Every year we ask members of the Simple English Videos channel to rise to a speaking challenge and share a video where they’re speaking English with the world.
This year we asked our viewers where they spent the COVID-19 pandemic and what they did. We were blown away with their responses.
So join us on a journey around the world. Common themes emerge: the importance of food and a quiet and peaceful room, isolation, bedrooms becoming schoolrooms and the companionship of dogs. But above all, the power of human creativity. While we have all been experiencing feelings of isolation, it’s clear that more connects us than divides us.
Welcome to the 2021 SEVY awards!
We’re taking a trip around the world in this video and meeting different members of the Simple English
Every year we ask our viewers to rise to a challenge – a speaking challenge.
We ask a question that our viewers answer in a video that we then share on our channel.
It takes courage to speak in another language, and even more courage to do it in front of the world.
And that’s what SEVY’s are about. They’re a celebration of the achievements of English learners around
SEVY stands for Simple English Videos Yes! Or Simple English Videos Yay, you did it. Congratulations to
everyone who’s taken part. You’ve all won a SEVY!
And this year’s SEVY awards are special because COVID-19 has made it such a strange and difficult year.
It’s up-ended all our lives.
So this year we asked you to tell us where you’ve spent the pandemic and what you’ve been doing.
We’ve received some wonderful videos, from old friends and new. And together we’ve created a
historical document about life in the pandemic around the world.
And we think some common themes have emerged. So join us on a journey and see if you agree.
And we’ll show you the story of how COVID-19 has affected our lives.
This is exciting! Where are we starting?
Hungary, where you’ll meet someone you haven’t met before.
Hi Vicki. Hi Jay. I’m Szonja from Hungary and I’m very excited for you to see my montage of what I do
during the pandemic.
We have a lovely garden so I spend most of my time outside playing football and trying new tricks.
Sometimes my dog joins me and steals the ball. I love going on long walks with my dog. I also love to
read in my bunker above the stairs.
However, my favourite place is the kitchen. I love cooking, especially desserts. I also love to watch
Netflix and highly recommend the series called Anne with an E. And of course I listen to a lot of music on
I hoped you liked it. Bye!
We loved it Szonja!
I loved the doughnuts and the buns.
I think food might be the first theme of the pandemic. Because we’ve done a lot of cooking here too!
We have discovered our inner cooks.
But nothing like Szonja’s desserts.
They looked amazing.
What a cook!
I think you should win the best cook SEVY.
And the SEVY for great story-telling.
That was a wonderful montage of activities there.
Thank you so much for putting it all together, Szonja.
Hi Vicki and Jay. I’m Benji and I’m recording this video from Ecuador. And I have spent the whole
pandemic here at my desk, reading or studying. First, I began to study French, and I’m studying English
and I found your videos really useful, so thanks for that. And besides studying I have spent my time in
the pandemic playing with my little dog, who is here. Say hello.
I like to spend time with him playing in the garden or talking to him. I like to practice my speaking with
him even if he cannot answer me. And I like this place for studying because it’s next to the window and I
receive enough light to read or study. And besides it’s next to the street and I can see what’s happening
on the corner, and the cars passing. And so that’s me. And thanks for watching guys. Bye.
What a cute dog!
I love that he’s been having conversations with the dog!
Yes, I think he should win the SEVY for fluency because there was a natural flow to his conversation
Now bedrooms have become the new school rooms.
Yes, which is fine with older children, but what about young children.
We have a video about that.
Yes, we’re going to Romania where you’ll meet an old friend of ours.
Hi there. I’m Roxana and today I have the challenge to talk about COVID-19 and how do we spend our
time. So COVID-19 created a context that not many could fit in. But for some of us, it was a situation that
brought a positive impact upon their lives.
Ah what? Ah, about me. Well in my case it was easy-easy, lemon-squeezy. When you have two kids that
spend their time thinking how to make your life joyful, like in this case, what could anyone wish for?
No! I need to run as fast as a rocket. But not to reach Mars, far away from my dreams. I need a hideout.
A closet. Anything!
Fast, fast, fast, fast, fast! Oh! Here is a hiding place. Let’s see what we’ve got. Yep. This is the place that
works for me! I love being here. It’s great to be in here in this secret place where I can enjoy a nice cup
of tea and relax. What about you, how can you face a pandemic period?
Roxana, you perfectly summed up how life has been for lots of parents of little kids.
