Ielts Essay Culture Shock

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample 843 - Do the benefits of studying abroad outweigh the drawbacks?

Last Updated: Friday, 28 April 2017 18:55
Written by IELTS Mentor
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IELTS Writing Task 2/ IELTS Essay:

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

More and more students are choosing to study at colleges and universities in a foreign country. Do the benefits of studying abroad outweigh the drawbacks?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

Model Answer 1:
Nowadays, more students choose to study abroad than ever before. While there are good benefits in studying in a foreign country, I believe that the drawbacks outweigh the positive impacts this trend has.

On the one hand, there are many benefits of studying abroad. Firstly, overseas students become more independent by living alone in foreign country. For instance, they are responsible for cleaning, cooking, and paying bills. Secondly, moving to other countries can broaden students’ horizons. They get exposed to different cultures and customs and gain knowledge about them. Also, overseas students learn foreign languages to cope with the new culture they involved in. Finally, foreign institutions offer better courses for students .The qualification gained open the door to get better job opportunities with high salaries.

On the other hand, I would argue that studying abroad has more negative impacts than the positive one. One problem is that it can affect students psychologically. Studying alone in an unfamiliar culture can lead to homesickness or even depression. Also, this different culture may lead to culture shock which may affect the student’s performance. Another drawback of studying overseas is that students can experience some problems with paperwork like visa permit and may struggle to find suitable accommodation and paying their bills. This may add more pressure on the students and interrupt their studying. Furthermore, the language barrier may exacerbate the situation. Studying in a foreign language is a difficult task to many students and if they failed to master the language and communication skill, this may lead to the isolation from the community and might cause a failure in studying.

In conclusion, the drawback of studying abroad outweighs the benefit and this decision needs more assessment from the students.

[ Written by - Safa Ahmed  ]


Model Answer 2:
It is true that the number of students who choose to study overseas has increased rapidly in the past few years. Studying in a foreign country has its own positive and negative sides, but I personally believe that it has more benefits for the students themselves.

On the one hand, some believe that the choice of studying abroad have some disadvantages. One of the reasons is that studying overseas will cost more than studying in the home country. It is necessary for parents to spend more money on airplane tickets, accommodations, foods and clothes, besides tuition fees and uniforms. Another reason is that students might be unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the culture, environment and language of the new country. As a consequence, it might have a negative effect on their mental condition and academic performance. Adopting in a new environment often hampers the natural flow of study for many students and some students do not continue their study to earn money when they are abroad.

On the other hand, another group of people think that studying in another country brings so many positive aspects for the students themselves.  Firstly, by studying in a new country, students will have a chance to learn new languages and new cultures. Secondly, students will learn about how to live independently, like cleaning their own rooms or doing the laundry by themselves. Thirdly, they could make new friends with people from other countries and get familiar with multicultural environments. Lastly, it is a fact that in certain countries, international graduate certificate gives additional values when the students search for jobs.

In conclusion, it is undeniable that the preference of studying in a foreign country has its own benefits and drawbacks. Despite all the disadvantages, I believe that it has more advantages for the students themselves, therefore young people should be encouraged to study in a new country. Although some of them might have difficulties with the fees, but many international scholarships are offered these days.

[ Written by -  Darwin Lesmana]


Academic IELTS Reading Sample 255 - Australian culture and culture shock

Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2017 20:10
Written by IELTS Mentor
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You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1- 13, which are based on Reading Passage 255 below.

Australian culture and culture shock

Sometimes work, study or a sense of adventure take us out of our familiar surroundings to go and live in a different culture. The experience can be difficult, even shocking.

Almost everyone who studies, lives or works abroad has problems adjusting to a new culture. This response is commonly referred to as 'culture shock'. Culture shock can be defined as 'the physical and emotional discomfort a person experiences when entering a culture different from their own' (Weaver, 1993).

