Episode Notes and Transcript

In this episode, I interview Ivan Crespo, an ESL pronunciation and communication teacher and Ph.D. student in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. In this episode, Ivan shares some differences he has noticed between American culture and Brazilian culture.  He also shares the most common idioms and expressions he hears Americans using on campus and we discuss the academic lifestyle and some fascinating aspects of American culture and language in the Midwest. You can find Ivan on LinkedIn and learn more about the Intensive English Institute at Urbana-Champaign
Intensive English Institute

 

 

0:06

Welcome to the American Slang podcast where we will explore language and culture in different regions of the United States. Slang is a type of informal language that’s typically spoken in a certain area or by a group of people.

Culture is dynamic. Language is dynamic. And in this podcast, we will explore the connections between them and the way new words and expressions emerge in different places in America.

0:39

In this episode, I interview Ivan Crespo an ESL pronunciation and communication teacher and phd student in curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois urbana-champaign.

0:52

In this episode, Ivan shares some differences he’s noticed between American culture and Brazilian culture.

He also shares the most common idioms and expressions he hears Americans using on campus and we discuss the academic lifestyle and some fascinating aspects of American culture and language in the Midwest.

Also, I wanted to let you know that I’m leading a webinar entitled mastering small talk, effective communication in the first two minutes of conversation on Saturday, February 3rd at 8 a.m. Los Angeles time.

The webinar is designed to help you understand some important aspects of body language in American culture and great questions. Compliments and idioms to use to get the conversation rolling and off to a great start so that you can strengthen your friendships and working relationships with people in the USA. You can sign up for the webinar on my website under the events and workshops tab without further ado, I am so excited. you are listening to the podcast today. Let’s hear it from Ivan Crespo.

1:59

OK.

2:01

I just want to thank you for being on the podcast just because I know we’ve been trying to connect for a couple of years, but I’m so excited about your perspective.Yes, because I know that you’re originally from, I’ll say with my gringa accent, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but you’ve been living in Illinois for maybe more than two years now, right?

Or a couple of years?


2:24

Yeah.

2:24

Yeah.

2:25

This is my third year here.

2:26

Exactly.

2:27

So, you’re getting your phd in the Department of Linguistics, right?

2:31

At the University of Illinois.

2:33

Yeah.

2:33

No, actually, no, no, actually now I’m in the Department of Education.

2:39

I got, yeah, I got my MA in the Department of Linguistics and now I’m in Curriculum & Instruction.

2:48

Oh, neat.

2:49

Oh, fantastic.

2:51

Yeah, I kinda changed the department.

2:55

k.

2:57

Well, I, I’m really wanting to talk to you about, like, culture shock or language there.

3:02

So, idioms expression you heard.

3:05

So, anyway, I’m curious about, just, well, first of all, tell us about your work.

3:11

Are you teaching?

3:12

Are you a T.A.?

3:12

Are you teaching undergrad?

3:16

Yeah.

3:17

No, actually, I teach pronunciation and listening, speaking at intensive English Institute.

3:24

So it’s, yeah, it’s not necessarily for undergrads.

3:29

So we also have undergrads but also have like people that, you know, they, they are applying to grad school or applying to college.

3:38

So, yeah, it’s not exactly for undergrads.

3:43

Wow, you must love your job so much.

3:45

It’s so much fun.

3:47

I like it a lot when I was admitted to Illinois.

3:51

I had two choices.

3:53

My first choice was to teach ESL in the ESL program because the university also offers ESL or teaching English also ESL too.

4:06

But I mean, for the ESL program, those are very weird nomenclatures.

4:11

But the ESL program, it’s more for undergrads or grad students, people that apply to the university but because you need to have like a score like to be admitted to the university.

4:25

If you score under that limit, you have to take courses.

4:29

Yes.

4:30

L courses here.

4:31

OK.

4:31

So like the TOEFL exam or something.

4:33

Yeah, exactly.

4:34

Exactly.

4:35

So, I, I don’t know.

4:36

Exactly.

4:36

But like, I think you have to score like 100 points.

4:40

Yeah.

4:40

Or something like that.

4:43

Yeah.

4:44

Yes, it is.

4:45

So if you score less than that even so you can be admitted to the university but you have to to take those courses and those are right courses and pronunciation courses.

5:01

Yeah.

5:01

No, no, actually, no, no.

5:03

I don’t teach this because this is what I was saying.

5:06

when I was admitted to the university, I had two choices.

5:09

I could teach those ESL academic courses or I could teach also ESL, but in the intensive English Institute and that was basically what I did before, what I’ve done my entire life.

5:24

So, yeah, I thought it would be better.

5:26

And also because I like, you know, I focus on communication.

5:30

I’ve always done that.

5:32

I’ve always focused on communication.

5:33

So I’m not so, you know, into teaching and writing and reading.

5:41

I, I know I have to write, you know, as a grad student I have to write, I have to read but I don’t like the, those things.

5:49

Like if it’s part of, you know, because we have to teach the four skills.

5:53

Like, no, no, no.

5:54

Traditional model, not traditional English courses.

5:58

So if I have to teach those things, OK.

6:01

But if I can choose, I guess I’m going to choose something more related to communication.

6:06

Yeah, because it’s such an important skill, right?

6:09

Fluency, speaking communication.

6:11

It’s like such an essential way of, I don’t know, just, it’s everything, it’s got kind of the foundation, isn’t it?

6:17

And the hardest, the hardest skill.

6:19

Yeah.