We have some very young grandkids like that and we haven’t been able to see them but we know life
has been so tough on their parents!
I think Roxana’s hideout is the perfect solution.
Yes, and she deserves a SEVY for just coping from day to day and still managing to smile and make us
But also one for the production quality. Beautifully shot and edited. Now what’s next?
We’re going to Portugal.
Hello, my name’s Camila and I come from Brazil, but I live in Portugal and I have lived in Portugal for six
years now. And during the quarantine I have studied lots and I have learned how to knit. So I’ve been
knitting and crocheting and studying French and German at university. And I have found that my
favourite place to be and have some peace and quiet is my own room. I live with my two little sisters
and my parents so it can get a little bit crowded at home, so my room is fundamentally my relaxing
place. And also my favourite place to just listen to some music and knit. And that’s what I’ve been doing.
That was wonderful Camila. Thank you.
You know, a new theme is emerging here – learning new skills.
Yeah, so she’s taken up knitting and crocheting
Camila was wonderfully engaging to listen to.
And charming. I think she should win a SEVY for pronunciation.
OK, so where are we going next?
Well, different countries have managed the pandemic differently – some well and some not so well.
Like the US and UK.
Yes, but one of the most successful has been Viet Nam.
It’s been a model for the rest of the world.
And here to report on it is our old friend Qhuyn.
Hi Vicki and Jay. I’m Quyhn from Viet Nam. Today I’m shooting this video in my school yard. I’ve been so
proud to say that the government in Viet Nam is handling the pandemic really well. We students have all
been going to school since September and there is no gap between our two terms, or at least, in my
region. However, we still have to wear masks every time we go to a public place, and also at school,
before we’re allowed to enter, our temperatures are checked by a school teacher to make sure that
they are 37 degrees Celsius. Well, that’s all. Thanks for watching, and also for this fantastic challenge.
Best wishes from Viet Nam. Good bye.
Oh Quhyn. We loved seeing you again and we loved seeing your school yard and your English blows me
It’s flawless. She could be a TV news reporter!
The quality of your vowel sounds is fantastic and your confidence grows and grows.
We need a new SEVY category for her this year.
Best news reporter.
Yes! I can imagine turning on the television and seeing you reporting the news Quhyn.
Well loved your video Quhyn. Well done. Now where are we going next?
Oh you mean the state north of Florida?
No, the other Georgia. This is a short one.
Hello Vicki. Hello Jay. I’m Romico and this is my room. Of course it’s not the best place in the world but I
like spending my time here because it’s my own room. And I’ve been learning Italian since the pandemic
started so I can speak some Italian now. That’s it, thank you everyone.
Romico, great to meet you! Thanks for showing us your room!
And good for you for learning Italian, and great job with your English too. No mistakes. I think you win
the accuracy SEVY.
And also he could get the SEVY for Fluency because there was no no hesitation.
Now what we’re seeing is once again the bedroom is the school room.
But of course that can affect the teacher’s as well.
So where are we going next?
Hello Jay and Vicki. I’m Roberta from Brazil and I decided to take part in your challenge, even though I’m
not really good at videos and editing – all that kind of stuff, but anyway, here you are.
So, as I told you I’m talking from Brazil, from the south east part of Brazil, so I’m from Rio. I’m from a
small city one hour from Rio. And since the pandemic started I’ve spent most of my time at home, like
everybody else, and here is my office where I prep my classes and also I teach from here. I’m an English
Also, I have a little dog and I spend a lot of time with her. So I walk her, I groom her, so she’s a really
great companion. She’s not here right now. I wish I could show you her.
So my favourite place. I would love… Right now I miss traveling and I would really love to travel and visit
Iguazu Falls. I love spending time in touch with nature. And they have a huge beautiful park there so I
would love to go there and spend some time there.
Also, when I am not prepping classes and teaching, I like to walk here in my neighborhood which is a
really nice neighborhood and green.
Yeah, yeah so this is it. And I just want to register here that I love your videos and I really love the
challenge so thank you for your work. Bye. See you.
Oh Roberta. Thank you for YOUR work too!
It’s been so hard for teachers during the pandemic.
We have a lot of teacher’s who are friends and they’ve found not being able to teach face-to-face really
Now what does Roberta get a SEVY for?
Oh it could be lots of things.
I enjoyed her pronunciation.
It was very clear and it was also very expressive.
