Your exam set comes with preparation material that you should use as inspiration when you answer the questions on the topic of living in English-speaking countries. In what follows, we will give you some points on the topic and outline the nine texts in your preparation material.
Discussion of the topic
Your exam set is focused on the topic of living in English-speaking countries.
The preparation material explores points like the importance of having experience abroad, education and work in English-speaking countries, as well as issues like prejudice, discrimination, economic inequality, violence, etc.
As stated in the preparation material, English language becomes one of the key factors that joins the “400 million people living in English-speaking countries” (p. 4, l. 1). Reflect on the fact that English has become a lingua franca (the language people from different countries communicate in) and the importance of having good language skills for those who want to study, train, or work abroad.
The texts in the preparation material also show that living in English speaking countries is a personal experience and is influenced by people’s background and circumstances. While a young person going for studies abroad might have a very positive experience in an English-speaking country, gaining new skills and making new friends, a migrant might have a completely different experience struggling to find a job and being discriminated against. This implies that one should not make generalisations about what it is like to live in an English-speaking country.
In what follows, we will provide summaries of each of the texts in your preparation material.
Text 1: Norwegian vocational students on exchange programmes abroad
Text 1 describes the experience of Silje Steffensen, a student undergoing vocational training in sales and servicing. Silje spent three months on an internship abroad in England, which she believes expanded her horizons and will give her an advantage when she looks for a job.
Text 2: Six reasons why you should study and take part of your apprenticeship training abroad
Text 2 provides a list of reasons why students should do part of their studies or apprenticeships abroad.
The reasons include meeting new people, gaining work experience, changing their perspective on Norway, learning to solve problems and be independent, as well as increasing their prospects of getting a good job back in Norway.
Text 3: What Millennials Want In The Workplace (And Why You Should Start Giving It To Them)
Text 3 is an extract from an article which describes what millennials want from their jobs. Considering that by 2020, millennials will make up about 40% of the working force in the US, the writer argues that employers should pay attention to what they want at work.
According to a study cited by the text, most millennials want to make the world a better place, and they like working independently or under a boss who is more like a mentor. They also want flexible schedules and prefer collaboration over competitiveness. The writer recommends that companies find ways to accommodate the values that millennials have, because they will benefit from attracting the best workers to their companies.
Text 4: Millennials are struggling at work because their parents “gave them medals for coming last”
Text 4 is an article extract in which the author argues that millennials are self-entitled and frustrate their employers, but that this is because of their upbringing. The author cites motivational speaker Simon Sinek who claims that millennials have low self-esteem because of poor parenting and social media. Their parents constantly told them they were special, and this has made them unprepared for the realities of adult life. Therefore, millennials cannot accept negative feedback at work, for example.
Citing Sinek again, the author describes how social media is addictive and makes people feel insecure as well as impatient. Sinek’s message is that professional and emotional success as well as self-confidence take time to build, but have immense rewards.
Text 5: “Everyone has problems, don’t they?”
Text 5 comprises various testimonials of young people regarding issues they are facing while growing up in the UK.
Alexandra McKenzie recalls how, growing up, she was taught that her possibilities are limitless. However, when the economic crisis came, this belief was changed as students began to struggle to find employment or paid internships. She argues governments should make sure there are jobs for higher education graduates.
Hassnain Khan describes how a boy at his school ran away from home after being bullied. He states that he is bullied as well and wishes that people would be kinder to each other.
Samia Meah talks about being homeless, but instead of living on the street, she and her friends are forced to live in temporary cheap accommodation with strangers. She claims that other people like her are usually victims of violence, neglect, or are in this situation because of immigration. She also claims that such people can overcome their situation and be good at what they do, even if they did not get a fair start in life.
Sarah Kigozi is a 16-year-old girl who must take care of both her sick mother and her autistic brother. She also acts as a translator for them as she is the only one who speaks English. She wants to become a psychologist and to build schools in less developed countries.
Lee McConville talks about politicians being unaware of what it is like to grow up in a deprived environment. He recalls how he was surrounded by drugs, prostitution, and crime when he was growing up.
Dan Tait writes about being almost killed by another student because he is gay. He argues that older generations and schools need guidance on how to deal with homophobia.
Text 6: Northern Ireland power-sharing talks
Text 6 includes four opinions about the failure of power-sharing talks in Northern Ireland in 2017.
A 78-year old teacher of Irish from Belfast argues that Sinn Fein should not give in or the Irish will lose their unique identity.
A 14-year old from Belfast states that she is scared the conflict in Northern Ireland will resume if the talks fail.