6:20

Yeah, I agree with you at the I, I, they have a specific listening speaking classes, pronunciation classes, reading, writing classes, grammar classes.

6:30

So, yeah, like you don’t have to teach all the skills like Yeah.

6:36

Like you can specialize, like you’ve done association and so forth and well, tell us a little bit about, you know, life, university life because I know there a campus culture, there’s so many things going on with the university life and I’m just wondering if there were some things that you experienced or words that you heard a lot when you were on campus or, you know, things you noticed about the university cultural life that you want to share with us.

7:01

Oh yeah, there are so many things to share.

7:03

So first about culture here, I guess because Illinois is a big university.

7:10

So you have people here from all over the world.

7:14

So it’s not like you come to Chamba we call because have you ever been here?

7:21

I mean, yeah, cause I’m from Iowa.

7:22

So we would always go to Illinois Champaign.

7:24

I don’t know, I don’t know if I’ve really, but I’ve been to Illinois so many times, you know, because, yeah, because Champaign and Urbana are neighboring cities.

7:34

So actually, yeah, so sometimes we don’t know if you are in Urban or Champaign.

7:40

It’s difficult, especially when people arrive here.

7:42

They don’t know for sure if they are in one city or in another because you know, it’s like the same city.

7:48

So we call them this union of two cities.

7:52

We call them Chamba.

7:54

So sometimes people say, oh I live in Chamba because it’s Champaign and Urbana.

7:59

Oh, interesting.

8:01

So, yeah, but it’s, it’s a very, like, it’s very international.

8:05

Yeah.

8:06

So you see, from all over, yes, from all over the world.

8:11

And, so in terms of culture, that’s interesting because, like, you can experience many different kinds of culture here because, like, you have Brazilians, you have Americas, you have Canadians, you have, people from India, you have people from Japan, from China, Taiwan.

8:29

So it’s like, yeah, you learn a lot about culture in general, like different cultures and it must be neat because you live in the university housing.

8:40

So then you probably get to know people from different parts of the world from, in that housing complex.

8:44

Right.

8:46

And here we have, I don’t know if you mentioned this before but I’m, I’m married so I’m here with my wife and my kids and at Illinois they have specific complexes for grad students with family and for undergrads.

9:02

I live in a complex for grads with family.

9:06

Oh, nice.

9:07

I actually, no, nowadays, you can also live there.

9:11

Yeah.

9:11

Like, I guess when they built the complex was more for grads with family.

9:17

So, yeah, I live at, at that place and it’s a very international place.

9:21

Like, yeah, you’ve probably gotten to know other families and build some relationships with.

9:26

Yes.

9:26

Yes.

9:27

, we made a lot of friends.

9:29

it’s great.

9:30

Like, it’s really good.

9:32

What a neat experience for your kids and for your family, one thing that I like, there are so many kids there.

9:39

So, so, yeah, my kids don’t feel alone because there are other people there and they can for them to play with and it’s also a beautiful complex but very simple.

9:51

Like, yeah, no luxury at all.

9:56

And I, I was wondering about, ok, I lived in Brazil for a long time too and when I came back to the University of Wisconsin, there was one thing that kind of shocked me, which was when you went into a classroom, no one would say anything.

10:08

Like it would be just like complete silence.

10:10

And so, and in Brazil, everyone would go in and you’d be like, oh, I the little ba to the ball, like everyone would be like, greeting you and like it was so warm and then in the Midwest it was like super shy, like everyone was so shy and so timid and so reserved and I was like, in shock, coming back to the Midwest, you know, because I’m originally from the Midwest.

10:29

But when you live out of the country for a while, did you find that at all about the Midwest, like reserved or shy or compared to the Brazilian compared to the Brazilians.

10:40

But there’s one thing like if you are Brazilian and when you arrive in a place and people, you know, people are not talking, you kind of start talking and so you are the person who starts talking.

10:52

So, yeah, there’s this thing too.

10:54

But I guess I, I don’t feel that much because, because I always start the conversations.

10:59

I’m glad I’m very talkative.

11:00

So, you’re like the icebreaker?

11:02

Yeah.

11:03

Yeah, I’m always breaking the ice.

11:07

Ok.

11:08

But,, you asked me about expressions that I hear here, right?

11:13

Like videos or expressions on campus or in Illinois, you know?

11:20

Ok.

11:20

I took some notes.

11:21

Actually, I have to sit at my desk here.

11:24

There is a mess.

11:25

You’re a linguist.

11:26

I mean, you study language.

11:27

So it makes sense to take notes about language, you know?

11:31

Yeah.

11:31

Yeah.

11:31

Sure.

11:32

The idioms that I hear here, they’re not like new idioms or things that are like that people normally say.

11:40

, so I guess, and I was, I started, since you invited me, I started thinking about it.

11:48

I don’t think I’m a person who speaks a lot of, slang words, for example, I don’t, but I guess I use more idioms than huh.

12:00

huh.

12:00

Because idioms are kind of fun and playful.

12:02

Like, oh, it’s reading cats and dogs, it’s just kind of playful, right?

12:06

It’s like, yeah, exactly.

12:08

So, I try to remember what people say here.

12:13

They say some very basic things like break a leg.

12:17

So like, yeah, my, you know, my classmates sometimes say this but this is not new.

12:23

Everyone knows and they say this before you would go into a classroom just to wish you good luck.

12:28

Is that?

12:29

Yeah.

12:30

Yeah.

12:30

Yeah.

12:30

Like,, before you, before a conference, before, before a presentation, I guess it’s a way of wishing you good luck.

