically-situated or on top of each other.
a. My brother and I had bunk beds when we were younger.
28. freshman year (noun): the first year of undergraduate studies.
a. My cousin is in her freshman year at Yale University.
29. stranger (noun): an unfamiliar person; someone you don’t know.
a. It’s important to be careful when talking with strangers.
30. coexist (verb): to exist together among different ideas or beliefs.
a. It’s very important for people to coexist even if they have different beliefs.
31. commute (verb): to travel between one place and another.
a. Most European students commute between university and home.
32. lack (verb): to miss or be without something.
a. The students in the class lack the motivation to succeed.
33. extracurricular (adjective): something outside of the normal course of academic study
a. The university provides several extracurricular activities for the students.