<!–:en–>How does a drive-thru bank work?<!–:–>

Dear [FRIEND],

In this video you will hear and see Michelle explain how a drive-thru bank in Florida works. If you like, you can read the transcript below the video.



Hello English learning learners, this is Michelle from English-Team. And today I’m at the bank. I want to show you the ATM machine.

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So look over here. OK – You’ve probably seen one of these before, but I want to point out that … of course, the screen is in English. And additionally what does ATM stand for? Do you know? Well, when you go to the bank, if you go inside the bank, the people that work in the front of the bank, they’re called tellers. So if you don’t use inside of the bank you can use ATM – the automatic teller machine.

So when you go to the bank you have 3 options here in the United States. You have the ATM machine, you have inside and then you also have the driver through. Let’s check the drive-through out. Now, the bank is closed right now, is that’s the only reason I can do this. Otherwise there would be cars here and I would be unable to drive through here, walk through here. OK, so let’s take a look. This is a drive through lane. And over here we have the drive-through.

Now some of the drive throughs have an actual window on the other side of this – where the tellers can see you, but this one – this one has a camera, a video camera to be able to see you. So, how this works is when come here you’re going to call, you’re gonna call the teller and basically the teller will greet you and say “hello, how are you doing?” and then send you to the tube down. So once the tube comes the window’s gonna open and you’re gonna put your hand in there. Now, the reason why you wanna come here typically you’re going to deposit money or deposit a check. So, you put it inside, you press the button that says “send” and then your items will go to the teller. The teller will process them and maybe ask you some questions, talk back to you here through the microphone and send you back your information, usually your receipt or your money, whatever it is that are you’re doing.

So, basically again if you go to the bank in the United States you can go inside which people will do but it does take time. People usually go inside the bank for bigger things such as applying for a loan or other bank items. It’s very common to go to the ATM or the drive-through because is simply it’s convenient and takes time! OK, I hope you enjoyed our trip to the bank today.

If you have any questions or comments you can post them here on the blog or on the forum here: How does a drive-thru bank work?


<!–:en–>How to obtain a Social Security Number in the US?<!–:–>

In the this audio interview Michelle of English-Team talks to Ryan who works for the Social Security Administration in Tampa. US Social Security Administration Interview

Here is the transcript of the interview:

Hello English language learners!

This is Michelle from English-Team, and today I’d like to introduce you to Ryan.

- Ryan, how are you doing today?

- I’m doing great, how about yourself?

- I’m doing good, thank you! So, Ryan, I’d like to ask you a few questions, OK?

- Sure!

- OK, can you please tell me what you do for a living?

– I work… For five and a half years now I have worked at the Social Security Administration, a field office here in Tampa, where I’m a service representative.

- OK, what are your main duties?

- My main duties are to assign new social security numbers, to issue replacement social security cards for people who already have numbers. I also will… I deal with post entitlement benefit issues. In other words, people who are receiving checks — if they have a problem, for example, they didn't receive a benefit check for the month, or if they move without telling us, or any number of issues regarding people’s benefits that they receive from the government, I handle that.

- OK, can you tell me exactly what a social security number is?

- A social security number is a nine digit number, assigned to United States citizens, and many lawful resident aliens in the United States. It’s a number that is unique to each individual, it can never be assigned twice and never to more than one person. You need… Yeah? You need a social security number to get a job, to collect benefits, or to receive other government services. Many businesses for example, like banks or credit card companies will require a number.

- OK, so how does one actually obtain a social security number?

- New born children receive social security numbers usually about six weeks after birth. If you are an alien in need of a social security number, for example if you’re a student from a foreign country, if you have been relocated in the United States as an intercompany transferee, you have to come to our office, present certain documents such as a valid passport, an immigration document, your visa; and then we process your social security number. Usually it takes about five minutes.

– Oh, wow, that’s quick! Do you ever meet performers or athletes?