12:40

Yeah.

12:40

Yeah.

12:41

Yes.

12:41

Break a leg.

12:42

Yeah.

12:42

People say that another thing that people say is,, give the cold shoulder.

12:49

Oh, yeah.

12:49

Yeah.

12:49

Yeah.

12:50

Like if someone, meaning, like, if someone just, you want someone, you know?

12:56

So, so she gave me the cold shoulder.

13:00

That’s a good expression.

13:01

Speak of the devil also say here it is kind of, yeah, I guess we even have a similar expression in Portuguese.

13:10

I was trying to remember,, I guess it was “Falando..” something about it.

13:14

But yeah, speaking of the devil.

13:17

Yeah, which, which means like you’re talking about someone, right?

13:19

And then they show up and you’re like, oh, speaking of the devil, it doesn’t necessarily, it’s not a negative thing.

13:27

Like, I mean, it’s just funny because it’s like coincidental, like I was just talking about this person and now they’re there, right?

13:33

Yeah.

13:34

Yeah.

13:34

You know, it’s not bad.

13:35

It’s not bad.

13:36

It’s just, oh yeah, I was talking about this person and the person arrives.

13:41

It’s, yeah.

13:42

Yeah.

13:42

, we also say, I don’t know, like this is for me, this is not even like an idiom, like, because this is what I, I normally say under the weather a bit under the weather today.

13:54

So I don’t feel like going to campus.

13:59

Yeah.

14:00

And then, and then people say, oh, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re feeling under the weather.

14:05

So, it’s like a, yeah, because sometimes when I, when I say, when I speak idioms, I kind of notice as an English teacher, I kind of noticed that I’m, you know, that I’m using idioms and sometimes kind of feels like it, it’s not natural, it’s more because I’m an English teacher and I, I kind of teach those things.

14:25

So then this is why I use them.

14:27

But it’s not for under the weather, under the weather is something that, for me it’s like a normal language.

14:33

It’s not a, kind of sounds better if you say it, then I’m sick, you know, because I don’t know.

14:38

It just, yeah, it’s like I’m under the weather.

14:40

Yeah.

14:41

It’s kind of like a way of softening the language a little bit.

14:44

You’re not just direct, it’s not so direct, you know.

14:47

Yeah.

14:48

Yeah, I guess so.

14:49

You, you, you didn’t attend the meeting?

14:51

Oh, yeah.

14:52

I was sick.

14:53

I was feeling a bit under the weather.

14:55

It’s better.

14:56

Right.

14:57

Yeah.

14:58

Take a rain check.

15:00

Oh.

15:00

Right.

15:00

Can you, yeah, contextualize that.

15:03

Yeah, for example, would you like to study today?

15:06

, sometimes we, yeah, because like, we, we have,, whatsapp group now.

15:11

We have a whatsapp group.

15:12

We also have to talk about whatsapp.

15:14

We can talk about it later but we have a whatsapp.

15:17

Group and,, sometimes people invite us to prepare presentations and sometimes we just say, can we take a rain check and do it next week because, you know, we have so many things to do and we don’t want to do that thing at that moment.

15:31

So we say, can we take a rain check?

15:33

So that means that like, I want to reschedule the

15:37

Yeah.

15:37

Yeah, I guess it’s a, I guess this is a very good, I, and,, it’s something that people say a lot here in the US.

15:45

Did, did you hear you hear GPA though?

15:48

Right?

15:48

Yeah.

15:49

GPA.

15:49

Yeah, I don’t because GPA, it’s part of our vocabulary.

15:53

It’s like,, it’s a term that we use every day.

15:56

So GPA is like your grade, you know,, it’s the total of your grades.

16:02

So, yeah, we use GPA a lot and some people care a lot about GPA.

16:07

I know.

16:08

Yeah.

16:08

I don’t care about GPA anymore as a phd student.

16:12

It doesn’t matter.

16:13

Yeah.

16:14

Yeah, I won’t do anything else after this.

16:16

Like, this is the last thing.

16:18

, but, yeah, I guess I cared more about it when I was doing my masters.

16:23

Mhm.

16:24

Mhm.

16:24

Yeah, because then maybe you needed a high GPA which is to get into a program for your phd or something.

16:31

Yeah.

16:31

Yeah, we have, we have to have like, a minimum GPA here because you have to, you have to have at least, yes.

16:39

Yes, because it goes from zero.

16:42

I’m not sure.

16:43

Not sure because nobody gets a zero but from 0 to 4.

16:47

So, yeah, and like a 2.5 would be low.

16:50

A three is an average of four is like, excellent.

16:53

Yeah, the American grading system, I was wondering, well, about freshman 15.

16:58

Have you ever heard of that?

16:59

Like, gaining weight?

17:00

Your first year on campus?

17:01

It’s like,, ok, just let me try to remember this.

17:05

I guess this is something that undergrad say.

17:09

I don’t, I don’t see a lot of grads speaking that, but I see a lot of undergrads.

17:13

I guess.

17:14

It’s like,, after your six months, one year here and you gain some weight and then you say,, this is, yeah.

17:24

Is that?

17:25

Yeah.

17:26

Yeah, because I was following like, your Instagram stories.

17:29

Sometimes you show food in the US and you’re like, whoa, if, if I hate like this every day I’ll be like a balloon after a year because there’s so much processed food and, yeah, food and so forth.

17:42

So, I guess I gained a lot of weight.

17:45

You do?

17:45

I think so.

17:46

I’m not checking anymore.

17:48

I’m not checking anymore.

