Task 2 Sample Essay …to what extent

People visiting other countries should adapt to the customs and behaviours expected there. They should not expect the host country to welcome different customs and behaviours. To what extent do you agree or disagree?


Rapid advances in technology over the last century have allowed people to travel more than ever before. This, of course, means that people are visiting countries where the culture is different than their own. While I agree, for the most part, that travellers visiting other countries should behave according to the local customs, there are some valid reasons why host countries should tolerate, if not welcome some of the differences in behaviour that travellers often exhibit.

It makes good sense that travellers should behave in accordance with local customs. The most obvious reason is that shows respect. In Thailand, for example, one is expected to take off shoes before entering a house or temple. It is very easy to follow this rule, regardless of whether it is done at home, and it shows a respect for the culture and the people that will be appreciated. If you want to be treated well when you are travelling, then showing that you are willing to try and follow customs will help, even when you make mistakes. People can always see when someone is trying, and appreciate it. There are two benefits here. One is that the traveller will make good connections with the people of the host country and, secondly, will gain a greater understanding of the host culture and therefore have a richer travelling experience all-round.

There are, however, times when host countries need to welcome, or at least tolerate the cultural differences in behaviour of international visitors. It is not reasonable, for example, for western countries to expect Muslim women to stop wearing a veil whilst they are visiting. Deeply embedded cultural and religious laws have been centuries in the making, and it does not make sense to expect people to discard these kinds of practices so that they can go on holiday. There is also the fact that one simply cannot learn all of the rules of a culture before visiting it. Inevitably, even those travellers who have tried very hard to inform themselves will make a mistake and do something offensive out of sheer ignorance. In an era of increasing travel, host countries need to make allowances for visitors in order to reap the economic and cultural benefits of having then visit.

In conclusion, I believe that, for the most part, travelers should respect their host country and follow the local customs as closely as possible. Host countries should also understand that people cannot change overnight and be flexible and tolerant with their international visitors.

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