Cue Card Sample

First time you used a foreign language - Cue Card # 729

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe the first time you used a foreign language to communicate.

You should say:

  • what the situation was
  • where you were then
  • who you communicated with

and explain why you used a foreign language to communicate on that occasion.

[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 1:
I never really underestimated the importance of learning to speak in a different language other than my native language. But, the importance of it increased even more to me when I actually had to use a foreign language in a critical situation.

The critical situation, I am talking about, involved talking to an immigration officer at an airport when I visited Spain about a year ago to enjoy a vacation.

Up until that point, I never really thought that I would need to use a foreign language other than English at an airport, at least. But, I was in for a surprise, after arriving at one of the major international airports, when a makeshift immigration officer greeted me and started to ask me different kinds of questions in broken English. By the way, I didn’t realize that the gentleman was a makeshift immigration officer until I found out that I was waiting unusually long at the immigration checkpoint to get all my paperwork done. Besides, he also told me that he was filling in for a certain gentleman.

So, anyway, after I found out that the makeshift immigration officer was struggling to communicate with me in his broken English, I thought that it was probably the right time to be a little bold and use the Spanish language for the first time in a formal set up which I learned at my high school. Seeing me speaking in his mother tongue, the immigration officer gentleman first looked a bit surprised and then excited with a very happy face, asking me how I learned his language and what possibly could have motivated me to learn a difficult language like Spanish. I tried to answer all of his questions in the Spanish language before leaving the airport happily.

Anyway, I chose to use a foreign language on this occasion, primarily because I wanted to see how good I was at communicating in the Spanish language. Besides, I also wanted to help the makeshift immigration officer to ease up a little and feel comfortable when trying to communicate with me in English.

Model Answer 2:

The first time I ventured into using a foreign language for communication was an exhilarating experience that unfolded during my solo trip to Tokyo, Japan. For this excellent topic, I would like to share this experience with you.

What the situation was:
I found myself in a bustling street market, captivated by the array of traditional Japanese goods. Eager to delve into the local culture, I approached a vendor to purchase a beautifully crafted souvenir for my family back home. However, to my surprise, the vendor spoke limited English, and my Japanese language skills were very basic at the time.

Where you were then:
This interaction took place in the heart of Asakusa, a vibrant district in Tokyo renowned for its historic temples, lively streets, and traditional markets. The cultural richness of the location amplified the significance of attempting to communicate in the local language.

Who you communicated with:
My communication partner was the elderly vendor, who seemed genuinely delighted by my interest in his merchandise. Despite the language barrier, his warmth and friendliness were evident. It was clear that attempting to speak Japanese, even if rudimentary, was a gesture appreciated in this cultural context.

And explain why you used a foreign language to communicate on that occasion:
I decided to use Japanese in that situation primarily to show respect for the local culture and engage more authentically with the people. It felt like an opportunity to step out of my linguistic comfort zone and embrace the essence of the place I was visiting. Additionally, I believed that attempting to communicate in the native language would foster a more genuine connection and enhance my travel experience.

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