17:50

But I want a diet now because, you know, after Thanksgiving, like, yeah, a lot of, you know, pumpkin pies and turkey probably put a lot of, and you, I see that you love going to the gym.

18:05

So that’s what I was going to ask you about because the oftentimes on there’s amazing gyms, there’s a great workout facilities.

18:11

And I was wondering if the gym is always packed or if it’s dead most of the time when you go, or what’s the situation?

18:18

, it’s mostly packed.

18:20

Yeah, the university has two big gyms and,, I go to the, to the bigger one.

18:27

, it’s a very good complex.

18:30

I usually, when I go there there are a lot of people.

18:33

It’s usually packed.

18:34

It’s like a great pastime on campus.

18:36

Yeah.

18:37

You know, you know, great social thing to do.

18:39

Right.

18:39

Yeah.

18:40

Yeah.

18:40

And, you know, I have to go to the gym because, like, also I think I’m, I’m also like a balloon.

18:46

Like, if, if I don’t go to the gym, if I don’t exercise, I, I guess I’m gonna get fat and then just studying for a PhD could be pretty sedentary.

18:55

Right.

18:56

Yeah.

18:56

Exactly.

18:57

Yeah.

18:57

Yeah.

18:57

Yeah, it’s stressful.

18:59

Right.

18:59

, so that’s a good thing about going to the gym because it’s, it’s that time that the time you have to think about nothing because we are always concerned about a lot of things.

19:11

But when you go to the gym you kind of, you know, start thinking about nothing.

19:16

This is like you.

19:19

Yes.

19:20

Yes.

19:21

Exactly.

19:21

Exactly.

19:23

You can space out, zone out and just like, yeah, I love that you have a little bit of mental space to ponder whatever it is that you need to think about.

19:32

True.

19:33

True.

19:33

So, yeah, this is why I, I go to the gym but I can see that most people at the gym,, I mean, like, it can be just a false impression but I think, like,, undergrads go more to the gym than grad students.

19:49

And it makes sense.

19:50

Right.

19:50

Because, like, yeah, grad students are usually busier than undergrads.

19:55

But, yeah, like, it is, it is something that I have to do because, you know, my life is so stressful.

20:02

Like, I gotta do something.

20:04

Yeah, for you.

20:05

Like self care.

20:06

Yeah.

20:06

Exactly.

20:08

Yeah.

20:08

And, and it’s not much, it’s like, you know, like, it really depends.

20:13

But,, if I have a lot of time, well, then I would just spend there, like, from 1 to 2 hours.

20:20

But you, you know, you know, if it’s,, a week, like this week now because you’re doing your finals and,, preparing presentation and things like that.

20:28

So, 45 minutes would be enough.

20:31

Yeah.

20:32

Yeah.

20:33

But it just keeps you sane.

20:34

It keeps you kind of relaxed and everything like that.

20:38

Yeah.

20:38

I can completely understand how important it is.

20:40

Do you do the undergrads go as a social kind of time?

20:43

They talk, they chat or do you see everybody on their, wearing headphones and just in their own worlds?

20:50

Yeah.

20:51

They, they don’t talk a lot.

20:53

Yeah.

20:53

Nobody, nobody, not social anymore.

20:58

Yeah.

20:58

I don’t, I don’t think so.

21:00

Everyone is always listening to music and exercising, listening to music.

21:06

I have conversations sometimes, but mostly when I see my friends there because sometimes I see friends like classmates very rarely actually.

21:15

But I don’t see people talking a lot.

21:17

It would be great to have like a gym body.

21:20

But yeah, I, I guess maybe I wanted to ask you something.

21:23

This may surprise you because I didn’t tell you, I was gonna ask you this before.

21:27

But so much of American culture has to do with American football.

21:30

Now, personally I was never into sports.

21:32

Like, I never really enjoyed going to football games, but I know it’s a huge part of campus life.

21:37

I was wondering if you’ve ever been to an American football game?

21:39

Oh, yeah.

21:40

When I arrived here I went, like, but I, I couldn’t understand, like,, but it was not my first time.

21:48

I also went when I was a child.

21:51

So I went to, to one of the games in Connecticut.

21:55

I’ve never understood anything about food.

21:58

Yeah.

21:58

It, it seems so funny.

21:59

Right.

21:59

They just, like, tackle each other.

22:02

Yeah.

22:02

Yeah, I know.

22:04

But it was fun anyway.

22:05

So, yeah, it was cool.

22:07

I think it’s kind of like everyone’s cheering and clapping and it’s a thing and, I mean, yeah.

22:13

Sure.

22:14

And I see a lot of people go to those games but just because it’s fun and because everyone goes so they go a huge phenomenon.

22:23

I don’t understand cultural life.

22:25

Yes, it is.

22:27

And,, for a lot of things, like, I kinda make an effort to, to learn but mostly about the things that I like that I’m interested in but maybe because I’m not so interested in football,, so maybe this is why I didn’t learn anything about it.

22:44

But it’s a, it’s a confusing game with, like,, sport and,, with a lot of rules and, yeah.

22:52

Yeah, it’s not easy to understand.

22:54

Yeah.

22:54

Yeah, it just doesn’t make much sense.

22:56

I never understood the rules either.

23:00

You’re not alone, you’re not alone.

23:04

Extremely confusing.

23:06

But anyway, and I was also wondering if there was anything that kind of surprised you about university life or that kind of any kind of culture shock you experience.

23:14

I know you’ve been coming to this for a long for like your whole life.

23:17

So like you were saying this wasn’t just like the first time.