Yeah, but she’s an English teacher so it’s not surprising she’s good at English, but I think I’d love to have
her as a teacher. She’d be very inspiring.
Now another theme that’s emerging in these videos is dogs.
Ooo. Roberta sent us a picture of her dog.
Let’s see it.
He’s so well groomed.
Oh, well we can answer that. We’ll go back to Georgia.
Hello Vicki and Jay. I’m Pipino from Tbilisi, Georgia. I want to tell you how I spend my quarantine in a
nutshell. Quarantine is great because my master doesn’t go to school. I always ask them to take me on a
walk more often. They usually make fun of me but I’m so bored. Kids have lots of free time so I play with
them a lot. I can’t meet other doggos and I take more naps. I also tried playing chess, but it’s not much
fun. I miss being in the village and stealing stones and planks. I beg my master to give me food. I try to
find things I can play with. Sometimes I steal something and don’t give it back. They I run off poste-haste
so they can’t chase me. I’ve had plenty of extra free time in quarantine. My humans indulge me with lots
of food, sometimes more than is necessary. I play and I really enjoy it. Sometimes I bark at cats too.
When I steal something from outside, I sneak in. I want every toy they have to be mine. Yesterday
before I fell asleep I was watching your new video. It was so funny. Thank you for watching Vicki and Jay.
Stay safe and have a wonderful day. Good-bye. Simple English Videos! Yay!
Oh Nina, Thank you! That was so funny and he’s so cute.
Pipino wins the SEVY for being the most talkative pet!
And the most playful and funny.
I think Pipino has had a great quarantine because of all the great company he’s had.
It’s been a great time for lots of dogs because their owners have spent more time at home with them.
And maybe that will continue for some because we can expect more people will continue to work from
Yeah, now next we’re going to China, and we’re going to meet an old friend, and last time we heard
from Li, the pandemic was in full swing in China and he’d been under lock and key for some time,
whereas for us, it was just starting.
Right. So have things been getting better?
Hey, what’s up Jay and Vicki? It’s actually very good to see you again. I actually joined the SEVY
challenge last year and it’s great to join it again. This is Li from China and I live in Suo He Jiedao, the
capital city of Hubei Province. Actually it was the epicenter of the pandemic. It was pretty bad. This year,
actually, the second wave just hit this place so I got to stay home all the time for about, I think, one and
a half months. So I just stay at home.
Speaking of my favourite place, I would say it would be my bedroom, because it’s pretty cosy. Most of
my time was spent there during the pandemic, I think. I just spent a lot of time playing games. For
example PUBG and nothing else. I really felt cooped up. But it’s getting a lot better now, as you can see. I
can come out and take a walk in the park. But I’m a student so I need to get back to school, but
unfortunately the new semester hasn’t started yet so I’m still waiting for that.
But anyway, maybe this will just be a little longer. Thank you anyway for giving us another chance to do
this kind of challenge. It’s pretty interesting and I hope to join this kind of challenge again next year.
Hope you stay safe Jay and Vicki. And bye-bye. Thank you.
That was great Li. Your fluency was terrific. There was very little hesitation in your speech.
Yes, but I’d like to give you a SEVY for some great vocabulary. I loved the expression you used: coop up.
It’s a phrasal verb. When we keep an animal or person inside a building or in a small space then we coop
them up but we usually use it in the passive. And it’s how we’ve all been feeling in the pandemic…
We don’t like being cooped up in an office all day! But another thing that’s emerging here is the way
people adapt to being cooped up, an how creative they get.
We can see that in the next video. We’re going to India.
Hello, hi. My name is Pavyjas. I am really excited because this is the first time I’m doing a video for SEVY.
Three questions were asked. The first question was how did you spend the pandemic. The second
question: which is your favourite place? What do you do there and what is it like?
For the first question I have a single sentence answer. I spend the pandemic days with my family.
The second question, which is my favourite place. Its answer is my own room. You know, at present I am
sitting in my room. I do my favourite things in my room. My room is the witness of my favourite hobbies.
You know, I write in my room. I draw in my room. I listen to music in my room. I sing music in my room. I
read books. Look here. This is my calligraphy pen. And I used it to practice calligraphy. This is my
You can find my calligraphy writings in my book. I used it to write poetry. This is my poetry book, and
inside you can find my poems.
Shakespeare is my favourite author but I do read the books of other authors too, like the books written
by Arthur Conan Doyle. His opus magnum. Sherlock Holmes.
