Moscow is the world’s costliest city
Thinking of moving to another world capital? A new report compiled by the human resources consultancy Mercer suggests you need to think carefully about how costly it is in other parts of the world. Surprisingly, Mercer ranks Moscow as the world's costliest city, with London a close second. This is bad news for students wanting to study in the Russian and English capitals. Mercer gathers information on 143 cities around the globe. Its annual survey measures and compares the costs of more than 200 items, including rent, transportation, food, clothes, household goods and entertainment. This data is invaluable for companies wishing to open offices in far-off lands. A Mercer spokeswoman said: "As companies continue to send employees on expatriate assignments, they must closely monitor changes in the cost of living."
A major theme of the latest survey is how currency movements have changed the rankings of different cities. Mercer stated: "There have been some significant changes in the rankings since last year….These are primarily due to exchange rate fluctuations - in particular the weakening of the U.S. dollar and the strengthening of the euro." Last year, London was ranked fifth, but due to a weak dollar, it has risen three places. Seoul was the third-placed city, followed by Tokyo and Hong Kong, both down a place from last year. Asuncion was the cheapest city for expats for the fifth year in a row. The world’s most expensive apartments are in Tokyo and the most affordable are in Johannesburg. The dearest fast food is in Copenhagen. Zimbabwe’s Harare dropped off the list this year due to its rates of hyperinflation.
WARM-UPS1. LIVING COSTS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about the cost of living where you live. Are you happy with it? Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your original partner(s) and share what you found out.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.
moving / world capitals / human resources / Moscow / bad news / rent / data / currency / exchange rates / US dollar / expatriates / fast food / hyperinflation
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. COST OF LIVING: In pairs / groups, talk about the cost of these things in your town:
4. CITY LIFE: In pairs / groups, give a score for the items below - what is most important to you about city life? 10 = a must; 1 = no need for it/them
- _____ safety
- _____ good public transportation
- _____ affordable accommodation
- _____ parks and trees
- _____ no car zones
- _____ good refuse collection
- _____ near an airport
- _____ sports facilities
5. I’M AN EXPAT: Your partner will choose a new city for you to live in (from another part of the world). Walk around the class and talk to the other “expats” about your cities.
6. MOSCOW: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with Moscow. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
7. QUICK DEBATE: Students A think living in expensive cities is better than living in the boring, cheap countryside. Students B think the opposite. Change partners often. Share your findings.
BEFORE READING / LISTENING1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (t) or false (f):
2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:
|b.||ranks||keep an eye on|
|i.||in a row||is placed|
|j.||affordable||for the most part|
3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):
|a.||A new report compiled||off lands|
|b.||London a close||assignments|
|c.||This data is invaluable||due to its rates of hyperinflation|
|d.||open offices in far-||fluctuations|
|e.||send employees on expatriate||for companies|
|f.||currency movements have changed||in a row|
|g.||exchange rate||by the human resources consultancy|
|h.||down a||the rankings of different cities|
|i.||for the fifth year||second|
|j.||Harare dropped off the list this year||place from last year|
WHILE READING / LISTENING
GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.
A theme of the latest survey is how currency movements have changed the of different cities. Mercer stated: "There have been some significant changes in the rankings since last year….These are due to exchange rate - in particular the weakening of the U.S. dollar and the strengthening of the euro." Last year, London was ranked fifth, but due to a weak dollar, it has risen three places. Seoul was the third-placed city, followed by Tokyo and Hong Kong, both down a place from last year. Asuncion was the cheapest city for for the fifth year in a row. The world’s most expensive apartments are in Tokyo and the most are in Johannesburg. The fast food is in Copenhagen. Zimbabwe’s Harare off the list this year due to its rates of hyperinflation.
This and similar current news lessons can be found at http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com