So, what’s your deal? What do you do?

Esteban Torres is a student at CEOLS. He is an engineer and needs English for his work. While on holiday in Edinburgh he met his current girlfriend, Katie Barnes. Although she works in London for an international hotel company, she was there visiting her family and celebrating the New Year.
This is what Katie told Esteban about her work.

 Unit 1 – Lesson 3 – Podcast number 1


Katie Barnes

I finished my studies at Stevenson College and I didn’t know what to do, so I decided to travel around Europe. I bought an InterRail Pass and left Edinburgh. My first stop was Amsterdam. It was great! I visited museums, sat in parks, met a lot of people and went out a lot. After two weeks I had spent all my money! I decided to find a job. I had met a Portuguese girl, Maria, who worked in a hotel as a chambermaid. She introduced me to her boss. This is how I started in the tourism industry!

I spent two months as a chambermaid, but soon I got a promotion because of my language skills. I can speak English, French and German and I had learnt a bit of Dutch, which is a very difficult language. I was at the front desk of a small hotel in the centre of Amsterdam. There I learned a lot about anticipating customer needs and tending to every detail. After that, the accountant got maternity leave and I took her job. On that first trip I didn’t get very far, but I started a career.

View of Amsterdam
Image in Flickr by redjar under CC

While I was working as an accountant I decided to go to university to study tourism. My boss was very understanding and helped me a lot. I worked afternoons and evenings and went to classes in the morning. From time to time I had to take a day off because I had exams. When I had been studying for two years I was offered a promotion. That meant I had to leave Amsterdam and move to London, to the headquarters of the hotel chain. I didn’t think twice and packed my suitcases.

The new job was demanding but I loved the experience! However, I still wanted to finish my degree. It was impossible to transfer to a college in London. It would have meant starting from the beginning! I decided to take the exams even though I had not attended the lectures. I had to study a lot. For two months I was sleeping two or three hours every night. But in the end I succeeded and got my degree in tourism. At the same time I was getting ahead in my job and after finishing my studies I got promoted again. I am currently in charge of all the marketing operations of a huge hotel company. I travel a lot and I get paid for it.


A step ahead

Katie says she is in charge of marketing operations. What do you think she does? Read the following text about a day in the life of a marketing executive and find out.


That was quite a long and complex text, wasn’t it? You will have to get used to reading longer texts in English. There are different styles of reading for different situations. The technique you choose will depend on the purpose for reading. For example, you might be reading for enjoyment, information, or to complete a task. If you are exploring or reviewing, you might skim a document. If you’re searching for information, you might scan for a particular word. You need to adjust your reading speed and technique depending on your purpose.

There are three main styles of reading which we use in different situations:

  • Scanning: for a specific focus. The technique you use when you’re looking up a name in the phone book: you move your eye quickly over the page to find particular words or phrases that are relevant to the task you’re doing. It’s useful to scan parts of texts to see if they’re going to be useful to you.
  • Skimming: for getting the gist of something. The technique you use when you’re going through a newspaper or magazine: you read quickly to get the main points, and skip over the detail. It’s useful to skim to preview a passage before you read it in detail or to refresh your understand of a passage after you’ve read it in detail. Use skimming when you’re trying to decide if a book in the library or bookshop is right for you.
  • Detailed reading: for extracting information accurately.Where you read every word, and work to learn from the text. In this careful reading, you may find it helpful to skim first, to get a general idea, but then go back to read in detail. Use a dictionary to make sure you understand all the words used.

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