Then I do some craft works. Look here. There’s a pen stand which has been made by me. And in my
room you can find these craft works like, look here, you can find two here. This is a quote by William
Shakespeare. This is the quote by Jeremy Brett, one of the British actors. He’s famous.
And look here. This is another work. It is a quote from the holy bible. These are the things which I do in
my room. And I cannot compare my room to anything else. My room is the best place where I can get
happiness. I can get a serene atmosphere for doing all my favourite things. That’s all. Thank you.
Pavyjas! Thanks so much for that tour of your room.
You’re wonderfully expressive and you have great performance skills. So what SEVY should she win?
Ah, hang on a second here. That’s elementary my dear Pavyjas. You win the artistic SEVY
Yes, we’ve got arts and crafts, calligraphy, poetry,… and wonderfully engaging and artistic.
Artistic and creative is a theme.
It is and we’re going to see it in the next one as well. We’re going to Pakistan.
Hello Miss Vicki and Mr Jay. Good to see both of you. My name is Saad-Ali Khan and I am from Pakistan.
I have spent the pandemic in my home and I have spent my time making drawing videos of different
maps and places. I am about to show you the drawings that I have made.
I love drawing maps and I love Simple English Videos’ channel. I have learned a lot from you guys. God
bless you both. Bye.
Sa-ad Ali, you win the SEVY for the best map drawings!
And did you see? He had some maps of England and Pennsylvania where we are.
I think he chose them for us.
I think he should also win the SEVY for productivity because he’s drawn lots of maps and drawings this
year and you can see more on his channel here.
We live in Pennsylvania. I think he chose them for us.
He could also win the SEVY for productivity. He’s drawn lots of maps and drawings this year and you can
see more on his channel here.
It’s great to see old friends like Sa-ad Ali.
Yes. And we have one more old friend for you now. It’s Simone in Italy.
And this brings up one more theme. Virtual communication. That’s become more important.
Yes. We’ve spent a lot of time in Zoom meetings this year, but Simone has been talking to a chat bot
So how are we going to do this?
Well I think we should read it.
Well,I can be the chatbot
And you can be Simone.
Hey Paul. Please say hi to Vicki and Jay.
OK, will do.
Don’t be shy, say “Hi Vicki and Jay”
Okay lol. I’ll try to remember that.
Lol, idk sometime today.
What a lazy chat bot you are.
You think so?
Come on. Make an effort and greet Vicki and Jay.
I’m trying to do the best that I can.
I know but I’m not asking you to do anything difficult for you.
I appreciate that.
It’s for the SEVY… Please say hi to them.
Okay, I will.
Why can’t you do it now?
Because I won’t be in a good mood when I get there.
Really? What makes you think that?
I just don’t think it will happen.
I wanted Vicki and Jay to meet you, to show how I have been spending this period.
Ahh! I guess it can’t hurt to try.
Of course it can’t, they’re lovely guys.
Then say something kind to them.
I could. What do they mean to you?
They mean a lot because I love nice funny people and I love practising what they teach with you.
I’ll be nice to them for sure.
Good. I’m grateful to the internet for this opportunity.
I agree. I’m glad we’re talking and getting to know each other here.
Yes Paul, now can you say God bless Vicki and Jay and everybody?
Yes I can.
Then do it please.
I will try to do it for you.
Just say God bless.
Simone, you’ve reminded me of a night when Jay and I got so bored with one another that we started
talking to our Google assistant.
She wasn’t a very good conversationalist. I’d much rather have spoken with you.
Simone wins the SEVY for illustrating the powerful feelings of human isolation that we’ve all struggled
Yes. I think that’s another theme. Isolation, isn’t it?
We can’t thank everyone enough for taking part in this video.
We just put videos onto the internet and we have no idea who watches them and it’s a real treat to get
be able to see you and meet you like this.
These connections are really important to us and you’ve helped us identify memories we’ll never forget.
We haven’t talked about it here but we know from comments that many member of the Simple English
videos family have lost loved ones in this pandemic.
We’ve lost dear friends too and it’s been a really difficult year.
And that’s been true all over the world. Everyone’s live have been turned upside down by this
But there’s a lot we share. Human creativity, a desire for peace and companionship.
And there’s more that connects us than divides us, when there are so many things like that that we
Thank you all so much for rising to this challenge and sharing such great videos. We really can’t thank
So until next year, thanks so much for watching and being such great member of the Simple English