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Russian and American Teens
It is a widely known fact that America and Russia are different countries with different cultures, and therefore can be compared. The first thing to be discussed is the family. The number of children in a family is discussed. There are certain advantages and disadvantages of being an only child. The advantages are: an only child has his or her own room, doesn't have to share things, he or she is always the centre of attention. The disadvantage is that an only child is spoilt and lonely.
In America the idea of responsibility is very popular. Children have to do chores around the house, such as washing up, shopping, mowing the lawn, taking out the garbage. But some Russian parents find it cruel to have their children work.
Another strong American value is independence. There are certain differences in school life in America and in Russia. In America youth can choose your own classes. But in America students don't have as much homework as in Russia. So, American schools differ from Russian schools in student choices and amount of homework.
American students like hanging out with their friends. They do sports in their free time. Most American students combine doing homework and relaxing. Another distinctive feature of Americans is that most American high school students have a job, usually a part-time job.
Thus they gain experience and make some money. More American students work. Some jobs of American students are: delivering newspapers, baby-sitting, working as a camp counsellor, or in a cafe, etc. Maybe this is what makes them so independent from their parents at such a young age. It isn't always easy to keep a job and still do well in school. But American children learn early that you have to work hard to win. Winning is a part of the American way of life.
Extracurricular activities are basketball, football, baseball, track and field, sometimes chess, drama, riding, music, etc. Then in American schools there are classes on religion. About 40% of Americans go to church every week. Most American children are full of energy and confidence, ready to go out and make their own way in the world. A serious problem is taking drugs, but the truth is that fewer and fewer young Americans are trying them.
Typical American teenagers are in fact very ordinary. They think their teachers make them work too hard, they love their parents but sure they don't understand anything. They think that their friendships are the most important things in their lives. 'America," wrote Emerson, the nineteenth-century writer, "is a country of young men." That's not quite true anymore. The population is growing older. Fewer and fewer babies are being born, and baby-food factories are closing down. America does not belong to young people anymore in the way it did only twenty years ago. Young people today have to fight harder to get the kinds of jobs and homes they want. Maybe that is why young Americans are more serious now than they used to.
Vocabulary therefore — поэтому advantage — преимущество disadvantage — недостаток to share — делиться spoilt — испорченный lonely — одинокий responsibility — ответственность chores — дела по дому to mow the lawn — косить газон to take out the garbage — выносить мусор cruel — жестоким independence — независимость choice — выбор amount — количество to hang out — болтаться distinctive feature — отличительная черта to combine — сочетать baby-sitter — приходящая няня to win — выигрывать extracurricular activity — внеклассные занятия track and field — легкая атлетика religion — религия to gain — приобретать ordinary — обычный to spend — тратить to earn — зарабатывать
Questions 1. What is different in the cultures of the USA and Russia? 2. What are advantages and disadvantages of having one child? 3. Do you have brothers or sisters? 4. What do American teens usually do at home? 5. What are your chores? 6. What is different in school life in America and in Russia? 7. What do you usually do in your free time? 8. Do you combine school with a part-time job? Why? 9. What are extracurricular activities in American schools? 10. What are your extracurricular activities?
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