23:20

Yeah, it wasn’t my first time.

23:22

So people talk a lot about culture shock.

23:24

But yeah, I didn’t have culture shock because, you know, I lived here before different times.

23:31

So, but your family members experience it like your wife.

23:35

No, no, no, no, because no, no.

23:38

My kids were always here.

23:40

It was not their first time either.

23:43

We were always, you know, we were all like bi culture, like a bicultural family.

23:47

Yeah.

23:47

No, we were always spending our vacations here even before moving to Illinois.

23:53

So we were always, you know,, spend our vacations in Chicago, New York.

23:59

So,, yeah, they really, my, my kids and also my, my wife, they really feel like home here.

24:06

Yeah, that’s what I was wondering if this is like, your new home or do you always think you’ll be between the two countries?

24:11

Hm.

24:12

Yeah, here’s my home.

24:14

As much as Brazil is my home.

24:16

So, yeah, I don’t feel differently just because I’m here and think like, oh, I’m not from here because a lot of people have this feeling, you know, they say, oh, no.

24:26

You know, I feel like,, I, I’ll always be an international person that I don’t feel like that.

24:33

I really feel like home here.

24:34

So, like in out you don’t feel like an outsider, you feel like you belong?

24:38

No.

24:38

Yes.

24:39

Yes.

24:41

So, yeah.

24:42

But about cultural differences, not shock for me.

24:47

But the differences, one of the things I also took notes here.

24:51

one of the things, drinking tap water.

24:55

Yeah, we don’t do that in Brazil now.

24:58

I got used to it when I was a child.

25:00

I don’t remember, but of course I got used to it but in Brazil people don’t do that, don’t drink tap water.

25:08

So it’s always filtered,, or mineral bottled water water.

25:14

So, it is strange for me.

25:16

, because you offer, offer it to you in restaurants, they’ll say, do you want a glass of water?

25:21

They have tap water for, with meals.

25:23

Do you drink tap water?

25:25

Oh, yeah.

25:26

Yeah.

25:26

Yeah.

25:27

It is really good quality here.

25:29

But we would sometimes filter it in Iowa.

25:34

You know, sometimes you would get a filter.

25:36

No, in Iowa.

25:38

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

25:39

But in Spain, in Spain where I live now.

25:42

Yeah, we drink tap water.

25:44

Oh, that’s cool.

25:45

Yeah.

25:45

And also the taste, the taste, the taste, the taste was odd.

25:49

Yeah, the taste was odd but yeah, I got used to it.

25:54

Another thing that is weird but I think I also got used to it is texting instead of whatsapping, I guess maybe because whatsapp is so big in Brazil and everyone’s always whatsapping.

26:10

Oh, there’s one more thing that I didn’t add here to my list but yeah, about making appointments.

26:15

We can talk about it.

26:17

So texting because people here in the US, they use text messages in Brazil.

26:23

No, people use whatsapp and because we think that whatsapp is more practical.

26:28

I don’t know.

26:29

Yeah, but I also think it’s included like the text messaging is included in people’s plans in and that’s why it’s free for everybody in the US and I think whatsapp is free for everybody else in the rest of the world.

26:42

Yeah.

26:43

Yeah.

26:43

So people say, oh, why should I whatsapp?

26:47

If, if I can text?

26:49

Ok.

26:50

OK.

26:51

You want a text?

26:51

So yeah, it was difficult for me when I, I moved here.

26:55

Another thing that was very weird, like in Brazil, usually have your, your dentist is your doctors up on your whatsapp?

27:08

So you can talk to your doctors?

27:10

Oh, interesting.

27:11

Yeah.

27:11

Here you, you can’t talk to people like that.

27:14

Like, you don’t talk to your doctors.

27:15

You, a dentist?

27:16

You, you don’t.

27:17

So if,, if you have something in the middle of the night you have to wait to the next day because you can’t call your doctor.

27:28

I mean, at least my doctor, I can’t call her but you could, in Brazil you could call your doctor and any time because, you know, if you got sick they wouldn’t be your doctor.

27:40

Yes.

27:41

But yes.

27:42

But because, yeah, this is a, this is a difference in culture, I guess because in Brazil doctors think that’s part of their job, you know?

27:53

Yeah, because if people get sick, you know, they have to talk to a doctor, they have to take medication or something.

28:01

so, yeah, you can call your doctor in Brazil and here.

28:03

No, the only thing interesting.

28:05

Maybe it’s cultural too because they like community or in Brazil.

28:10

Yeah.

28:10

Yeah.

28:11

Maybe I felt like there was more of like a, we mentality in Brazil, like we, the community rather than in the US.

28:16

It’s like, I, yeah, maybe more in the individualistic, I guess something that you can do here in the US is like, if you’re feeling something you can go to the hospital.

28:27

So that’s, that’s the only thing you can do because you cannot call your doctor.

28:31

So you have to go to the hospital.

28:33

And another thing in Brazil, it’s very easy to make appointments in US.

28:39

Like you can do everything online.

28:41

In Brazil, you can schedule everything online and I don’t think this is something that happens all over the country, all over the US.

28:49

But here if you have to schedule something, you have to call them.

28:54

So it’s not so practical.

28:56

Like you want to schedule an appointment, you have to call someone.

28:59

Like why?

29:00

Like sometimes, yeah, sometimes you start your appointment online and then you, and then you add your information and at the end they say ok, and now to complete your appointment, please make a call.

29:16

This is, it doesn’t make much sense, right?

29:19

It must drive you crazy.

