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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay from the general training exam on the topic of behaviour abroad and different customs in different countries.

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IELTS Essay: Behaviour Abroad

There are different customs in different countries related to how people eat, dress, and so on. Some think that people visiting a country should behave according to customs of the country they visit.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many believe travellers have an obligation to follow local customs. I am in agreement with this sentiment generally but there are exceptions to this rule where some flexibility is warranted.

Proponents would argue that being culturally sensitive is a sign of respect. The burden of fitting in falls to the guest because they made the choice to travel to the country in question. For example, following local traditions is crucial when in certain Middle Eastern countries. Some of the more religious countries enforce strict restrictions on common western practices like drinking alcohol and dressing freely. To respect the locals, tourists must modify their behaviour during their stay or risk offending residents and making a bad impression. If travellers persist in flouting local customs, they are in the wrong as there are many other more liberal options for international travel.

However, there are meaningful areas where locals must also be receptive to the views of travellers. This can be broadly grouped into religious and personal beliefs. For example, an individual from a Muslim country travelling abroad may expect to be allowed to wear a head scarf in public during their visit. This should be allowed even in situations, such as during the playing of the national anthem at sporting events in the United States, when people must remove their hats. The same principle applies to personal dietary restrictions such as those of vegetarians and vegans. If they are in a country where locals primarily eat meat, they ought to be able to make substitutions and amendments to the menu if possible.

In conclusion, it is typically important to follow the customs of a country when travelling to show deference but this can be outweighed at times by personal and religious convictions. Individuals should also be mindful of potential conflicts when choosing a travel destination from the onset.

Analysis

1. Many believe travellers have an obligation to follow local customs. 2. I am in agreement with this sentiment generally but there are exceptions to this rule where some flexibility is warranted.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. State your opinion clearly. Read more about introductions here.

1. Proponents would argue that being culturally sensitive is a sign of respect. 2. The burden of fitting in falls to the guest because they made the choice to travel to the country in question. 3. For example, following local traditions is crucial when in certain Middle Eastern countries. 4. Some of the more religious countries enforce strict restrictions on common western practices like drinking alcohol and dressing freely. 5. To respect the locals, tourists must modify their behaviour during their stay or risk offending residents and making a bad impression. 6. If travellers persist in flouting local customs, they are in the wrong as there are many other more liberal options for international travel.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Give an example.
  4. Develop the example.
  5. Keep developing the same example.
  6. Generalise the example.

1. However, there are meaningful areas where locals must also be receptive to the views of travellers. 2. This can be broadly grouped into religious and personal beliefs. 3. For example, an individual from a Muslim country travelling abroad may expect to be allowed to wear a head scarf in public during their visit. 4. This should be allowed even in situations, such as during the playing of the national anthem at sporting events in the United States, when people must remove their hats. 5. The same principle applies to personal dietary restrictions such as those of vegetarians and vegans. 6. If they are in a country where locals primarily eat meat, they ought to be able to make substitutions and amendments to the menu if possible.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain this main idea.
  3. Use a new example.
  4. Develop this example.
  5. If you have a second example, switch over to it.
  6. And develop it fully.

1. In conclusion, it is typically important to follow the customs of a country when travelling to show deference but this can be outweighed at times by personal and religious convictions. 2. Individuals should also be mindful of potential conflicts when choosing a travel destination from the onset.

  1. Summarise your main ideas and restate your opinion.
  2. Add a final thought/opinion. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Many believe travellers have an obligation to follow local customs. I am in agreement with this sentiment generally but there are exceptions to this rule where some flexibility is warranted.

Proponents would argue that being culturally sensitive is a sign of respect. The burden of fitting in falls to the guest because they made the choice to travel to the country in question. For example, following local traditions is crucial when in certain Middle Eastern countries. Some of the more religious countries enforce strict restrictions on common western practices like drinking alcohol and dressing freely. To respect the locals, tourists must modify their behaviour during their stay or risk offending residents and making a bad impression. If travellers persist in flouting local customs, they are in the wrong as there are many other more liberal options for international travel.

However, there are meaningful areas where locals must also be receptive to the views of travellers. This can be broadly grouped into religious and personal beliefs. For example, an individual from a Muslim country travelling abroad may expect to be allowed to wear a head scarf in public during their visit. This should be allowed even in situations, such as during the playing of the national anthem at sporting events in the United States, when people must remove their hats. The same principle applies to personal dietary restrictions such as those of vegetarians and vegans. If they are in a country where locals primarily eat meat, they ought to be able to make substitutions and amendments to the menu if possible.

In conclusion, it is typically important to follow the customs of a country when travelling to show deference but this can be outweighed at times by personal and religious convictions. Individuals should also be mindful of potential conflicts when choosing a travel destination from the onset.