For people moving to Australia, Price (2001) has identified certain values which may give rise to culture shock. Firstly, he argues that Australians place a high value on independence and personal choice. This means that a teacher or course tutor will not tell students what to do, but will give them a number of options and suggest they work out which one is the best in their circumstances. It also means that they are expected to take action if something goes wrong and seek out resources and support for themselves.

Australians are also prepared to accept a range of opinions rather than believing there is one truth. This means that in an educational setting, students will be expected to form their own opinions and defend the reasons for that point of view and the evidence for it.

Price also comments that Australians are uncomfortable with differences in status and hence idealise the idea of treating everyone equally. An illustration of this is that most adult Australians call each other by their first names. This concern with equality means that Australians are uncomfortable taking anything too seriously and are even ready to joke about themselves.

Australians believe that life should have a balance between work and leisure time. As a consequence, some students may be critical of others who they perceive as doing nothing but study.

Australian notions of privacy mean that areas such as financial matters, appearance and relationships are only discussed with close friends. While people may volunteer such information, they may resent someone actually asking them unless the friendship is firmly established. Even then, it is considered very impolite to ask someone what they earn. With older people, it is also rude to ask how old they are, why they are not married or why they do not have children. It is also impolite to ask people how much they have paid for something, unless there is a very good reason for asking.

Kohls (1996) describes culture shock as a process of change marked by four basic stages. During the first stage, the new arrival is excited to be in a new place, so this is often referred to as the "honeymoon" stage. Like a tourist, they are intrigued by all the new sights and sounds, new smells and tastes of their surroundings. They may have some problems, but usually, they accept them as just part of the novelty. At this point, it is the similarities that stand out, and it seems to the newcomer that people everywhere and their way of life are very much alike. This period of euphoria may last from a couple of weeks to a month, but the letdown is inevitable.

During the second stage, known as the 'rejection' stage, the newcomer starts to experience difficulties due to the differences between the new culture and the way they were accustomed to living. The initial enthusiasm turns into irritation, frustration, anger and depression, and these feelings may have the effect of people rejecting the new culture so that they notice only the things that cause them trouble, which they then complain about. In addition, they may feel homesick, bored, withdrawn and irritable during this period as well.

Fortunately, most people gradually learn to adapt to the new culture and move on to the third stage, known as 'adjustment and reorientation'. During this stage, a transition occurs to a new optimistic attitude. As the newcomer begins to understand more of the new culture, they are able to interpret some of the subtle cultural clues which passed by unnoticed earlier. Now things make more sense and the culture seems more familiar. As a result, they begin to develop problem-solving skills, and feelings of disorientation and anxiety no longer affect them.

In Kohls's model, in the fourth stage, newcomers undergo a process of adaptation. They have settled into the new culture, and this results in a feeling of direction and self-confidence. They have accepted the new food, drinks, habits and customs and may even find themselves enjoying some of the very customs that bothered them so much previously. In addition, they realise that the new culture has good and bad things to offer and that no way is really better than another, just different.

Questions 1-6

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage?


TRUE         if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE        if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN  if there is no information on this

1. Australian teachers will suggest alternatives to students rather than offer one solution.

2. In Australia, teachers will show interest in students’ personal circumstances.

3. Australians use people’s first names so that everyone feels their status is similar.

4. Students who study all the time may receive positive comments from their colleagues.

5. It is acceptable to discuss financial issues with people you do not know well.

6. Younger Australians tend to be friendlier than older Australians.

Questions 7-13

Complete the table below.

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.




Newcomers' reaction to problems



They notice the 8………. between different nationalities and cultures.

They may experience this stage for up to 9……….



They reject the new culture and lose the 10………. they had at the beginning.



and reorientation

They can understand some 11 ………. which they had not previously observed.

They learn 12………. for dealing with difficulties.



They enjoy some of the customs that annoyed them before.


Click the button to Show/ Hide Answers.

7. Honeymoon
8. similarities
9. a month
10. enthusiasm
11. cultural clues
12. problem-solving skills
13. adaptation



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