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November 27th, 2007

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10:53 pm - Essay disaster.
I feel crappy ;____;

My roomie's an international student so her English isn't that great, but in one of her classes the prof had them write an essay/term paper on business ethics.  Seeing as 1) she's an international student and 2) she's in finance so term papers/essays really aren't the norm she came to me for help.  The topic she had to write about was Wal-Mart and all the ethical issues that company's had and anyone who knows me knows I adore bitching about corporations and their lack of conscience, ethics and morals so I told her no problem. 

What I didn't expect, however, was instead of proof-reading a final draft I'd basically be writing the thing x___X  I think it came down to her finding the sources she wanted to use, grabbing a few quotes from them, attempting to paraphrase a few ideas/statistics from them, and the rest was in my hands to string the ideas together, come up with a thesis based on the quotes/stats she chose (working backwards lol) and of course seeing to the grammar and mechanicals of the essay.  Not that it was really her fault, the poor girl had no clue how to write a social science paper (had no idea how to write a paper period it seemed) mixed with her poor English; not sure where to find sources, not knowing how/when to cite sources,  what format to use for citations (APA vs. MLA) etc., etc. it was a pretty disastrous venture.  For my part, though, I was, for lack of a better word, quite a b*tch.  I was snappy and impatient, especially towards the end.  I mean I offered to help but was so bitchy while going about it x___X  Geez I feel awful...

Coincidentally, another friend in our building (also an international student) was in the same class as my roommate and she too was writing her paper on Wal-Mart.  When she also came to me asking me to proof-read her paper it really stunned me the differences between the education styles/types between the two countries (China vs. Canada), essay-writing wise anyway.  I mean over here it's been pounded into us since high school that essays begin with an introduction that includes a thesis clearly stating what this paper is going to be about, then you go to the body of the essay to make/prove your points, and finally in the conclusion you sum up everything you write and re-phrase the thesis again.  You know, the "hamburger model" as my high school English teacher so eloquently described it as.  This girl had written her essay like a report, with subheadings and sections instead of paragraphs that linked one idea to another, charts to organize statistics, no thesis, barely any citations and the ones she had were definitely not to format, and had no idea what a bibliography/citations page/reference page was or why it was needed O_____o  At first when she sent me her initial draft she had her "references" (which were all websites that I'm sure she probably just did a quick google for instead of the "reliable" sources profs tend to prefer) simply listed at the end of her "essay", not even on a separate page >____<  It was literally like she had never, ever written an essay before (which I wouldn't be surprised if that was the truth).

Heavens I've never been so grateful to my English teacher in high school.  Just based on that I'm so glad I'm not studying in some foreign country, you find differences in the most unexpected areas of life between cultures.

(12 comments | Leave a comment)


(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:November 28th, 2007 07:52 am (UTC)
I just wanted to comment to thank you for sharing this experience. I guess I usually take my education for granted. =)
[User Picture]
Date:November 28th, 2007 01:22 pm (UTC)
No, you shouldn't've had to write the entire paper for her so don't feel bad about being a bitch.
[User Picture]
Date:November 28th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
I would agree...

you shouldn't be doing her work for her...help her out yes...but don't it for her.. DDD:

But yes...its funny, how you don't take much notice of English back then but come uni and you find it pays off after all... :)
[User Picture]
Date:November 28th, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC)
Jeebus. ._.
Date:November 28th, 2007 09:46 pm (UTC)
Oh please, you should see what comes out of some of the brilliant children of the American heartland. Some of them can't even write in something resembling English their first year of college, and they don't know any other languages. :D
I'm sure you managed to help her a lot, at least.
[User Picture]
Date:November 28th, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)
When you mentioned international students I just thought; "What they think about the essays I write, I wonder...Hmmm". xD
Uh. Do I need to tell how much I hate MLA format? -__-
Good luck,though! I'm sure your roommate is still thankful even though you were impatient. xDDD
Date:November 29th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC)

Many kids here not only don't know how to write essays. They don't even know how to write a sentence. They just hate school and hate English.
[User Picture]
Date:November 29th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)


Oh, it is surprising to hear that they actually did not know have to write the reading reference on the last page of their essay. Didn't they take a essay writing workshop course in their first year? I did take one because it was the compulsory course and I think most students are ought to take the course. ( Specifically, if they are international students because the writing in TOEFL test definitely DO NOT cover how to write an essay or report in university. It just evaluate how well we can write in English.)
Date:November 29th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
As a person who lived and was partly educated in a foreign country, I can attest to that too.I think maybe in a country like China, the emphasis is on learning & absorbing information, and not necessarily applying it: In other words,education in most foreign, developing, etc. countries focus on being able to understand & take in information, whereas is countries like Canada & the US, the emphasis is on being able to utilize that information in a way that demonstrates individual thought, ideas, etc. This is obviously not to say that education in China is inferior to Canada's (whether that is true or not, I'm not sure). Take for example entrance exams, I remember a while ago you told me that in China (and Japan too), students take entrance exams to all levels of school; they are trained to be rigid & conformative in thier conduct & thinking-there is no time to be creative in societies that don't value it. It is somewhat unfortunate, but I think your (and my) appreciation for education in Canada is due to our belief in individualism & creativity.Doing things like essays (despite how mundane & conformative they may seem for us now) are really conduits of personal opinion. That's something I try to remember when I become frustrated with writing essays (like now that I have to write my law essay due Monday!!!)!!!Hopefully your friend didn't take your frustration personally-differences are bound to arise in a clash of cultures.-James
Date:December 1st, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
pls ck your email

Date:December 15th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
confirm your schedule. Dec 20 10:30 London Greyhound staion( on York Street). Right?


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