A: Studying abroad is just an amazing experience. Being in an international environment for a few months is the best opportunity to establish intercultural contacts by making new friends, having a deeper insight into a different culture, learning a different language and growing as a person.

B: On the other hand, students who have decided to study abroad have to deal with many differences concerning the educational systems, which may differ a lot from the one they use in their home country. For example, national grades and grading scales vary greatly, and reflect educational traditions and requirements within the national perspective.

A: Yes, you are right. Examination and assessment results are expressed in many different ways, since they are based on different grading systems. For example, in the Czech Republic universities use a four-point grading scale where 1 is the best and 4 means you fail. There are only whole numbers in the report cards.
As compared to Europe, the classical five-point evaluation system is most commonly used in the United States, where A, B, C and D are the pass grades and F grade.

B: Is the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) grading scale similar to the U.S. grade system?

A: Yes, it’s very similar. Let me describe it in details:
A means excellent. It’s awarded for outstanding performance with only minor errors.
B is very good. It means the student’s performance is above the average standard with some errors. C is interpreted as good. It corresponds to generally sound work with a number of notable errors. D means satisfactory. The performance meets the minimum criteria.
FX is a fail grade. The student is required to submit some more work before a credit can be awarded.
And finally, F means fail, considerable further work is required to succeed in this case.

B: As I can see, all European Union member countries have adopted the same grading system.

A: Not exactly. The ECTS grades are not supposed to replace the local grades. The institutions make their own decision on how to apply the ECTS grading scale to their own system, specially when speaking about their full-time students. The unified ECTS scale is usually used for incoming exchange students who plan to complete just some selected courses, which will be recognized by their home universities when they return.

B: ECTS means European Credit Transfer System, but we have been speaking about grades only so far, so, what about the credits?

A: Credits are a value allocated to course units to describe the student workload required to complete them. Some students say the number of credits they can gain for the course completion corresponds to the degree of difficulty of the course. The number of credits reflects the quantity of work each course requires in relation to the total quantity of work required to complete a full year of academic study.
So, in the ECTS system one full academic year consists of 60 credits.

B: I see. The credits are used to evaluate the quantity of the student’s workload and grades are used to assess the quality of the student’s performance.


Extreme sports are called extreme for a good reason: they are extremely dangerous, sometimes even resulting in extreme injuries. Anyone who has ever fallen off a bike, or suffered "road rash" from a skateboard knows what I'm talking about. Sports like skateboarding, aggressive skating, paragliding or wakeboarding all involve great heights, great speed, and usually some bone-crunching stunts.

A common feature of such activities is their capacity to induce an adrenaline rush. However, the medical view is that the rush is not due to adrenaline being released as a response to fear, but due to increased levels of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin because of the high level of physical exertion.

Extreme sports are often associated with young adults wishing to push themselves to the limits of their physical ability and fear. This youthful characteristic is also associated with the youth culture, including its clothing, fashion and music.

Aside from extreme skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding, there are all sorts of other extreme sports out there, from base jumping, bungee jumping, ice climbing, and skydiving to cordless climbing or cave diving.

Let’s talk about one of these extreme sports people are fascinated by – base jumping.

BASE jumping is a sport involving the use of a parachute to jump from fixed objects. "BASE" is an acronym that stands for the four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump:
B is for Building – A for Antenna – S for Span (a bridge or arch) – and E is for Earth (which may be a cliff or other natural formation).

BASE jumping grew out of skydiving. Skydivers use the air flow to stabilize their position, allowing the parachute to deploy cleanly. BASE jumpers, falling at lower speeds, have less aerodynamic control, and may tumble. Also, the jumper may not be facing the right direction.

Standard skydiving parachute systems are not designed for this situation, so BASE jumpers use specially designed equipment and jump with only one parachute—since there would be no time to use a reserve parachute. Another risk is that most BASE jumping sites have very small areas in which to land. Through the availability of specialized equipment and wider knowledge of techniques, it is much safer today than in the early days, though fatalities and injuries still occur.

Why do people do extreme sports? Aren’t they scared of dying?

Fear is not something you are born with - it is taught to you at a young age. If you had a parent who told you "NO!" all the time then you are more likely to be fearful of the unknown. When you drive a car, what if some drunken driver slams into you? Are you going to stop driving because that is a possibility? How about going to the bank to make a deposit, what are you going to do if it gets robbed? Some extreme athletes say if people live their lives in fear of dying then life is not worth living.

Simply said, don't knock it until you try it!


A: The ancient Olympics were rather different from the modern Games. For example, there were fewer events, and, women were not allowed to compete in the Games themselves. So, who could compete in the Olympics?

