Suggested Topics for Immersion Program
1) Invite New Friend over for Dinner
A new friend invites you to have dinner at his/her house tonight. Tell him/her that you are sorry, but you cannot make it; you will be working late. Tell him/her that you would love to come over another time and invite him/her to your house for dinner.
Host (Student): Tell him/her that he is welcome to come to your house, too; you will check with your family tonight to find out when might be a good day. Ask his/her preferences for wine and food. Then you are told he/she does not drink alcohol. You change your mind and think maybe it would be best for you to get together at a restaurant.
Guest (Instructor): Your friend is not able to come for dinner tonight because of work. But he would love to invite you to his place. He didn’t know you were vegetarian and were picky about food. Talk to him about this in a polite way and come up with the best solution.
2) Role-Play: I Locked the Keys in the Car
Don’t you just hate it when you do something really stupid? Well, it happens to the best of us. Only this time, someone else has noticed: someone who can give you a real headache.
Shopper (Student): You are out shopping. You’ve parked your car and are walking to the store when you realize that you’ve left your money back in the car. When you return to the car, you discover that you have locked our keys inside. While you are fidgeting with the lock, a policeman comes up behind you. He/she thinks you are attempting a break-in. Try and convince him/her that it is your car and that you have locked your keys inside by accident.
Officer (Instructor): You are a new, eager policeman, anxious to make your first arrest. While patrolling your beat, you see someone attempting to break into a car, or at least that’s what it looks like to you. Rush over and apprehend the perpetrator.
3) Role-Play: The Hospital Visit
Don’t you just dread going to the hospital? Imagine how bad it would be if you were in pain and you were trying to describe your ailment to a doctor and he/she does not understand the nature of your complaint. See if you can guess from the patient’s description what the problem is.
Patient (Student): As a sick-person in the outpatient department at a busy hospital, you must explain to your doctor the nature of your complaint. You must be clear and concise. Remember you must not actually name the problem you are suffering from. The doctor must guess it.
Doctor (Instructor): A patient is now on the examining table in front of you. Unfortunately, this patient is unable to name the exact ailment. It is your task to correctly diagnose his/her problem. Listen carefully, Doctor!
4) Role-Play: What?! The Flight is canceled!
It is unlucky but not rare to have a flight canceled while traveling. However, this time you are abroad by yourself to attend a conference which will be held tomorrow afternoon. Your original flight is this evening at 7 pm. Try to figure out what is going on and get yourself a space on the recent flight to your destination.
Passenger (Student): The airline staff made an announcement about your canceled flight. You need to go to the front desk to get another flight because you have a conference to attend tomorrow. Talk to airline staff about your problem and try to persuade them to give you priority to board the most recent flight to your destination. Be prepared to deal with impatient and frustrated staff.
Airline Staff (Instructor): Every time the flight is canceled, passengers get mad and all of them would rush to the front desk, asking for the most recent flight and compensation. You are trying to be as nice and patient, however, some of the passengers are asking for too much. Try to explain the problem and give the best solution.
5) Discussion: What If, What If . . .
When we use the words ‘What if’ to begin a discussion, we are said to be posing a ‘hypothetical’ situation.
That is a scenario where there are usually a number of possible outcomes. For example, we might ask, “What if there were no such things as cars?”. It would then be possible to have a discussion about the possibilities of a car-free world. Read the ‘What if’ questions below and discuss the possibilities.
1. What if there was no such thing as a telephone?
2. What if you suddenly inherited one hundred million US dollars?
3. What if you found out that the world would end tomorrow?
4. What if there was no money and everything was free?
5. What if you had three wishes?
6) Discussion: Environment vs. Employment
We’ve all heard stories about villainous corporations that pollute the air, the rivers, and the land all in the name of profit. Indeed, the employees of many of these companies believe that their livelihood is more important than the environment.
The environmentalists see the long-term effects in this battle. They believe that humans are destroying their world and that there will be little left but wasteland.
1. Who is right?
2. Can you understand the point of view of the employees in the factories?
3. Should we ensure that the environment is protected at all costs, even if it means that others will suffer?
4. How would you feel if you lost your job to a bunch of environmentalists, knowing that you would no longer be able to support your family?
5. How important is the fight to protect our environment to you?
7) Debate: Selfishness?
BACKGROUND: Me! Me! Me! Always me! Is there a tendency amongst people today to turn inward in their attitude: to worry about themselves first, not the people around them? Is this true? Should one think about himself/herself first? Or should one consider others’ benefit first? What do you think?
PROS: This side will argue that people should consider their own benefit first and this is instinct and normal.
CONS: This side will argue that human beings should consider others’ benefits first and it is not right to be selfish.
8) Debate: Smartphone: An Intrusion?
BACKGROUND: Without a doubt, the introduction of the Smartphone was big news. Growth in the industry has been phenomenal. Now, it seems that whenever we are in a restaurant, a classroom, a cinema, on a bus, or for that matter wherever we are, we are likely to see the use of smartphones.
Is this a problem? Do you find it annoying when you are enjoying a meal in a nice restaurant or perhaps attending a lecture, someone is busy with his/her smartphone? Many people do.
PROS: This side of the class believes that smartphones should be shut off in restaurants and places of entertainment. They believe that they are intrusive and more controls should be put on their use.