Answers

obligation duty

follow local customs do as local residents do

I am in agreement with this sentiment generally agree overall

exceptions cases outside the rule

rule general case for all

flexibility ability to adapt

warranted justified

proponents supporters

culturally sensitive caring about other cultures

sign of respect indicates your care

burden obligation

fitting in falls adapting is the responsibility of

made the choice chose

the country in question nation being talked about

local traditions what residents there do

crucial essential

certain particular

enforce strict restrictions make people follow rules

common western practices many people from western countries do this

dressing freely wearing whatever they want

modify their behaviour change how they act

risk offending residents might upset people living there

making a bad impression coming off badly

persist keep trying

flouting deliberately not following

in the wrong not doing the right thing

more liberal options freer places

meaningful areas important parts

receptive willing to listen

broadly grouped categorised in general

Muslim country in the Middle East and parts of Africa

head scarf hijab

public not private

situations cases

the playing of the national anthem listening to the song of your country

sporting events sports

same principle applies rule also valid here

personal dietary restrictions what you won’t/can’t eat

vegans people who don’t eat any animal products

primarily eat meat mostly just consume animals

substitutions switches

amendments changes

if possible if it can be done

typically usually

show deference take a backseat to

outweighed at times sometimes more important

personal and religious convictions your own beliefs and the beliefs of your religion

be mindful consider

potential conflicts possible fights

from the onset at the very beginning

Pronunciation

ˌɒblɪˈgeɪʃən 
ˈfɒləʊ ˈləʊkəl ˈkʌstəmz
aɪ æm ɪn əˈgriːmənt wɪð ðɪs ˈsɛntɪmənt ˈʤɛnərəli 
ɪkˈsɛpʃənz 
ruːl 
ˌflɛksɪˈbɪlɪti 
ˈwɒrəntɪd
prəˈpəʊnənts 
ˈkʌlʧərəli ˈsɛnsɪtɪv 
saɪn ɒv rɪsˈpɛkt
ˈbɜːdn 
ˈfɪtɪŋ ɪn fɔːlz 
meɪd ðə ʧɔɪs 
ðə ˈkʌntri ɪn ˈkwɛsʧən
ˈləʊkəl trəˈdɪʃənz 
ˈkruːʃəl 
ˈsɜːtn 
ɪnˈfɔːs strɪkt rɪsˈtrɪkʃənz 
ˈkɒmən ˈwɛstən ˈpræktɪsɪz 
ˈdrɛsɪŋ ˈfriːli
ˈmɒdɪfaɪ ðeə bɪˈheɪvjə 
rɪsk əˈfɛndɪŋ ˈrɛzɪdənts 
ˈmeɪkɪŋ ə bæd ɪmˈprɛʃən
pəˈsɪst 
ˈflaʊtɪŋ 
ɪn ðə rɒŋ 
mɔː ˈlɪbərəl ˈɒpʃənz 
ˈmiːnɪŋfʊl ˈeərɪəz 
rɪˈsɛptɪv 
ˈbrɔːdli gruːpt 
ˈmʊslɪm ˈkʌntri 
hɛd skɑːf 
ˈpʌblɪk 
ˌsɪtjʊˈeɪʃənz
ðə ˈpleɪɪŋ ɒv ðə ˈnæʃənl ˈænθəm 
ˈspɔːtɪŋ ɪˈvɛnts 
seɪm ˈprɪnsəpl əˈplaɪz 
ˈpɜːsnl ˈdaɪətəri rɪsˈtrɪkʃənz 
ˈviːgənz
ˈpraɪmərɪli iːt miːt
ˌsʌbstɪˈtjuːʃənz 
əˈmɛndmənts 
ɪf ˈpɒsəbl
ˈtɪpɪk(ə)li 
ʃəʊ ˈdɛfərəns 
aʊtˈweɪd æt taɪmz 
ˈpɜːsnl ænd rɪˈlɪʤəs kənˈvɪkʃənz
biː ˈmaɪndfʊl 
pəʊˈtɛnʃəl ˈkɒnflɪkts 
frɒm ði ˈɒnsɛt

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Many believe travellers have an o______________n to f_____________________s. I_______________________________________y but there are e_____________s to this r____e where some f____________y is w_____________d.

P_____________s would argue that being c_________________e is a s______________________t. The b___________n of f_______________s to the guest because they m___________________e to travel to t_______________________n. For example, following l__________________s is c____________l when in c__________n Middle Eastern countries. Some of the more religious countries e___________________________s on c_______________________s like drinking alcohol and d__________________y. To respect the locals, tourists must m_________________________r during their stay or r_________________________s and m________________________n. If travellers p__________t in f__________g local customs, they are i_____________g as there are many other m________________________s for international travel.

However, there are m__________________s where locals must also be r______________e to the views of travellers. This can be b_____________d into religious and personal beliefs. For example, an individual from a M___________________y travelling abroad may expect to be allowed to wear a h______________f in p_________c during their visit. This should be allowed even in s_____________s, such as during t_________________________________m at s_________________s in the United States, when people must remove their hats. The s_______________________s to p_________________________s such as those of vegetarians and v_________s. If they are in a country where locals p__________________t, they ought to be able to make s__________________s and a___________________s to the menu i______________e.

In conclusion, it is t____________y important to follow the customs of a country when travelling to s_______________e but this can be o____________________s by p____________________________s. Individuals should also b_____________l of p________________s when choosing a travel destination f_________________t.

Listening Practice

Listen more about this topic below and use these ideas to improve your listening:

Reading Practice

Practice with the following related reading and these practice ideas:

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Travelling

  1. Do you like travelling?
  2. What is the most beautiful country you have visited?
  3. Would you like to have a job that demands travelling to other countries?
  4. What problems can occur when travelling?

Writing Practice

Practice with the following related question then check with my sample answer below:

Some believe that tourism does more to create tension between countries rather than helping individuals better understand other cultures.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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