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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer about students living abroad written by me, Dave, a former IELTS examiner.

I did this question with one of my classes and I found that it was a great teaching tool for two reasons.

Firstly, because students very slightly misunderstood the question. That slight misunderstanding led to lots of them getting band 5 for task achievement.

Here is the question:

Compared to the past, more people are now studying abroad because it is more convenient and cheaper than before. Do you think this is beneficial to the foreign student’s home country? Will this trend change much in the future?

Real Past IELTS Cambridge Tests

There is one tricky part. The topic is simple enough – more and more people study abroad now (you can ignore the convenience and cheaper part; it’s not important for the questions that you have to answer).

The tricky part is in the first question – will it be beneficial to the foreign student’s home country?

A lot of my students focused on individual benefits: a better career, more money, etc.

That is irrelevant to the question and will get you a band 4 or 5 for task achievement.

Instead, you must focus on the benefits for the home country: more specialised knowledge, more creative ideas, economic development, etc.

The second part of the question is simpler – just state whether or not you will think it will continue and why. For this part you could talk about individual benefits like making more money as the reason why the trend will continue.

Secondly, this question lends itself to a really detailed, specific answer and that is the most important skill to pracitce for your IELTS writing task 2.

I’m sure that you can think of lots of famous examples from your country of entrepreneurs, scientists, or politicians who studied abroad at some point.

Read below for my essay, analysis and more!

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer by Dave: Studying Abroad

Compared to the past, more people are now studying abroad because it is more convenient and cheaper than before. Do you think this is beneficial to the foreign student’s home country? Will this trend change much in the future?

Nowadays, there are more and more students choosing to study overseas due to a variety of benefits for their own future life and career. From my perspective, I believe that this trend can also be beneficial to the foreign student’s home country and will continue developing in the next few years because of these benefits.

I think it is beneficial to the foreign student’s home country because after they finish studying, they may choose to come back and contribute to their homeland. For example, Vietnamese Professor, Ngo Bao Chau was announced by the 2010 International Congress of Mathematics as one of four mathematicians to win the Fields Medal, which is the world’s most prestigious mathematics award. After returning to Vietnam, he started to help and encourage aspiring Vietnamese from universities to study mathematics further. He not only contributed directly to the burgeoning field of Vietnamese mathematics but also continues to serve as aspirational example to students of the rewards of studying abroad and then returning home.

In the future, I believe that this trend will continue as both foreign and domestic countries will support students through scholarships. For example, in Vietnam it is common for students to apply for scholarships to study in countries like the USA, the UK, Australia, France, and so on. These countries have the means and are willing to support students from foreign countries because it enhances the diversity of their campuses. Additionally, the government in Vietnam encourages studying abroad through scholarships for underprivileged students. They do this because students who study abroad typically return to Vietnam and help push forward economic development, as in the case of Ngo Bao Chau.

In conclusion, I feel that there are clear advantages for the foreign student’s home country because of their potential academic and economic contributions after coming back home. Developing nations in particular should invest heavily in programs to send students abroad, besides funding their own educational infrastructure, if they want to have the kind of secure foundation that will allow the country to flourish for many years.

Word count: 340 (a bit high – aim for 300!)

Analysis

1. Nowadays, there are more and more students choosing to study overseas due to a variety of benefits for their own future life and career. 2. From my perspective, I believe that this trend can also be beneficial to the foreign student’s home country and will continue developing in the next few years because of these benefits.

  1. My first sentence is a topic sentence that lays out the topic for the whole essay. Don’t waste much time writing this sentence, just quickly paraphrase the general topic for the essay.
  2. The second sentence gives my opinions about the two questions asked. This is important for your task achievement and cohesion/coherence scores. You don’t have to include your main ideas in your introduction.

