english and computers

English and Computers



relief nowadays otherwise
annoy perplexed obvious
native indeed to top it off
aside full-time permanent
hire bright demand (2)
glut stuck stuck around
basis qualify dormitory
share Medieval excursion
stroll fascinating accommodation
aspect bartender walks of life
barrier backpack matter (2)
yack a given well-heeled
proper disposition stretch (2)
arsenal carry on fraternize
border encounter lose myself


English and Computers

“English and computers,” relied Nina.
“That’s right,” said Martin. “To get a job nowadays, you have to know English and computers — otherwise, no one will hire you.”
Anna added, “That’s why everyone is learning . . . English and computers.”

English and computers. English and computers. English and computers!!!

Relief and Confusion

Dominic felt a mixture of relief and perplexity by the students’ responses.

Relief because it meant that he, as an English language instructor, would always have something to do; indeed the future in this field looked bright.

But he was also perplexed, because knowing English and computers seemed to simple; to obvious.

After all, Dominic knew computers . . . or at least word processing and surfing the internet.

And English was his native tongue.

To top it off, he had a university degree — in archeology.


And yet, he could never find a permanent, full-time job in his hometown, aside from milking cows. Perhaps this was due to the glut of English speakers in New Zealand.

For that reason, he qualified as an English teacher and moved to where there was a demand for his services.

In this case, Romania.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Summer time

In mid-June, most of the courses at his language center ended, and students and instructors went on a summer holiday.

Dominic stuck around, teaching two classes on a part-time basis.

When these finished, he himself went on leave and took a train to the medieval town of Brasov in the middle of the country.

Dominic enjoyed strolling around town, exploring the old buildings and the surrounding hillside and forests. He also went on excursions to nearby villages.

The Hostel

During his time there, he stayed in an inexpensive hostel.

It featured a nice living room and kitchen. The shared, dormitory rooms were new and modern.

But perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the accommodation was all people, from different walks of life, from all over the world:

Brazilian students studying engineering at universities in Hungary . . . an Indian IT expert living and working in Ireland . . . a Filipino-born Australian bartender backpacking around the world.

National barriers hardly mattered in this age of globalization with everyone yacking off in English — this was a given among young, well-heeled backpackers.


But the most notable character at the hostel was Roberto.

A pensioner from Italy, he had moved to Romania to make his euros stretch.

With his open, friendly disposition, he quickly become the most popular kid in school.

He fraternized with everyone and was well liked.

A Small Problem

There was just a small problem — his linguistic arsenal was limited to Italian.

Roberto did know a smattering English: “You from Taiwan? Understand? You k-now?” though not nearly enough to carry on a proper conversation.

But that didn’t matter.

It didn’t stop him from conversing — completely in Italian — with everyone he encountered (particular the belle ragazze).


Although people generally welcomed his gregarious-nature, he did at times overdo it . . . bordering on annoyance.

Why would this be?

Well it seemed that, unlike everyone else at the hostel — who would completely lose themselves with their smart-devices . . .

Roberto had nothing else to do.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. In the beginning, Dominic’s students would say “English and computers.” What did this mean?

2. Dominic understood his students completely. Is this correct or wrong? Why couldn’t he understand them?

3. What was Dominic’s situation in his home country?

4. Did he and other teachers continue working throughout the summer? What happened to him? Where did he go?

5. Only locals (Romanians) stayed in the hostel. Is this true or false?

6. Were people able to communicate with each other in the hostel? Was there a language barrier?

7. Who was Roberto? Describe Roberto. Was he the same as other guests? How was he different?
A. In my city and country, everyone has to know English and computers. Is this true or false? Which jobs require the knowledge of English and which do not?

B. I know many successful people who do not know English or how to use a computer. Yes or no?

C. Do you know people who have a hard time or are limited in life because they don’t know English or computers?

D. In the future everyone will know English and computers. What do you think?

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