Essay Learning foreign language - at home or abroad

Hi all,

I’ve written an essay for the independent essay question on Toefl.

According to the practice book I’m using, a good response requires test takers to
write 300 - 350 words. My essay exceeds that amount though … it’s 403 words.
Does anyone know if this would cost me points???

Also, would be great if I could get some feedback on the essay. Thanks.

Here it is:

Most people learn a foreign language in their home country, most likely at school or via
a language course. Others choose to go abroad to learn the language in its native environment. Both methods have their up- and downsides.

Studying in the country were the language is spoken, has the advantage that you will be ‘surrounded’ by the language everyday, which will increase your learning speed and help build your vocabulary. Chances are that the local people do not speak your language, so you are forced to communicate with them in their language. This will help you get over the fear of speaking in a foreign language quicker.

Another positive factor of learning in the local environment is that you have the opportunity to learn more about the culture of the country as well. Language and culture are interwoven, knowing more about a country’s culture, will help you to understand the language better too. Especially when it comes to sayings and proverbs.

However, studying a foreign language in your home country has the advantage that it is convenient and probably cheaper, because you do not have to travel abroad which will cost you time and money.

Also, unless you have unlimited time and money, or move permanently to the country were the language you’re learning is spoken, a language study abroad is most likely to be of short duration. When you study in your home country these time and money constraints are less pressing and chances are you can continue your studies for a longer period of time. Eventhough your progress may be a bit slower, the positive side of this can be that you build a better foundation. Especially when it comes to grammar. Cramming and remembering grammar rules is hard, the longer time you have to learn them and put them to use, the better. Therefore an ongoing course in your home country might offer a better basis in the long run.

From the above we can conclude that both ways of learning a foreign language have their advantages. However, based on my personal experience, I would strongly recommend people to seize the opportunity to go abroad and learn the language in its natural environment. I have learned Spanish via an intensive course in Guatemala and it was well worth the time and money. I have never learned a language quicker and it was the most rewarding experience of my life!

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between a university adviser and a student

Absolutely faultless! You are awarded the much coveted 10/10.


Wow, That’s your first 10 Kitos. You must be proud of yourself Asterix, you are the first one.


Hi Kitos,

Thanks very much for the feedback - that’s very encouraging.

Still, does anyone know anything about the word limit on Toefl essays??
Once typing, I seem to get carried away …:slight_smile:

Cheers, Asterix

I hate to give a ten. It reminds me of my own shortcomings when another can write so faultlessly.

Nevertheless Asterix, I gladly award you your just deserts.