1. I think it is beneficial to the foreign student’s home country because after they finish studying, they may choose to come back and contribute to their homeland. 2. For example, Vietnamese Professor, Ngo Bao Chau was announced by the 2010 International Congress of Mathematics as one of four mathematicians to win the Fields Medal, which is the world’s most prestigious mathematics award. 3. After returning to Vietnam, he started to help and encourage aspiring Vietnamese from universities to study mathematics further. 4. He not only contributed directly to the burgeoning field of Vietnamese mathematics but also continues to serve as aspirational example to students of the rewards of studying abroad and then returning home.

  1. The first sentence is my topic sentence for this paragraph which contains two parts: the topic (benefits to the home country) and my main idea (come back and contribute. Keep this sentence short, simple and clear!
  2. My second sentence begins my example. Don’t waste any time getting to your example. The faster you start writing about it, the more you will be able to develop it fully.
  3. The third sentence continues my example. Don’t run away from your examples – keep developing them fully because it will help your task achievement, cohesion and coherence and force you to use more good vocabulary.
  4. My final sentence concludes the paragraph and adds further detail to my example. The more you develop your example, the higher your task achievement score will be!

1. In the future, I believe that this trend will continue as both foreign and domestic countries will support students through scholarships. 2. For example, in Vietnam it is common for students to apply for scholarships to study in countries like the USA, the UK, Australia, France, and so on. 3. These countries have the means and are willing to support students from foreign countries because it enhances the diversity of their campuses. 4. Additionally, the government in Vietnam encourages studying abroad through scholarships for underprivileged students. 5. They do this because students who study abroad typically return to Vietnam and help push forward economic development, as in the case of Ngo Bao Chau.

  1. My first sentence is a topic sentence that contains both the topic and the main idea for the whole paragraph. Focus on one main idea so that you can develop it 100%!
  2. The second sentence begins my example right away – just like in the last paragraph.
  3. My next sentence develops my example.
  4. The fourth sentence further develops the example – keep developing!
  5. The fifth sentence further supports my main reason by detailing the reason why countries invest in scholarships.

1. In conclusion, I feel that there are clear advantages for the foreign student’s home country because of their potential academic and economic contributions after coming back home. 2. Developing nations in particular should invest heavily in programs to send students abroad, besides funding their own educational infrastructure, if they want to have the kind of secure foundation that will allow the country to flourish for many years.

  1. My first sentence is a topic sentence that lays out the topic for the whole essay. Don’t waste much time writing this sentence, just quickly paraphrase the general topic for the essay.
  2. The second sentence gives my opinions about the two questions asked. This is important for your task achievement and cohesion/coherence scores. You don’t have to include your main ideas in your introduction.

Vocabulary Practice

Try to write a definition or a synonym for the vocabulary in bold below.

Nowadays, there are more and more students choosing to study overseas due to a variety of benefits for their own future life and career. From my perspective, I believe that this trend can also be beneficial to the foreign student’s home country and will continue developing in the next few years because of these benefits.

I think it is beneficial to the foreign student’s home country because after they finish studying, they may choose to come back and contribute to their homeland. For example, Vietnamese Professor, Ngo Bao Chau was announced by the 2010 International Congress of Mathematics as one of four mathematicians to win the Fields Medal, which is the world’s most prestigious mathematics award. After returning to Vietnam, he started to help and encourage aspiring Vietnamese from universities to study mathematics further. He not only contributed directly to the burgeoning field of Vietnamese mathematics but also continues to serve as aspirational example to students of the rewards of studying abroad and then returning home.

In the future, I believe that this trend will continue as both foreign and domestic countries will support students through scholarships. For example, in Vietnam it is common for students to apply for scholarships to study in countries like the USA, the UK, Australia, France, and so on. These countries have the means and are willing to support students from foreign countries because it enhances the diversity of their campuses. Additionally, the government in Vietnam encourages studying abroad through scholarships for underprivileged students. They do this because students who study abroad typically return to Vietnam and help push forward economic development, as in the case of Ngo Bao Chau.