29:21

Yeah.

29:21

Yeah, this is also, yeah, this is something but I don’t think it’s everywhere.

29:26

Like at least here usually you have to call them to make an appointment.

29:32

And the last thing that I wrote here is eating while no working while eating.

29:39

That is a phenomenon in the US culture, isn’t it?

29:43

Yeah, I remember one of the, the meetings we had at the IEI, and it was like a special, it was a special day.

29:52

We call, we call it retreat.

29:54

So we always have a retreat at the end of the year where, by the way we have a retreat next week.

30:00

Oh, so you get together with teachers you go to, yeah.

30:04

Do community building activities and, yeah.

30:06

Yeah.

30:07

I love retreats.

30:08

Yeah.

30:08

Even in the morning I have like, a talk, this year is going to be about artificial intelligence.

30:17

Oh, gosh, of course, the old day topic that matters anymore.

30:21

Yeah.

30:22

Yeah.

30:22

Then they talk about, after that they would talk about different stuff like budget and things like that.

30:28

Understood why we have to hear about those things anyways.

30:31

, but I remember once while we ate our lunch we had to grade essays.

30:37

He was like, are you kidding me?

30:39

So,, I’m eating my lunch and I have to grade essays.

30:42

This is for a Brazilian.

30:44

This is something, no, it’s something that cannot happen, you know, it’s something.

30:49

Yeah, you can’t work while you eat something.

30:53

Even though, like, may, maybe things are changing.

30:55

Brazil.

30:56

Like three years is like a lot of time.

30:59

I guess.

30:59

It’s,, well, I, I doubt it though.

31:02

I think even in Spain, like, the meal is sacred.

31:04

Like, it’s for socializing.

31:05

It’s just to be with family.

31:07

It’s just talk to people.

31:08

Right.

31:09

Exactly.

31:10

It’s not a time for you to work because I had a friend from Portland visiting me and I was like, so tell me about your routine and she’s confessed that both her and her husband eat while working at the computer, they both eat lunch every single day and I was like, what do you eat while working at the computer?

31:29

I think I’ve been living out of the United States too long because I don’t think this is healthy as that.

31:35

Yeah.

31:35

I don’t even think this is healthy because when you eat, you have to focus on your meal, on the action of eating, you know, not have distractions.

31:46

Yeah, because even like when, when you are distracted by something you kind of eat more because you don’t know how much you’re eating.

31:54

Right?

31:56

Question for you during that retreat.

31:58

Did you say anything?

31:59

Like, oh, we’re gonna eat and work or did you not say anything?

32:03

No, no, no, I didn’t say no, no, no, no.

32:06

Because, yeah.

32:07

Yeah, I would, you could, you could kind of write it down in your little notebook.

32:11

OK.

32:12

Note about American culture.

32:14

Yeah.

32:15

Yeah.

32:15

Sure.

32:16

I hope my boss doesn’t watch this podcast video or listen to your podcast because, but it’s, it’s really normal for her, you know?

32:28

Yeah.

32:28

Ok.

32:29

Let’s do something and, and we have nothing sometimes because they schedule, lunch and we have nothing to do and then she comes up with something to do, like, play a game or, you know, have a conversation about topics and she writes the topics on the board.

32:49

Ok.

32:49

So during the, our lunch we’re going to talk about those topics.

32:56

Yeah.

32:56

Or playing a game.

32:58

What was the game?

33:00

It was, the last one was, two truths, one lie.

33:05

Yeah.

33:06

Oh, ok.

33:07

Oh, I like this game, you know, it’s a, it’s a great game for the first day of class.

33:13

Right.

33:15

I don’t, I don’t think it’s a good game for a retreat while you eat your lunch.

33:19

I think it’s like the American mentality that you have to be productive.

33:23

Everything has to have a purpose and it’s like this productivity kind of lunch or something.

33:27

It’s, it’s, you know, we have an idiom for this, right.

33:32

That time.

33:32

Money. Oh, yeah, because, you know, you’re here and you’re getting paid.

33:39

So let’s do something productive.

33:43

That’s really interesting.

33:45

And so you must kind of miss those meals in Brazil a little bit.

33:51

You probably like, oh, yeah, I miss those big family meals because in Spain, the meal lasts so long on the weekends.

33:58

For example, we have like hours and hours and hours around the table.

34:01

Then dessert comes and then, you know.

34:04

Yeah, I think Spanish culture is very similar to Brazilian culture.

34:09

Yeah, because they’re all Latin countries.

34:12

Right.

34:12

Exactly.

34:14

But Americans, I remember, like, it’s really rushed like you eat and it’s like, really short.

The meal is so short and I remember feeling shocked about it every time I go home, just like, whoa, people eat so fast, they eat so fast.


Sometimes they eat a lot but they don’t even realize that they don’t notice because, like, they are doing all their stuff, they are texting, they are watching videos or whatever and they don’t pay attention to their meals.

34:40

Like, I see a lot of people, a lot of my friends buy pizzas but like the whole pie, the whole pie just for them.

34:49

It’s so this is on a Tuesday.

34:53

So, yeah, because, like, I, I usually, I usually eat the salads on weekdays and, because II, I eat all of those good delicious food,, over the weekend.

35:07

So,, yeah, during the week I kinda, you know, eat something lighter.

35:12

, but I, I see, I see my friends eating pizzas and hot dogs and things like that.

35:19

It’s like a constant battle because you see all that stuff and then you have to make the choices.

35:23

Right.

35:24

It’s like a constant battle.

35:25

The temptation I think is always there.

