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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of learning the languages and customs of another country from the real IELTS exam.

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Dave

Before reading, listen and take notes:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay: Learning Languages and Customs

Some think that students must travel to another country in order to learn its language and customs.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Real Past IELTS Exam

Many believe that in order to become immersed in another language and culture it is important to travel to the country in question. I agree generally, though there are certain exceptions depending on the purpose for learning.

Those with an academic interest in a given culture often do not need to travel there. This is particularly true if they are researching an historic period. For example, a scholar learning about Ancient Greece going there today, will only see ruins and a radically different culture. Ancient Greek is no longer even spoken. It would be much more profitable for a student of the Ancients to learn the language fluently on their own and become steeped in their histories and classic literature. The works of Euripides, Sophocles and Herodotus will provide far greater insight into the history, culture, and language of the Ancient Greeks than the few vestiges from thousands of years ago still standing today.

Nonetheless, cases like the one detailed above are rare and most people will benefit greatly from a more immersive experience. The difference between those studying abroad and learning in their own country is illustrative. Students attempting to learn English, for example, will need to be naturally adept at languages to become fluent without living in an English-speaking country. The majority of learners will improve faster when making daily transactions in English and learning in the real world outside the classroom. The cultural advantages are also self-evident. English movies and TV shows are realistic to varying degrees but pale in comparison to having actual foreign friends and experiencing firsthand their traditions and culture.

In conclusion, apart from esoteric academic study, nothing can replace the experience of living in another country. Anyone fully committed to understanding the culture and language of another country must factor in a period of time in residence there.

Analysis

1. Many believe that in order to become immersed in another language and culture it is important to travel to the country in question. 2. I agree generally, though there are certain exceptions depending on the purpose for learning.

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

1. Those with an academic interest in a given culture often do not need to travel there. 2. This is particularly true if they are researching an historic period. 3. For example, a scholar learning about Ancient Greece going there today, will only see ruins and a radically different culture. 4. Ancient Greek is no longer even spoken. 5. It would be much more profitable for a student of the Ancients to learn the language fluently on their own and become steeped in their histories and classic literature. 6. The works of Euripides, Sophocles and Herodotus will provide far greater insight into the history, culture, and language of the Ancient Greeks than the few vestiges from thousands of years ago still standing today.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea or begin and example.
  3. Start to develop your example.
  4. Vary long and short sentences.
  5. Develop the example as fully as possible with specific ideas and results.
  6. Continue developing until the end of the paragraph.

1. Nonetheless, cases like the one detailed above are rare and most people will benefit greatly from a more immersive experience. 2. The difference between those studying abroad and learning in their own country is illustrative. 3. Students attempting to learn English, for example, will need to be naturally adept at languages to become fluent without living in an English-speaking country. 4. The majority of learners will improve faster when making daily transactions in English and learning in the real world outside the classroom. 5. The cultural advantages are also self-evident. English movies and TV shows are realistic to varying degrees but pale in comparison to having actual foreign friends and experiencing firsthand their traditions and culture.

  1. Write another topic sentence with another clear main idea. Read here about main ideas.
  2. Explain your main idea, if necessary.
  3. The more specific and clear your development, the better.
  4. Include as many details as possible.
  5. Finish defending your main idea – don’t switch to a new one!

1. In conclusion, apart from esoteric academic study, nothing can replace the experience of living in another country. 2. Anyone fully committed to understanding the culture and language of another country must factor in a period of time in residence there.

  1. Repeat your opinion and summarise your main ideas.
  2. Add a final thought/detail. Read here about writing a conclusion.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Many believe that in order to become immersed in another language and culture it is important to travel to the country in question. I agree generally, though there are certain exceptions depending on the purpose for learning.

Those with an academic interest in a given culture often do not need to travel there. This is particularly true if they are researching an historic period. For example, a scholar learning about Ancient Greece going there today, will only see ruins and a radically different culture. Ancient Greek is no longer even spoken. It would be much more profitable for a student of the Ancients to learn the language fluently on their own and become steeped in their histories and classic literature. The works of Euripides, Sophocles and Herodotus will provide far greater insight into the history, culture, and language of the Ancient Greeks than the few vestiges from thousands of years ago still standing today.

Nonetheless, cases like the one detailed above are rare and most people will benefit greatly from a more immersive experience. The difference between those studying abroad and learning in their own country is illustrative. Students attempting to learn English, for example, will need to be naturally adept at languages to become fluent without living in an English-speaking country. The majority of learners will improve faster when making daily transactions in English and learning in the real world outside the classroom. The cultural advantages are also self-evident. English movies and TV shows are realistic to varying degrees but pale in comparison to having actual foreign friends and experiencing firsthand their traditions and culture.

In conclusion, apart from esoteric academic study, nothing can replace the experience of living in another country. Anyone fully committed to understanding the culture and language of another country must factor in a period of time in residence there.