In conclusion, I feel that there are clear advantages for the foreign student’s home country because of their potential academic and economic contributions after coming back home. Developing nations in particular should invest heavily in programs to send students abroad, besides funding their own educational infrastructure, if they want to have the kind of secure foundation that will allow the country to flourish for many years.

Answers

variety lots of different kinds

From my perspective I think

trend general direction

beneficial good for

benefits the verb form meaning something is good for

contribute add to

homeland where you’re from

announced make public

mathematicians academics who study math

prestigious renowned/sought-after

encourage support

burgeoning emerging

aspirational something to look up to (adjective)

rewards benefits

scholarships money to study abroad

apply for scholarships ask for scholarship money

the means the ability to be able to

enhances makes stronger

diversity different races, genders, orientations, etc.

underprivileged students poor students

push forward economic development boost the economy

contributions efforts/help

invest heavily put money into

educational infrastructure schools in a country

secure foundation strong infrastructure that will last

flourish do very well

Pronunciation

vəˈraɪəti 
frɒm maɪ pəˈspɛktɪv
trɛnd 
ˌbɛnɪˈfɪʃəl
ˈbɛnɪfɪts
kənˈtrɪbju(ː)t 
ˈhəʊmlænd
əˈnaʊnst 
ˌmæθɪməˈtɪʃənz 
prɛˈstɪʤəs 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤ 
kənˈtrɪbju(ː)tɪd 
ˈbɜːʤənɪŋ
ˌæspəˈreɪʃ(ə)n(ə)l 
rɪˈwɔːdz
ˈskɒləʃɪps
əˈplaɪ fɔː ˈskɒləʃɪps 
ðə miːnz 
ɪnˈhɑːnsɪz 
daɪˈvɜːsɪti 
ˌʌndəˈprɪvɪlɪʤd ˈstjuːdənts
pʊʃ ˈfɔːwəd ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk dɪˈvɛləpmənt
ˌkɒntrɪˈbjuːʃənz 
ɪnˈvɛst ˈhɛvɪli 
ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃənl ˈɪnfrəˌstrʌkʧə
sɪˈkjʊə faʊnˈdeɪʃən
ˈflʌrɪʃ

More Vocabulary Practice

Nowadays, there are more and more students choosing to study overseas due to a ____________of benefits for their own future life and career. ____________, I believe that this ____________ can also be ____________ to the foreign student’s home country and will continue developing in the next few years because of these ____________ .

I think it is beneficial to the foreign student’s home country because after they finish studying, they may choose to come back and ____________ to their ____________ . For example, Vietnamese Professor, Ngo Bao Chau was ____________ by the 2010 International Congress of Mathematics as one of four ____________ to win the Fields Medal, which is the world’s most ____________ mathematics award. After returning to Vietnam, he started to help and ____________ aspiring Vietnamese from universities to study mathematics further. He not only ____________ directly to the ____________ field of Vietnamese mathematics but also continues to serve as ____________ example to students of the ____________ of studying abroad and then returning home.

In the future, I believe that this trend will continue as both foreign and domestic countries will support students through ____________ . For example, in Vietnam it is common for students to ____________ to study in countries like the USA, the UK, Australia, France, and so on. These countries have ____________ and are willing to support students from foreign countries because it the ____________ of their campuses. Additionally, the government in Vietnam encourages studying abroad through scholarships for ____________ . They do this because students who study abroad typically return to Vietnam and help ____________ , as in the case of Ngo Bao Chau.

In conclusion, I feel that there are clear advantages for the foreign student’s home country because of their potential academic and economic ____________ after coming back home. Developing nations in particular should in programs to send students abroad, besides funding their own ____________ , if they want to have the kind of ____________ that will allow the country to ____________ for many years.

Links

This is a video related to studying abroad. You can use some of the ideas here about listening to practice while you watch.

Here is a related article and some ideas for how to read the news and improve your IELTS reading score.

Was my study abroad experience authentic? From The New York Times

Comment your own writing or any other questions that you have below!


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