A 25-year old from Derry claims Northern Ireland should join the Republic of Ireland so that they could stay in the EU once the UK leaves the union.
A 42-year old from Omagh believes Sinn Fein is playing a political game that is threatening ordinary Irish people who need access to good education and good jobs.
Text 7: Everyone Knows This Is Somewhere
Text 7 is an extract from an article. The author describes how he ended up in New York after growing up on a remote farm in North Dakota. The writer claims that people assume that because he is an outsider to New York, he can better describe the city and his experience must be interesting.
He describes how in North Dakota, people leave their car engines running because no-one will steal their car but that this would never happen in New York.
The writer claims he came to New York because he wanted to be cool, but that he realised that he cannot afford to be cool and mocks some allegedly cool people he saw in the city.
He believes New York is full of attractive people, but that New Yorkers do not know how other Americans live, and that other Americans are similarly confused about New Yorkers. However, contrary to common opinion, New Yorkers are friendly and helpful. The writer suspects it is because most New Yorkers are not originally from New York.
While living in New York, the writer also noticed that people often shared typical New York experiences, such as having a mouse in their apartment. The writer ends by claiming that although New York is sometimes stressful and expensive, it is also a great place to live in, and he would not live anywhere else.
Text 8: Facts and Figures about Young People in some English-speaking Countries
Text 8 includes some statistics about young people in English-speaking countries.
The first graph shows that since the early 1990s, teen pregnancy, childbirth, and abortion rates in the US have been dropping and reached an all-time low in 2011.
The second set of statistics reveal that 1 in 4 Australians between 16 and 24 years old has a mental disorder, and that young women are more likely to have anxiety or affective disorders than young men. The top three issues young Australians are concerned with are study issues, stress, and body image.
The third statistic shows unemployment levels for 16-24 year olds according to ethnicity. It shows that black young people are significantly more likely to be unemployed compared to other ethnicities.
The last statistic reveals that the literacy rate in India is significantly higher for young men than for young women.
Text 9: Popular: Vintage Wisdom from a Modern Geek
Text 10 is an excerpt from the introductory section of a book by Maya van Wagenen.
The narrator starts by describing a series of humiliating school experiences such as being called names or laughed at in the gym locker room. She then lists the types of school groups according to popularity. At the top are the volleyball girls, at the bottom are the people who are completely ignored, which includes social outcasts and teachers. The narrator belongs to the social outcasts group together with her friend Kenzie.
She claims that guides on how to become popular have been around since the 1950s. She recalls how her dad once bought an old book, “Betty Cornell’s Teen-Age Popularity Guide”, which gave tips on how to be popular.
When Maya stumbles upon it, she does not have high expectations. However, when her mother suggests that she follow the book’s advice, Betty Cornell’s words remind her that she does care about being popular and liked. The narrator announces that she knows the book will change her life.
Answer either 1A or 1B.
In which English-speaking country would you most like to take part of your education and training? Write a short text in which you explain why you would want to live and attend school and training in this country. Use ideas from the preparation material in your text.
Your friend from India has asked you to help her with an e-mail she is sending to her school principal complaining about her school. You can see the first version of her e-mail below. Write a short text in which you give her some advice about how to make it more formal. Use examples from the e-mail.
The following tasks are based on your preparation topic “Living in English-speaking countries”.
Answer either 2A, 2B, 2C, or 2D.
Create a text informing a group of English-speaking visitors about the profession or trade you are aiming for. Inform them about:
· The profession or trade you are aiming for
· The education or training that is required
· The importance of this profession or trade in society
· What skills are important in this profession or trade, and why
· What employers are looking for in a good employee, and why
Give your text a suitable title.
During your course you have studied social and cultural issues in English-speaking countries. Create a text in which you discuss one of these issues and how it affects young people. Use the information in the preparation material and/or other sources to support your text. Give your text a suitable title.
Literature and films give us insight into other views and ideas about life, thereby broadening our understanding of the world. Create a text in which you present two characters from Englishlanguage literary texts or films. Discuss the ways in which they have broadened your understanding of at least two of the following points:
· love and happiness or pain and grief
Give your text a suitable title.
In text 6 of the preparation material you can read about different people’s views about a news story in Northern Ireland. Consider a recent news story from an English-speaking country that you have discussed during your course. How might people of different ages, genders or backgrounds react to this story?
Create a text that discusses your chosen news story from the point of view of one or more of the people pictured below. You are free to choose where this person may be from and what their life situation may be.
Give your text a suitable title.