What it’s like in Pyeongchang, South Korea — the host city of the 2018 Olympics

This content is recommended for 30~60 minute sessions. Note that tutors may not be familiar with the content. Make sure you consult with your tutor before using this material. 


After a quick greeting, read the following article out loud. Your tutor will go over pronunciation if necessary.

Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters 

[P1] South Korea’s Pyeongchang, host city of the 2018 Olympic Games, will welcome nearly one million athletes and spectators to its quiet slice of the Korean Peninsula in February.

[P2] The county of Pyeongchang is one of the safest places to live and visit across the globe — with one major catch. It sits only 50 miles from the border of North Korea, which has raised the prospect of war with a series of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests in recent months.

[P3] Stretched across rugged mountains and valleys, Pyeongchang covers an area roughly the size of Houston. More than 43,000 people live there, with many working in agriculture.

Here’s what it’s like to live in the host city of the 2018 Olympics.

  1. Pyeongchang (not to be confused with Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea) sits about the same distance from the border of North Korea and the capital of South Korea, Seoul.
  2. The area has an average elevation of approximately 700 meters above sea level, which gives it the nickname “the Alps of Korea.” Mountains cover more than 80% of the terrain.
  3. Pyeongchang is also one of the country’s coldest places. During winter, cold air comes down from Russia and chills the area to about 35 degrees Fahrenheit and below.
  4. At a recent concert held in the new Olympic Stadium, a 35,000-seat venue with no overhead cover or heating system, six people were stricken with hypothermia. January is the coldest month.
  5. Pyeongchang attracts winter revelers with its pristine skiing conditions. The largest resort, Alpensia Resort, has six slopes for skiing and snowboarding.
  6. Few people speak English, though the South Korean government has paid for English lessons for some people working in the service industry.
  7. Visitors hungry for Korean barbecue will find no shortage in Pyeongchang. But the local delicacies are dried pollack (fish) in stews and rice steamed with mountain herbs.
  8. People get around by bicycle, city bus, and car. High-speed trains built in time for the Olympic Games will carry visitors from Seoul to Pyeongchang in just over an hour.
  9. At Woljeongsa Temple, visitors can explore ancient Buddhist temples set in a national park. It was established in the year 643.
  10. The massive complex of temples and pagodas was destroyed during the Korean War and has since been rebuilt. Today, Woljeongsa Temple is one of Korea’s 10 national parks.
  11. In the mountain town of Daegwallyeong, visitors can tour a sheep farm, learn horse-riding, or try a cheese-making class. The sheep farm is often used as a set in Korean movies.
  12. Foreign hordes will descend on Pyeongchang starting in February for the 2018 Olympic Games. As of January, a reported 61% of the one million total tickets have sold.
  13. As the Olympics near, all eyes will be on South Korea — and its neighbor to the north.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/photos-of-pyeongchang-south-korea-2018-winter-olympics-2018-1


Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
spectator (n) a person who watches an event, show, game, activity, etc., often as part of an audience
e.g. The spectators lining the road cheered the racers on.
rugged (adj) having a rough, uneven surface
e.g. the rugged surface of the moon
terrain (n) land of a particular kind
e.g. We had to drive over some rough terrain.
delicacy (n) a food that people like to eat because it is special or rare
e.g. The restaurant serves delicious sausages and other regional delicacies.
horde (n) a large group of people
e.g. A horde of tourists entered the museum.

Discussion Questions

Use the following questions as a guideline to help develop an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. Are you excited about the Olympics? Is there a sports that you’ve been following?
  3. How are you going to participate in the event?
  4. Do you think hosting a global event like the Olympics help the local people? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!


Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

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