B: Only free, or free-born men who spoke Greek could compete, instead of athletes from any country. There were separate mens' and boys' divisions for the events.
Also, the games were always held at Olympia instead of moving around to different sites every time.
And, by the way, what you said about the women is true.

A: Yes, and, not only were women not permitted to compete personally, married women were also barred from attending the games, under penalty of death.

B: While maidens were allowed to attend.

A: In today’s world that sounds really funny.
Well, athletics were a key part of education in ancient Greece. Many Greeks believed that developing the body was equally important to improving the mind for overall health. Also, regular exercise was important in a society where men were always needed for military service.
Do you know how the athletes were trained?

B: Young men worked with athletic trainers who used long sticks to point out incorrect body positions and other faults. Trainers paid close attention to balancing the types of physical exercise and the athlete's diet. The Greeks also thought that harmonious movement was very important, so athletes often exercised to flute music.

A: What prizes did Olympic victors get?

B: A victor received a crown made of olive leaves, and was entitled to have a statue of himself set up at Olympia. Although he did not receive money at the Olympics, it was common for victors to receive benefits such as having all their meals at public expense or front-row seats at the theater and other public festivals. Like our Olympics, though, winning athletes were heroes who put their home towns on the map.

A: Were there any penalties for cheating?

B: Anyone who violated the rules was fined by the judges. The money was used to set up statues of Zeus, the patron god of the Games at Olympia.

A: I’ve also heard, the marathon was never one of the ancient Olympic events, so where did the marathon come from?

B: In the 5th century B.C., the Persians invaded Greece, landing at Marathon, a small town about 26 miles from the city of Athens. The traditional origin of the marathon comes from the story of how a herald named Phidippides ran the 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory and died on the spot.

A: Another interesting thing is that wars temporarily stopped while the soldiers went to compete in Olympia. When the Games were over, they went back to their battlefields and resumed the wars.

B: In times of war, terror and natural disasters people do need something to believe in. So through the Olympic Games the world comes together with hope, faith and respect for one another. The weapons in those peaceful “battles” are strength and control of body and mind


Injury is the most common reason for athletes ‘retiring’ from sport. Chronic injuries – that is, long-standing ones – are much more difficult to restore to full health, so it should go without saying that you need to take early active intervention.

Acute injury is associated with local bleeding and the object of first aid is to minimize this bleeding and reduce its consequences. The acronym ‘RICE’ is commonly used in the first aid.

"RICE" is short for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. RICE started immediately after a minor injury can help to relieve the pain and keep the area from swelling. When there is an injury, fluid can collect in the area of the injury. This extra fluid causes swelling and, if there is enough extra fluid, the pain may increase. RICE can be used for minor injuries such as bruises, strains, sprains, and pulled muscles. The earlier the RICE treatment is started after an injury, the better it works.

R stands for rest. Rest the injured area. If moving the injured area causes pain, this is the body's way of saying stop. Rest the affected area. Do not use or bear weight (such as standing or walking) until evaluated by a healthcare provider. Sometimes resting an injured area means not participating in any physical activity or just the activity that caused the injury. For example, some walking may be allowed, but no running. If necessary, the provider may suggest using crutches or a cane so that less weight is put on the injured foot or leg.

I stands for ice. Ice applied to the injured area will help to prevent or reduce swelling. Swelling causes more pain and can slow healing. Apply a cloth-covered ice pack to the injured area for no more than 20 minutes at a time, 4 to 8 times a day. A one-pound package of frozen corn or peas makes a good ice pack. It is lightweight, conforms to the injured area, and is inexpensive and reusable. Applying ice more than 20 minutes may cause cold injury. When making an ice pack with a plastic bag, make sure all the air is out of the bag before closing it. Areas with little fat and muscle, such as fingers or toes, should only have ice on them for about 10 minutes. Frozen gel packs are colder than ice, so they should only be left on for 10 minutes.

C is for compression. Compression is the use of a pressure bandage. It also helps to prevent or reduce swelling. Wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage, but not so tightly that the blood is cut off. It should not hurt or throb. Fingers or toes beyond the bandage should remain pink and not become "tingly." The elastic bandage should be taken off every 4 hours and reapplied.

And E reminds us to elevate the limb. Elevation means raising the injured area above the level of the heart. The affected part should be elevated so it is at least 12 inches above the heart, to help reduce swelling. Prop up a leg or arm while resting it. It may be necessary to lie down to get the leg above the heart level. Elevation can be done with several pillows.

