First Time you used a Foreign Language to Communicate – IELTS Cue Card Sample 45

Describe the first time you used a foreign language to communicate.

You should say:

  • what the situation was
  • where you were who you communicated with
  • and explain why you used a foreign language to communicate on this occasion.


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I have been learning English for a long time, but I haven’t had many chances to practice speaking English with native speakers. To the best of my recollection, the first time I used it was on Christmas Eve three years ago.

At that time, I was hanging out with my friends. Suddenly, a foreigner came up to me and asked for directions to a supermarket. Honestly, he spoke too quickly for me to catch everything. But after he repeated his words, I finally understood and showed him the way to the nearest supermarket. I used body language a lot to explain the directions to him, since I didn’t speak English well then. After that, he said “Thank you” to me and headed for the supermarket. I realize that English plays an important role in our life, despite the fact that we don’t live in English-speaking countries. It is spoken globally and it’s becoming the dominant language. Therefore, I have been trying to practice speaking English daily so that I can have a good command of this language, and I can talk confidently with foreigners, whatever the topic of conversation.


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to the best of my recollection: [expression] if I remember correctly. Example: I was not present at that meeting, to the best of my recollection.
hanging out: [phrasal verb] spending a lot of time in a particular place, but doing no special activity. Example: My friends and I enjoy hanging out at our local coffee shop, just chatting and enjoying a coffee.
came up to: [phrasal verb] approached. Example: The manager came up to me and shook my hand.
catch everything: [expression] hear or understand everything that he said. Example: At the train station it was too noisy to hear all the information clearly, and I was unable to catch everything.
body language: [noun] the way that you show what you feel or think by moving your body. Example: Sometimes, our teacher uses body language, not words, to help to communicate an idea.
headed for: [phrasal verb] moved in a particular direction. Example: After the show finished, everyone headed for the exits.
have a good command of: [expression] have a good knowledge of something. Example: People who apply for this job must have a good command of English, in order to communicate with our American customers

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