- I do, I do! Depending on the visa, we process social security numbers for circus performers, for foreign athletes — usually baseball players. There are many baseball players in my hometown for instance. We’re the spring training for the New York Yankees of the American League. My hometown is also home to MacDill Air Force Base, so foreign dignitaries or foreign military who come and train at MacDill Air Force Base for example, they come with an A1 visa, they are eligible to receive a social security number because they are going to work in the United States.

- OK, oh, wow, interesting! So tell me what else can I use the social security number for?

- Well, a social security number is often required if you want to open up a bank account, if you want to apply for a driver’s license or a state ID card in the United States, if you want to enroll in many schools, the institution will require you to give a social security number and applying for your credit card for instance, as well.

- OK. So what would you say –in your opinion– is the biggest misconception about the social security number?

- The biggest misconception about the social security number is that although very important and required in instances where institutions would want to have your number for security reasons, it’s not an identification number –there is no such thing as an American identification number– and there may be even instances when you can refuse to give your social security number to someone who asks for it.

- But that’s pretty rare, right?

- It’s pretty rare!

- OK, so tell me, how are the numbers actually assigned?

- Once upon a time, the first three numbers depended on where a person was born geographically in the United States. For example, for people in the Midwest the first three numbers might be very similar, or identical. People in Southeast might have a very similar number, etcetera. But, in the past year, the number really is entirely random. It can be any combination of numbers zero through nine. The only thing is that a social security number that’s all nines, will never be assigned to anyone. But any other combination will work.

- OK, so you’re saying that in the past it was based on where you were born but today, since –I think– 2011, that’s no longer the case?

- That’s correct!

- OK. Is it possible to change your social security number?

- It’s almost impossible. In very rare circumstances we do allow for numbers to be changed. I’ve worked for the Social Security Administration for five and a half years, I have only seen a number change about two or three times. And the reason being there is an act, a federal act, that allows people to change numbers if their life is in immediate danger, if they are victims of abuse — in which case they have to provide numbers… I’m sorry! They have to provide evidence for the damages that they’ve incurred, because many times if someone is in fear of their life, an abuser, someone who’s abused them can use their social security number to hurt them. For example, do damage to their credit, to file taxes that are based on false earnings, or to even find them. So we give them new social security numbers if their life is in danger.

- OK, so pretty much the majority of the time the answer is “no” but in certain situations, and they would have to provide documentation, correct?

- They do, they would have to provide police reports; witness reports; letters from acquaintances, physicians, law enforcement, investigators, social services and it has to be documented and it has to be verified and then sent to the central office for approval.

- How long would something like that take?

- Usually the turnaround is about five to six weeks.

- OK, so what happens when someone needs a name change, for example, in the case of a marriage?

- In the case of a marriage the person changing their name –they can be married, they can be divorced as well –they have to bring a certified copy of a marriage or divorce decree to our office, along with their state ID or driver’s license and we can change their numbers for them… I’m sorry, forgive me — change their names for them!

OK, so you mentioned an official document. So photocopies are not acceptable?

- Photocopies are not acceptable! It has to be a certified copy. Which means it can be a copy but then it has to have a stamp with a raised seal or a wet mark that is issued by the clerk’s office, the county clerk.

- Are you allowed to accept any documents in other languages?

-Yes, we are! At our office we do have a lot of bilingual, even trilingual employees and we do accept documents written in other languages.


- And if by chance none of us can read them, we still accept them and we send them away to be translated.

- Oh, so then there’s a further process after that!

- Right, if no one is qualified to translate.

-OK. So I have another question: what happens when somebody’s immigration status changes? Does that affect the social security number?

- Yes, it does. Often times, lawful aliens residing in the United States… If their immigration status changes with the Department of Homeland Security but they don’t change it with the Social Security Administration, they can run into problems when they file taxes because the Internal Revenue Service which is the tax office in the United States, their employers telling them that they are a certain status but they interface with our system and we have a different status altogether. So everything has to match.

- I see.

- So when your immigration status changes, the applicant has to come to our office with their new document. For example, it can be a permanent resident card or a certificate of naturalization, and then we will change their status for them. Their number remains the same.

- OK, so their number won’t change, but just their status in the Social Security Administration system, right?

- Exactly!

