You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Internet technology means people do not need to travel to foreign countries to understand how others live. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
It is true that the digital revolution has enabled a growing number of people to gain access to information about how others live in different countries. While such advances in technology have made more information available, I only agree in part that this had led to greater understanding of the lives of those in other countries.
On the one hand, the tourist trade has experienced phenomenal growth, but this does not mean that those who visit foreign countries leave with any appreciation of the culture or living conditions of the local people. Holiday resorts such as Phuket in Thailand are thronged with tourists at the height of the holiday season. However, overseas visitors remain completely oblivious to how the local inhabitants live. They experience luxury hotels, sunbathe on beaches, or at most go sightseeing on guided tours. To know how people in Thailand live, they would learn much more by watching documentaries or analytical reports on the internet at home.
On the other hand, there are intrepid travellers who prefer to discover for themselves the culture and daily lives of those in foreign countries which they visit. They avoid package
holidays, and instead visit markets, restaurants and places where local people go shopping, eat regional dishes or enjoy music. They enjoy real interaction with locals, and take away memories of the sights, sounds, taste and smells of the culture which they have briefly come to know. In this way, while there might be a wealth of material online describing a country or region, such travellers do not become over-reliant on the opinions or choices of internet contributors.
In conclusion, while personal experience of a place may be supplemented by material available online, there is no substitute for seeing other cultures at first hand.
Vocabulary from technology:
the digital revolution: the advancement of technology to the digital technology available today
Example: The digital revolution has fundamentally changed the way that people work, communicate, behave and even think.
to gain access to the internet/to access the internet: to have the opportunity to use the internet
Example: Millions of people are able to gain access to the internet in cafes, libraries or other public places.
advances in technology: the improvement or development of technology
Example: Recent advances in medical technology are making a great contribution to the search for a cure for Aids.
to become over-reliant on: to need something so that your survival or success depends too much on it
Example: Businesses have become over-reliant on complicated computer systems, so that if these systems fail the results will be disastrous.
Vocabulary from tourism:
to experience phenomenal growth: to experience an extremely successful or special development, especially in a surprising way
Example: In recent decades there has been a substantial diversification in international tourism destinations, and many developing countries have experienced phenomenal growth in tourist arrivals and receipts.
a holiday resort: a place where lots of people go for a holiday
Example: If you like to lie on the beach, Thailand offers some very popular holiday resorts.
to be thronged with tourists: refers to the situation of a place having a great number of visitors crowded together
Example: At weekends, London, in particular, is thronged with tourists and certain areas of the city such as Oxford Street and Covent Garden are swarming with visitors.
the height of the holiday season: the time of year when the greatest number of people visit a place and when the prices are at their highest level
Example: Mid-summer in the UK is normally the height of the holiday season, so remember to book a hotel in advance.
to sunbathe: to sit or lie in the sun, in order to get brown/to get a suntan
Example: I don’t like to sunbathe when I go to the beach, so I spend most of the time swimming in the sea.
to go sightseeing: to look around the places that tourists like to visit
Example: If you go sightseeing in Paris, be sure to see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.
a guided tour: an organized group shown around a place of interest by an expert
Example: The company runs guided tours of Hanoi in English and Japanese.
a package holiday: a holiday that is organized by a company at a fixed price, including the cost of a hotel, travel etc.
Example: Package holidays to Spain started to become popular in the UK in the 1960s.
appreciation [noun]: a full understanding (of something, such as a situation or problem)
Example: She has no appreciation of good food, so don’t invite her to an expensive restaurant.
oblivious of/to [adjective]: not aware (of something)
Example: I don’t know how Mary is able to study in the coffee shop. She seems to be oblivious to all the noise around her.
intrepid [adjective]: very brave, fearless
Example: They are members of an intrepid team of biologists who are studying insects in the Amazon forest.
at first hand [expression]: by seeing or experiencing something yourself, rather than hearing about it from somebody else
Example: He had seen photos of Paris, but his dream was to get to know the city at first hand.