Answers

immersed completely part of

in question relevant here

generally overall

certain exceptions some cases outside the rule

purpose reason

academic interest scholarly interest

a given culture the nation in question

particularly true especially the case

historic period part of history

scholar researcher, student

Ancient Greece the Greeks from thousands of years ago

ruins old buildings, monuments

radically different culture completely different culture

Ancient Greek the language of the Ancient Greeks

profitable benefit more from

Ancients Ancient peoples

on their own by themselves

steeped in immersed in

classic literature old books

works classic literature

provide far greater insight a lot more helpful

vestiges remnants

still standing today not yet gone

nonetheless regardless

cases like the one detailed above examples such as the one just mentioned

rare only sometimes

benefit greatly get a lot out of

more immersive experience more deeply a part of

illustrative shows

naturally adept have a knack for

fluent able to speak well

majority most of

daily transactions paying for things in daily life

real world outside the classroom real life

self-evident obvious

realistic to varying degrees true to some extent

pale in comparison to not as strong as

firsthand your own experience

traditions passed down beliefs and behaviours

apart from besides

esoteric academic study odd area to learn about

nothing can replace irreplaceable

fully committed 100% engaged in

factor in consider

in residence live there

Pronunciation

Listen and repeat:

ɪˈmɜːst 
ɪn ˈkwɛsʧən
ˈʤɛnərəli
ˈsɜːtn ɪkˈsɛpʃənz 
ˈpɜːpəs 
ˌækəˈdɛmɪk ˈɪntrɪst 
ə ˈgɪvn ˈkʌlʧə 
pəˈtɪkjʊləli truː 
hɪsˈtɒrɪk ˈpɪərɪəd
ˈskɒlə 
ˈeɪnʃ(ə)nt griːs 
rʊɪnz 
ˈrædɪkəli ˈdɪfrənt ˈkʌlʧə
ˈeɪnʃ(ə)nt griːk 
ˈprɒfɪtəbl 
ˈeɪnʃ(ə)nts 
ɒn ðeər əʊn 
stiːpt  ɪn
ˈklæsɪk ˈlɪtərɪʧə
wɜːks 
prəˈvaɪd fɑː ˈgreɪtər ˈɪnsaɪt 
ˈvɛstɪʤɪz 
stɪl ˈstændɪŋ təˈdeɪ
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
ˈkeɪsɪz laɪk ðə wʌn ˈdiːteɪld əˈbʌv 
reə 
ˈbɛnɪfɪt ˈgreɪtli 
mɔːr ɪˈmɜːsɪv ɪksˈpɪərɪəns
ˈɪləstreɪtɪv
ˈnæʧrəli ˈædɛpt 
ˈflu(ː)ənt 
məˈʤɒrɪti 
ˈdeɪli trænˈzækʃənz 
rɪəl wɜːld ˌaʊtˈsaɪd ðə ˈklɑːsrʊm
sɛlf-ˈɛvɪdənt
rɪəˈlɪstɪk tuː ˈveəriɪŋ dɪˈgriːz 
peɪl ɪn kəmˈpærɪsn tuː
ˈfɜːstˈhænd 
trəˈdɪʃənz 
əˈpɑːt frɒm 
ˌɛsəʊˈtɛrɪk ˌækəˈdɛmɪk ˈstʌdi
ˈnʌθɪŋ kæn rɪˈpleɪs 
ˈfʊli kəˈmɪtɪd 
ˈfæktər ɪn 
ɪn ˈrɛzɪdəns 

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Many believe that in order to become i______________d in another language and culture it is important to travel to the country i_______________n. I agree g______________y, though there are c______________________s depending on the p________________e for learning.

Those with an a______________________t in a_____________________e often do not need to travel there. This is p______________________e if they are researching an h_____________________d. For example, a s_____________r learning about A____________________e going there today, will only see r________s and a r_____________________________e. A___________________k is no longer even spoken. It would be much more p_______________e for a student of the A__________________s to learn the language fluently o_______________n and become s__________________n their histories and c____________________e. The w_________s of Euripides, Sophocles and Herodotus will p________________________t into the history, culture, and language of the Ancient Greeks than the few v______________s from thousands of years ago s________________________y.

N_______________s, c____________________________________e are r______e and most people will b___________________y from a m__________________________e. The difference between those studying abroad and learning in their own country is i__________________e. Students attempting to learn English, for example, will need to be n____________________t at languages to become f____________t without living in an English-speaking country. The m____________y of learners will improve faster when making d______________________s in English and learning in the r_________________________________m. The cultural advantages are also s________________________t. English movies and TV shows are r____________________________s but p__________________________o having actual foreign friends and experiencing f______________d their t________________s and culture.

In conclusion, a____________m e___________________________y, n______________________e the experience of living in another country. Anyone f____________________d to understanding the culture and language of another country must f________________n a period of time i_________________e there.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Learn here about a day in the life of a student living abroad studying English:

Reading Practice

Learn more immersion from The New York Times here:

Speaking Practice

Answer the following questions from the real speaking exam related to history:

History

Do you like reading books about history?

Which country’s history is most interesting to you?

Which historical event or period do you find most interesting?

Why is it important to read about history?

IELTS Speaking Exam

Writing Practice

Write about the following related topic and then check with my sample answer:

Some believe that we should invent a new language for international communication.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

Real Past IELTS Exam

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