Essay 194 – When in Rome, do as the Romans do

GT Writing Task 2 / Essay Sample # 194

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

It is often said, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Do you think people should adapt and accept the culture of the country they visit? Also, do you think it is possible to learn a culture without learning the language?

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

Write at least 250 words.


Model Answer:

The conventional adage is that when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I, however, entirely agree with the notion that visitors should embrace and respect the customs of the country of destination, and learning the native language plays a vital role in understanding the culture it is associated with.

To start with, tourists ought to accustom themselves to the culture and tradition of the country they tour. The reason why they should adapt to the local culture is that it helps to promote harmony between nations. That is to say that when people have a deep understanding of another culture, they are able to know different worldviews, and can exchange, negotiate and mediate cultural differences. As a result, a sense of harmony is developed around the globe. Not only does this foster harmony, as well as resolves conflicts. Therefore, holidaymakers should respect and follow the cultures of the country they visit.

In my opinion, however, it proves impossible to comprehend a culture without knowing the language. This is because the culture is a language in itself. Language always conveys meanings beyond itself. In fact, the meanings of a particular language manifest the culture of a particular social group. Acquisition of a language, therefore, is not only knowing the alphabet, the meanings, the arrangements of words, the grammatical rules, but it is also gaining knowledge on the behavioural pattern of the society and its cultural norms. Thus, we are unable to understand a culture without learning the language because of their intrinsic relationship.

To recapitulate, tourists should espouse the local culture in order to cultivate harmony, which in turn, will avert conflict. However, I am of the opinion that it is impossible to arrive at the proper understanding of any culture without learning the language due to their intimate connection.

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