Do all 4 parts of the RICE treatment together. The RICE method (combined with anti-inflammatory drugs if desired) is the best immediate response to most injuries. However, if there is still pain when using the injured part after 1 or 2 days, see a healthcare provider. If the injury is serious, such as internal bleeding or a broken bone, do not wait! See a healthcare provider immediately, or go directly to the hospital.


A: Most athletes who tested positive for illegal substances usually immediately protest their innocence, insisting they have never knowingly taken any performance-enhancing drugs. Some of them claim that their sample was manipulated or even sabotaged. Is something like that possible? Can you tell us what exactly the athlete is supposed to do during the doping test?

B: Before the testing procedure starts, the testing officer approaches the athletes to be tested and shows them his national or international sport accreditation. He informs them that they have been chosen to undergo a random drug test. From this point on they must have the official with them at all times, until the test is complete - even if they have media interviews to do or a medal ceremony to attend.

A: Can the athlete refuse to undergo the drug test?

B: No way, the athlete would be considered to have tested positive and banned from sport.
Well, the athlete signs the Sample Collection Form. He gives his name, the event he has been competing in and an address for notification of the test results. Then they proceed to the designated doping control area, where the athlete selects a pot or a vial to hold his urine sample.

A: And here we get to the tricky point. So, what takes place when the sample is produced?

B: First the athletes must wash their hands first and then they are asked to take the pot and produce the urine sample. Their abdominal area and genitals must be clearly visible so the testing officer can see the urine going directly from the body to the pot.
When the sample has been produced, the athlete takes a fresh lid from a selection offered by the testing officer and seals the sample.

A: How much urine must be produced to be accepted by the officer?

B: There must be at least 75 millilitres of urine for the sample to be valid. If the athlete cannot produce enough in one go, the test is put on hold until they can.
If everything runs smoothly, the athlete is asked to choose from a selection of sealed sample boxes. While the testing officer puts on rubber gloves, the athlete checks if the seal is unbroken.

A: I heard something about the 'A' samples and 'B' samples. Are both samples provided from the same original urine sample? The reason why I am asking this question is that in some cases, the 'B' sample analysis did not confirm the results obtained through the analysis of the 'A' sample.

B: You are correct. Inside the box are the red 'A' and blue 'B' sample bottles. Checking that the seal is unbroken, the athlete tears open the cellophane packaging. In full view of the tester, the athlete then re-opens his sealed urine sample and pours equal amounts into the 'A' and 'B' samples. He leaves a small amount of urine in the original pot.

A: What for?

B: The testing officer takes the remainder of the sample and checks it to make sure the concentration and acidity are within agreed limits. If the athlete has drunk too much water, the urine may be too weak to be tested. The tester would then have to wait a few minutes and ask for a fresh urine sample.

A: And, what if the athlete has recently been ill and taken medication?

B: The athletes are obviously asked to declare if they have taken any medication in the last seven days, and if so, what product, how much and when. Even a household drug like asprin must be included.

A: The samples must be analyzed in specialized accredited laboratories. How are the samples delivered to the laboratories? Are there any safety precautions?

B: Yes, there are. The testing officer puts the samples in a courier bag and seals it in full view of the athlete and another sport official. The samples are identifiable only by a barcode - there is no reference to the athlete's identity. They are then either couriered to the accredited lab or taken there directly by the testing officer.


Parents, teachers, and primary caregivers need to have a clear understanding of how young children develop motor skills and the timetable for development of the skills. They should also understand the key terms we use to describe motor skills.

A motor skill is a skill that regards the ability of an organism to use skeletal muscles effectively. Motor skills depend on the proper functioning of the brain, skeleton, joints, and nervous system. Motor skills are divided into two parts, gross and fine motor skills.

So lets talk with an expert about motor skills.

A: What’s the difference between these two types of motor skills?

B: Well, gross motor skills are defined as the movements of the large muscles of the body. Involve the movement of the head, body, legs, arms, and large muscles.

A: And can you give us some examples of such movements?

B: Well, such movements refer to locomotion, manipulation and stabilization.
Locomotion involves walking, running, sitting and hopping. Manipulation involves throwing, catching and kicking. Stabilization incorporates bending, stretching, twisting and turning.

A: For example, many parents consider early walking as one of the most important development milestones, but, as we know, there are many differences among children. At what age do children develop the skill of walking?

B: Well, the motor skills of young children differ according to genetic inheritance patterns and also according to the cultural habits of the family. Parents need to know, for example, that walking has a "wide window" in terms of age at which this motor skill can develop. Some infants start to walk even as early as 6 or 7 months. Others begin to walk at 16 or 17 months. Both are within normal range of development for walking.

A: And now back to fine motor skills.