35:28

Yeah.

35:28

And I like the food here.

35:30

Like, I mean, I got used to it because,, I think the food in Brazil tastes better than, yeah, I don’t even know how to fruit.

35:40

The fruit is so fresh in Brazil.

35:42

Yeah, a banana in Brazil was so much better taste so much better than the banana here.

35:50

I don’t understand why I think because it’s picked right off the tree rather than it’s imported from such a long, from such a far country, you know, Illinois.

36:00

Right.

36:01

Yeah.

36:01

Sure.

36:02

Because, yeah, the bananas here come from Central America.

36:06

Exactly.

36:07

Yeah.

36:08

All the transportation, all that time that they’re in the trucks, I think.

36:11

Yeah, exactly.

36:13

Exactly.

36:14

The, the food in Brazil is better than the food here.

36:17

But I, but I got used to the food here and I, I really like eating junk food for me, for me, for me.

36:24

It’s good.

36:25

But I can’t, so I make an effort not to eat those things because I don’t wanna, you know, I don’t wanna explode.

36:31

Yeah.

36:34

It’s complicated because I gain weight very easily.

36:38

And I have a question.

36:39

Ok.

36:40

So let’s say these words.

36:43

Ok.

36:43

Because, no, no, just the language words you can because I don’t speak slang words.

36:48

Yeah.

36:49

But I heard some.

36:50

Oh, yeah.

36:51

Ok.

36:51

Do you want to go, do you want to share some?

36:53

Yeah.

36:53

But,, if you want to talk about the thing that you want to do well, because a lot of people ask you like, oh, I want to move to the U si, want to do a university program.

37:01

Do you have any tips for them about, like, now navigating the American culture?

37:04

Just like, be observant or, or just, I don’t know.

37:07

So be polite.

37:09

I don’t know.

37:10

Like a firm handshake.

37:13

Yeah.

37:13

I guess it really depends on the country.

37:15

I don’t think in terms of culture, like Brazil and us are so different, I guess they are similar in several ways.

37:24

Of course they are different but they’re similar in several ways.

37:28

, the religions, the, or habits.

37:33

So it’s kind of the same thing.

37:35

, but I guess if you are from a very different culture, I guess it’s good, it’s good to learn some things about American culture because, like, sometimes, for example, with my students, I have some students that,, don’t look at my eyes.

37:57

Yeah.

37:58

Like the eye contact thing.

38:00

They don’t make eye contact, like,, in the classroom when I’m explaining something, when I’m teaching something, they kinda, instead of looking at me, they look at the roof, look at the ground but they don’t look at me, which is cultural, which is what they’ve been taught in their culture, right?

38:17

To look.

38:19

Yeah.

38:19

Yeah, exactly.

38:21

Exactly.

38:22

And so I also learned a lot about their culture and I try to avoid a few things, you know, I think if you’re coming to the US, you should learn more about American culture before you arrive here.

38:37

I see.

38:38

Yeah.

38:38

So you feel better prepared, like, yeah, because, yeah, that’s a really good t, yeah, like take a course or somehow read about it or?

38:47

Yeah, like I a crash course.

38:50

American culture.

38:52

It also helps a lot to watch, you know, videos, like movies, things like that because, yeah, although movies are not always real, like you think like, yeah, your, your life here as a college student is gonna be like to see a movies.

39:09

It’s not exactly like that.

39:11

Not so crazy.

39:12

I guess, like, what people do in movies is what they wanted to do here in real life.

39:18

But it’s not exactly like that.

39:20

But, yeah, even so, even when you watch movies you can, you can learn from that.

39:24

Yeah.

39:25

Yeah, that’s true.

39:26

Sit films or Netflix series.

39:28

Exactly.

39:29

Exactly.

39:30

Exactly.

39:30

I think, yeah, learning about American culture is very, very important.

39:35

, and also here, like, take all the, the opportunities that the university offers because like we have here Is it the departments called I triple S?

39:47

It’s international scholar something but it’s for international students and they offer workshops and things about American culture.

39:58

So people can, you know, get used to American culture.

40:01

I think when people move here, they should really take all those opportunities to learn more about culture because that makes a huge difference, their life, just awareness and understanding sympathy or empathy, all those things.

40:18

Yeah.

40:19

And another thing that I think that people should do is to study English.

40:26

That’s very important, especially if they can study pronunciation before they move here because it’s so frustrating when people say things and other people can’t understand.

40:40

And of course, you can always repeat, but sometimes you are repeating something that you’re, you’re pretty sure you spoke correctly.

40:47

But even so people are, can you say that again?

40:50

And OK, there is no problem, you can always repeat but it’s better if you can, you know, if you can prove your pronunciation.

40:57

So,, the communication happens in an easier way.

41:02

So I completely agree with you.

41:04

And, ok, so tell us a few slang words that you’ve heard.

41:08

Oh, yeah.

41:08

Yeah.

41:09

Words that I have here.

41:10

The first one is “Fam”, like the fam, like, I’m gonna spend time with the fam, on the weekend.

41:16

Like the family.

41:17

It’s like a family.

41:18

Yeah.

41:18

Yeah.

41:19

Yeah, I have, yeah.

41:20

Go home with the family.

41:23

Yeah, I have a couple friends girl that they always say,I was with my family.

41:28

, I’m going to spend time with my fam instead of family, but always fam, fam, fam.

41:35

They’re all, they’re not, actually, they’re not friends.

41:38

They are students, the department of linguistics.

