Cue Card # 153: When you had to use a foreign language

IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card # 153

Describe a time when you had to use a foreign language to communicate with someone.

You should say:

  • when it was
  • which language you used
  • why you had to use a foreign language

and explain how you felt about it.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]


Model Answer:

Trying to communicate in a foreign language can be a daunting task. But, it can be even more challenging if you have limited knowledge in that language, and I found it out when I had to communicate in the Spanish language at an airport in Spain. Thank you for this interesting cue card topic.

A couple of years ago, I unexpectedly got an invitation from a cousin, living in Spain, of mine to visit him in December. To make this invitation even more irresistible to me, this cousin of mine even offered to buy the plane ticket for me at a discounted price. Knowing that I didn’t need to pay for my flight ticket and accommodation, I had no reason to ignore that invitation. So, after making all the necessary arrangements, I hopped into a plane and arrived at a major international airport in Spain.

Anyway, after finishing all my immigration works at the airport, I felt really hungry and decided to go to a restaurant inside the airport to eat something nice. But, as I was about to place my order to the young girl at the food counter, I noticed that she was struggling to communicate in English. So, I decided to become a bit adventurous and use the very little Spanish (that I taught myself just a week before arriving in Spain) language to communicate with that young girl except, of course, I wasn’t too sure what I was exactly saying to her in order to describe how I really wanted my “Fideuà” (a popular and delicious Spanish pasta with seafood). However, luckily, I somehow managed to tell her what I wanted by using some gesturing and emotions as well.

It felt really great because I actually managed to communicate in the Spanish language for the first time and that too in a foreign country and without any assistance! Besides, I also felt a bit proud of my ability to speak in a foreign language because my effort actually saved a person from an uncomfortable situation and embarrassment.

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