Comparative Essay : Go West, Young People ! And East !

Comparative Essay : Go West, Young People ! And East !

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If you hate traveling and have no real interest or need in learning a foreign language, it would probably be pretty hard for someone to convince you that it’s a good idea to go to a non-English speaking country for a year to learn that language and culture. I would suggest not reading this essay if that is your situation. However, if you are someone who has never travelled but has always wanted to and the idea of learning a foreign language seems fun this essay might encourage you. Nicholas Kristoff has written an article on his opinion of studying abroad. Although Kristoff comes off as condescending to his fellow Americans and is not wholly realistic, Americans should study abroad because it does bring a more complete understanding of a foreign language and culture.
In “Go West, Young People! And East!” Nicholas Kristoff states that he believes all young Americans should study abroad to master a foreign language and culture. He states that studying abroad and learning more languages leads to success by using Utah as an example since it is one of the most successful states to do business in and is “a center for trade and global companies”. Kristoff reveals that foreign universities send more than triple the amount of students abroad than American universities. His counter to this would be for all Americans to learn Spanish but in another country because it would be thrilling and produce a more solid foundation in learning other languages. He also teases that learning in class is not as effective as studying abroad by having the reader test themselves with a question he has invented to prove this by asking if the reader knows how to say doorknob in a language they studied. Kristoff then tells a joke that “What is a person called...


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...rage those students who are interested in studying abroad. Most students don’t know what they want to study in undergrad but having that time and experience would give them a chance to discover other passions they may have. It would also give them an advantage when they take college courses to learn more about the non-English language they have been developing during their gap year.
Not having any experience studying abroad it’s difficult to assume the impact it would have on someone. From my personal experience with a non-English language, I believe it would have helped me learn French. It is possible for my point of view to change although I doubt it would be from someone who has no experience studying abroad. I would love to read someone’s essay that disagrees with Kristoff and has studied abroad because it may change my outlook. For now, I agree with Kristoff.

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