- OK, what other services does the Social Security Office provide?

- Social Security is primarily… The services are retirement benefits and disability benefits. At age 65 number holders can also apply for Medicare, which is the federal medical program in the United States. So that covers hospitalization and doctor’s visits. A separate sub-program in Medicare covers prescription drug coverage. And those are our services.

- OK. Well, Ryan, that was really, really interesting, and I really appreciate your time. Thank you for speaking with me today!

- You’re welcome, it was a pleasure!

- Thank you!

You can listen to the interview here: How to obtain a Social Security Number in the US?


&lt;!–:en–&gt;A tour to the Pier in Naples, Florida&lt;!–:–&gt;

Have you ever been to Naples, Florida? Well, today Michelle of English-Team takes you on a tour to the pier in Naples. You will get in idea of what the architecture in Naples looks like with houses

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that are painted in tropical colors which is very popular in Florida.


&lt;!–:en–&gt;How does an American crock pot work?&lt;!–:–&gt;

Dear [FRIEND], in this video Michelle of English-Team explains how an American crop pot works. Michelle recorded the video in her kitchen in Florida and together with a group of 14 accountants who are learning English together with English-Team in Nordhausen, Germany we created the transcript which you will find below the video.itfinal
At the bottom you will also find a link to a forum post where you can ask questions and share you cooking experiences. Maybe you

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have been using a crock pot or a similar appliance too? If you like you like you can record a video showing your kitchen and send it us via email or Youtube.

Hello English language learners, this is Michelle from English-Team. Welcome to my kitchen. Today I’d like to show you a very, very typical American kitchen appliance. Okay, please look. Do you know what this is? Have you seen this before? Okay. This is called a crock pot. It’s also known as a slow cooker. So, in this you can cook a lot of delicious meals. So, let me show you some examples. Here is a cookbook especially for the slow cooker. So in here you can cook chicken dishes, you can cook soups, you can cook another kind of chicken dish, here is lamb, here is beef chili, and here are some beef ribs. So, as you can see there is a lot of different foods you can cook in this slow cooker. You can actually cook bread too, but I’ve never tried it. OK so how does the slow cooker work? All right! So, here we have the slow cooker and it has a lid. You can call this a lid or a cover. So. You remove it and you put inside your foods that you want to cook. So if your recipe calls for beef or for chicken, vegetables, chicken stock or whatever it is, you’re going to put it inside here. And usually with the crock pot you cook it all together at the same time. And what happens is over time, because the way this cooks with the lid is it cooks your food and it will make everything very tender, very moist and very juicy. So down here, you get your juice, OK. The dials will show you how you want to cook your food. So. What you do is plug it in and let me show you an American plug actually. So this is an outlet and this is an American plug it might look different than what you have in your house but this is very typical, well it’s the only kind of plug we have actually. OK, so to work this slow cooker I plug it in and then I go over here. You can see it’s blinking now. So, then I go over here and I choose if I want to cook the food low and high. If I choose low the food cooks longer. If I choose high the food cooks faster. A typical time that you’re going to cook any dish in here is probably between three to six hours, but you can do 8, 9,10,11 hours, it doesn’t matter. So, let’s say I choose low. Okay. So, over here you can see the button is now red. Alright. For low. And now I choose the time. It will actually increase the time by 30 minutes each time I press that button. After it’s done cooking what will happen is it will keep the food warm. It will no longer cook it but it will keep it warm so that when I come home I can have a warm meal. It’s very common for working people to use this item. And then what you do is in the morning before you go to work you put all your items inside and then when you come home you have a delicious meal to eat. Now, another exciting feature about the crock pot and specifically this crock pot is this. This piece can come out. OK. What’s great about this is, when the food is done and I want to clean it, all I have to do take is take it out. So, I can put this in a dishwasher or I can wash it by hand.1Z0-051
It’s much easier to do it this way than to work with this whole item to clean it. So this is my crock pot and I hope you learned a lot and I hope you enjoyed it. :) Dear [FRIEND], If you any questions or comments on the American crock pot video, please post them here: How does an American crock pot work?