With so many wars in the world, I thought today we should have an English listening podcast about kindness, compassion and the goodness in people. Lots of English listening practice will help you build confidence, improve your listening comprehension, and train your brain for faster, more natural language acquisition. You'll notice a difference in the way you think and feel as your English improves in only a few episodes.
As we learn a new language, we hear new things and want to use them in conversation. However, we aren’t always sure how to use these unfamiliar words and expressions. Our English lessons are better than standard textbooks or lectures because they help improve natural, everyday spoken language. The type of English you will need to sound fluent and take part in everyday English conversations.
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I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
⭐ Albert Einstein
Whether you’re a student of English as a foreign or second language or an adult speaker looking to improve your verbal communication skills in English, we definitely have an English listening podcast for you.
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This podcast helps you practise your English by covering one aspect of the war in Ukraine. I’m sure you’ll have heard about this on your own news - assuming of course that you have what we call a ‘free press’ at the moment. A ‘free press’, FREE PRESS means that journalists in your country are free to report on what they see, without government interference. And if you haven’t got ‘a free press’, listen on.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
If you’re listening to this podcast in Europe, the conflict seems incredibly close - and I’m giving you today what’s called ‘an opinion piece’ - some of my thoughts about the Ukraine war and its effects. If you’re not in Europe and the conflict seems far away or there are other conflicts near to you which seem more worrying, then please just use this podcast as a piece of ‘English language learning’ as you normally would.
If you’re in Afghanistan or Myanmar for instance, your conflict and your difficulties continue as they have for many years. And if you are in Yemen or Ethiopia, we know that you too are suffering similarly from the horrors of war. War is just as horrific whichever part of the world it occurs in.
But I’m sure most people who live in Europe and many people who live outside of Europe are watching the world news at the moment and want to be informed about what is happening in Ukraine. That’s the name of the country in English, UKRAINE. It is worrying for people watching, uncertain about what is going to happen, but it is absolutely terrifying for those involved.
Watching the war unfold is awful, but there is also evidence of not only of great human courage, but also of great human kindness on our TV screens as well. I’m struck at the moment, by how good and evil seem to co-exist in us. Human beings are capable of doing very bad things - and are capable of doing very good things.
One of the news stories which caught my attention this week, was about what is happening in Berlin Station - and other places. Berlin is situated of course, in the east of Germany, being the old East German capital city, of course. And just east of Germany is Poland, POLAND. Poland borders Ukraine and it is through Poland that many of the refugees from the war - that’s REFUGEES, meaning people trying to find ‘refuge’ or safety, people fleeing the war, they’re escaping and making a journey west.
The situation is that Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 years old must stay behind to fight the war - it’s illegal for them to leave, while the women and children have to make a long journey to safety, without knowing where they’re going to end up. There are also amongst the refugees many international students, who were at universities and colleges in Ukraine, many from India, Morocco and Nigeria. It’s estimated that around 100,000 refugees a day are crossing the border from western Ukraine into Poland, many of them on foot. And the Polish people by and large are welcoming them.
These refugees are people who not many days ago had normal lives, jobs and professions, friends, children in school, pets, cars, a good standard of living. And they’ve been hiding out in basements, listening to bombs, shells and rockets overhead. Then there’s the painful separation of the families.
The men must stay and fight - and the women and children must make the dangerous journey to safety, looking out for shells and without knowing where they’re going to end up. More than 1.5 million people are estimated to have crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland, trying to reach safety. Reception centres for refugees have been springing up in Poland. They include medical facilities, nappy changing places, food, donated clothes, medicines and a place to sleep. Once the Ukrainian refugees have recovered a little from their journey and perhaps decided what direction they want to travel in next, Polish volunteers provide transport for them.
Some Ukrainians have relatives in other countries that they hope to join. Others don’t, but have ideas of which country they want to go to. Although Poland has a mixed history with refugees, there’s believed to be 90% backing for the government decision to accept Ukrainian refugees. But the refugees are received mainly by Polish volunteers and many Poles are opening up their homes to take in refugee families. A bill was passed recently to enable refugees to stay in Poland for up to 18 months.
Then many of the refugees travel west and take trains from Poland to Germany, arriving in Berlin station. Trains are arriving from Poland, sometimes with nearly a thousand people on board, mainly escaping mothers and their children. They’re greeted at the station in Berlin by German volunteers in orange and yellow vests.
The yellow vests are for volunteers who speak German, English and other languages, the orange vests are for those who speak Ukrainian or Russian. The refugees are guided through to the basement of the station, where they can be processed - so smoothly that the usual operation of Berlin station for normal business, non-refugee travellers - well that’s barely disrupted.
A photograph of a refugee banner. Let's improve our English listening skills and increase our understanding of kindness, compassion and the goodness in others!
Germany doesn’t require visas for Ukrainians. And again, like in Poland, where governments have been slow to act, it’s volunteers who’ve stepped in. Again in the station basement at Berlin, next to McDonalds, there’s a whole area where refugees can get food, hot drinks, medicines, nappies, sanitary towels and there are places to charge your mobile phone. This is really important for keeping contact with those left behind and relatives in other countries.
There’s also medical attention, a COVID testing centre, a children’s play area full of toys, donated clothing, blankets and even pet food as many Ukrainians are arriving with their cats and dogs. For those who have a clear destination in mind, train tickets onwards from the Berlin main station, the Hauptbahnhof, are issued for free to people from Ukraine. And for Ukrainians who don’t have anywhere to go, Germans would previously stand with signs, showing pictures to indicate how many refugee women and children they are able to accommodate in their homes.
The pictures showed what age child they were able to take or how many children. But, those acts of generosity have had to stop because apparently - and there’s more evil here - there were men, who pretended to offer homes, to offer shelter but who then went on to sexually assault or exploit the women. And there were suspicions that there might be people traffickers amongst them. They’re evil people anyway, so I suppose what surprise that they would take advantage of refugees? I include a link to an article in the Times Free Press, if you want to read more about this.
In the UK, somewhat further away from Ukraine, the situation is a little different. The British government has set up a scheme where they will pay people to take Ukrainian refugees into their homes for six months or more, but this scheme isn’t yet operating at any practical level.
So far around 80,000 people have volunteered, have come forward. So it’s clear that British people want to help too. But they’re awaiting instructions on how to proceed, which is disappointing as the Ukrainians need help now. And there is a visa process in the UK and the government has been criticized for the delays which this has introduced.
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Information about how and where to attend visa appointments has been misleading and disorganized and there are nowhere near enough visa appointments available. The intention now is to set up a visa processing centre in Lille in France.
I guess the intention being that refugees could then be brought to the UK on trains that operate from Lille through the Eurotunnel, straight through to London. Hopefully that will happen soon. At least the UK has extended the visas of Ukrainians who are already in our country and set up a Family Scheme for people with relatives already here.
It feels important at the moment, when we’re watching this war, this crisis unfold to notice that although there is clearly evil in the world and evil people, there are really terrible things happening at the moment - there is a lot of good too!
People who act with compassion and generosity. And great courage and bravery is evident in the Ukrainian people in the face of an invading force.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com
- Ukrainian refugee crisis in Poland
- Welcome to Germany
- UK response to Ukraine refugee crisis
- A list of active conflicts or wars in the world 2022
- Concern grows over traffickers
- UK homes for Ukraine refugees scheme
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