41:43

I don’t teach them but I know that because,, in the meteo we, we usually, I don’t know if it happened to you, like, when you were doing your grad school here.

41:56

But in the MAO, we also take classes with undergrads.

42:02

So in my, in my,, in my classes there were always a lot of Americans.

42:08

, so those girls are American.

42:12

So,, yeah, they say a lot, a lot.

42:16

Yeah.

42:17

Yeah.

42:19

Yeah.

42:20

, another thing that I hear sometimes is a bussin’.

42:27

No.

42:27

What does that mean?

42:28

,, this is, this is a slang word that people used to talk about food when the food is really good.

42:39

They say, oh, this is bussin’.

42:41

Oh, this bus is bussin’.

42:44

Oh, interesting.

42:44

Yeah, that must be a new one.

42:46

I, I love it.

42:47

The word bus, is it bus B us si NG or something?

42:52

No, no, no.

42:52

G just, oh, I guess, I guess.

42:55

Yeah, it should be with G, right?

42:58

But they kind of contract it to make it shorter.

43:01

Yeah.

43:03

Yeah, this is bussin’.

43:05

It’s those cookies are bussin’.

43:08

My next slang word is extra, extra and I can say extra is pretty common here in Illinois.

43:16

Extra means over the top trying too hard.

43:20

Someone who’s exaggerated, for example, she’s so extra with her reaction to a simple joke.

43:28

She’s so extra with her reaction to a simple joke.

43:32

So extra.

43:34

Yeah, that’s really interesting.

43:35

The way you’re highlighting how extra is being used more in slang in everyday conversations because I’ve always heard it like extra large.

43:43

It’s extra delicious or wow, you look extra pretty today.

43:48

But the way you’re describing it is more of just like extra alone on its own like extra, which really reminds me of how our language is becoming shortened and words are shortened, which reminds me of text messages.

44:02

I remember in the slang episode with Helen about internet slang and we were debating whether or not it was a good thing that language is becoming so shortened and modified.

44:11

So this word extra reminds me of that.

44:14

It’s short, it’s sweet.

44:15

It’s fun.

44:16

I like it but it is awfully kind of alone.

44:20

It just kind of stands alone.

44:21

The next sl word is hits where it hits different.

44:26

, and people say it’s different to say something is better.

44:32

So they say something like, oh, this song hits where this song hits different.

44:38

This song is better is better than other songs.

44:43

The song hits.

44:44

Yeah, I really am interested in the way you’re saying hits.

44:47

This song hits is being used in slang.

44:50

I think there’s a lot of expression with hits in American English, like, like hit me up, which would be like, call me or text me or,, get in touch with me, you know.

45:00

So it’s not surprising that hit, like that song hits was created and it kind of morphed hit was morphed into a slang word like that about music because,, there’s so much creativity around the word hit and again, Americans really like these violent kind of words, like anything was shoot with hit.

45:19

I think we should have a whole episode on, like, slanging around the word hit because I know there’s a ton of words around hit and the last slang word is bet.

45:29

Bet.

45:30

I also hear bet a lot here.

45:32

Bet means yes.

45:34

So, do you wanna do this bet?

45:37

, do you wanna go to the gym

bet

45:42

Yes.

45:43

Again, this is really interesting as well.

45:45

And it’s not surprising that people are saying bet.

45:48

I think it might come from, you bet.

45:50

Like, ya, you bet which means of course.

45:53

And people probably just shortened it.

45:55

It may have morphed into just one word, bet meaning.

45:58

Yeah, I’m down, I’m down for that.

46:01

I think this has been such a rich conversation.

46:03

I’ve loved what everything you’ve said.

46:05

Oh, I’m glad you like the things that I said here.

46:08

Yeah.

46:08

It’s been really interesting to talk to you.

46:10

I think the listeners are going to really enjoy hearing from you.

46:14

Yeah, I didn’t say anything very sophisticated, just like normal stuff.

46:21

Very simple, but it was a good conversation anyways.

46:24

Thank you so much for sharing.

46:27

Thanks for having me.

46:28

Thanks for having me.

46:29

It was a huge pleasure.

46:31

And I’m so sorry because you invited me like, I don’t know one or you’re so, but I am, I can’t deny that.

46:40

Ok.

46:41

Thanks Ivan

46:41

Have a great day.

46:43

Yeah, you too.

46:44

Have a great day.

46:49

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast today.

46:53

I thoroughly enjoyed all of Ivan’s insights about American culture and about some of the things that he struggled with like drinking tap water or some things he didn’t understand.

47:03

Like having always to text message people rather than what’s up them or to call the doctor or the dentist rather than just making an appointment online or the value of working during lunch and making everything as productive as possible.

47:19

What I loved most was how he explained how idioms like I’m under the weather or break a leg among others are so commonly used in everyday conversation.

47:29

If you aren’t following Yvonne yet on social media, he always shares some interesting insights and posts and photos from life on campus and, and a little bit about the university system.

47:40

So I recommend following him also don’t forget to sign up for the webinar on conversation and communication on my website.

47:46

And if you sign up by January 31st, you can access an ebook on the topic of diving into culture, American culture and idioms.

47:54

So I would love it.

47:56

If you also follow the podcast and stayed up to date because the next episode is going to be on Alabama slang and culture.

48:05

So we’ll be traveling to the south of the United States and learning a little bit about the Southern accent, southern hospitality, southern cultural norms and some slang or some interesting tidbits about the South.

48:21

So I hope you’re excited about as I am about it.

48:24

All right.

48:25

Take care everybody.

48:26

I’ll see you next time.