Saturday, April 10, 2010

Slumdog Millionaire & My Life in Ruins: Tour Guides - Traveling Abroad - Taj Mahal - India - Greece

Slumdog Millionaire, in my opinion, is an overrated movie. It is a good movie, but I've seen much better ones which have never won an Oscar. My Life in Ruins, on the other hand, does not have the intention of being a master piece, but it is entertaining and enjoyable. Both films have tour guide scenes and traveling, great topics for conversation.

A. Work in pairs. Take turns asking the following questions:

1. When you travel to a new place, do prefer to make use of a local tour guide or do you prefer to be on your own? Why?

2. Is it important to hire local tour guides? Why (not)?

3. Do you trust the information provided by tour guides? explain it.

4. How can tour guides become dangerous for the tourist?

5. What are the most important qualities of a good tour guide?

6. Is the guide's age important? How old does he/she have to be for you to hire one?

B. Read some characteristics that describe a good tour guide. Write L if the characteristic applies especially for local tour guides in very small tourist towns, M if it applies for long international tourist trips or B if it applies to both of them.

1. ( ) Uses non verbal communication, such as smiles, eye contact or body language.

2. ( ) is punctual, courteous, attentive.

3. ( ) Dresses well.

4. ( ) Researches about the history of the place.

5. ( ) Informs what they will need to wear and bring to the tour.

6. ( ) Learns about the visitors in between the stops.

7. ( ) Does not repeat a memorized text, but provides meaningful messages to different kinds of groups or tourists.

8. ( ) Uses games and activities to entertain the tourists.

9. ( ) Does not ask for extra money or tips.

10. ( ) Speaks several languages.

C. Now watch the segment from the movie Slumdog Millionaire and answer the questions that follow in pairs:

1. Where does the scene take place?

2. What kind of tour guide did they hire?

3. Was he a real tour guide? How do you know it?

4. How did they hire the tour guide?

5. How much experience did he have?

6. What can you say about the information he gave the couple?

7. How honest was the guide? How do you know it?

8. What kinds of places did he show the tourists?

9. Where was the last tourist couple from? What happened to them. And to the guide?

10. Take a look at exercise B. Write down the items with qualities that you think apply to the movie segment's tour guide.

11. Would you like to visit India and the Taj Mahal? Why (not)? If you would, would you hire a local tour guide to help you around? Why (not)?´

D. Now watch the next segment from the movie My Life in Ruins. Then answer the questions that follow.

1. Describe the scene.

2. Is the tour guide right to promote Greece's history even if the tourists are not interested? Why?

3. How would you describe this group of tourists? Are you like them when you are a tourist in another country?

4. What would you do if you were in a tour on a bus like the one in the segment?

5. How different or similar are the tour guides in this movie segment? Explain it.

6. Which of the two guides would you prefer? Why?

7. How do you compare the tour guides in this segment with the one from the movie Slumdog Millionaire?

8. Take a look at exercise B. Write down the items with qualities that you think apply to this movie segment's tour guides.




  1. Hello Claudio, I'd like to thank you for this amazing activity. It was very helpful and my students loved doing it. Keep up with the great job you've been doing!!!
    Eliana Carletto from Salvador - Bahia

  2. Thanks, Eliana
    Great to hear it from someone from my hometown. See you.

  3. Very good activities!!! Congrats Claudio... Tks 4 your help!!!!

  4. Very nice. It will help me to start a conversation about travellers and tourists.