B: Fine motor skills can be defined as small muscle movements which occur in the fingers, in coordination with the eyes. The abilities, which involve the use of hands, develop over time
During the infant and toddler years, children develop basic grasping and manipulation skills, which are refined during the preschool years.

A. So, what is normal for a preschooler?

B: Well, typically, the preschooler becomes quite adept in self-help, construction, holding grips, and bimanual control tasks requiring the use of both hands. Fine motor skills involve manipulating with small objects, drawing, writing, self-care skills

A: With any skill, to develop it, one needs to explore it, to experience it, to practise it. Every single thing children do is building their understanding and their abilities. We need to be providing as many experiences and as much freedom as we can to provide children with the opportunities to use their muscles, to find the limits, to increase the ability, to determine what movement the situation calls for and how to make it happen.

B: For example, you see a young child walks towards a ball, with the desire to pick it up. She leans over to touch the ball, but, instead, her foot hits it and the ball goes sailing across the room. You see her walk towards it again, and this time tries to kick the ball on purpose, but misses and her foot goes past the left side of the ball. She tries again, and again. She finally kicks it and she begins to run after the ball, tries to stop in front of it, and falls forward. She stands up and kicks it to a new location and she giggles.

A: Well, are there any other differences between the gross and fine motor skills that people may not be familiar with?

B: Yes. Unlike fine and complex motor skills, gross motor skills DO NOT deteriorate under stress. In fact, they are enhanced by the affects of fear and stress.

So, enjoy the skills your little one has or tries. Some will be able to turn cartwheels early, while others will be clumsy, running and falling during the first years of life. Each child has his own motor development timetable.


I: Hello, and welcome to today´s “You & Yours”. On today´s programme we look at children who are trying to be champions in the world of sport, and the pressures they can be under to win, win, win. Now I spoke to Allan Baker, the former British Athletics coach, and he had this to say.

AB: Well, the problem is that you want to find these children at quite a young age, to train them and motivate them as early as possible. Umm … at that age they don´t have social problems, you know they don´t have boyfriends or girlfriends, so they give their sport the whole of their life. Umm, but they´re so young that they can lose their childhood, and they´re adults before they´re 16. But of course they´re not adults at all. Physically they can be quite developed, but emotionally they´re still children. Everybody´s looking for the new young star of the future because there´s a lot of money to be earned.

I: Tennis is one of the sports where youngsters can play against their elders with more than a chance of success. In America there are tennis schools which accept children from as young as 9. So from the age of 9 a boy or girl is playing tennis for four or five hours every day, and doing ordinary school work around that. I spoke to the team manager of the English Lawn Tennis Association, Pam de Gruchy.

PG: You see, we´ve already seen two 14-year-old American girls, that´s Tracy Austin and Andrea Jaeger, playing at Wimbledon, and now, both at 18, they are now already showing the pressures on their bodies and their minds, and people are beginning to question whether this is a good thing for children. A 14-year-old just can´t cope with the pressures of Wimbledon, the tournament, the Wimbledon crowds, and the press reporters. Well, I say to my girls, “Stay at home, stay at school, do the things that teenagers like doing. If you like swimming, well swim; if you like going to dances, just go!” And if when they´re older they´d really like to be a professional tennis player, well, they´ll be a little older than the Americans, but they´ll be better people for it, of that I´m perfectly sure.

I: Pam de Gruchy thinks that young players shouldn´t be allowed to become professionals until the age of 17 or 18 at least. I asked her what was responsible for the pressures on the young players – was it the money that can be earned, the parents, or perhaps the children themselves?

PG: Oh no, it´s the parents, without a shadow of a doubt. They want to push their children. I get letters from parents saying, “My little Johnny enjoys playing tennis all day, and he´d like to learn only that and be trained by a professional coach”, and quite frankly, I just don´t believe it.

I: But what about the youngsters themselves? Robert, a 100-metre and 200-metre runner gave me an idea of his training programme, and his own very simple way of avoiding trouble.

R: Well, I train under a coach for three days a week, and uhm … and … then decide how much running to do. If I´ve trained hard, well then maybe I run five miles, you know, if not so much, then eight miles. Well, of course, I´d like to go to the next Olympics and represent Great Britain, and of course I´d like to win a gold but there are lots of other things I like doing with my life too. Uhm, I, I, play in a rock group and I´m also a keen photographer. Well, I suppose for me the most important thing is enjoyment. If, if you win, you´re happy, and if you lose, it´s the same. I mean if you start getting upset every time you lose, I think it´s time to stop.

I: The sports stars of tomorrow, and good luck to them.

Content        Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7        Vocabulary       Listening        References