Comparison / Contrast is a commonly used technique in writing. we are always comparing / contrasting things in our every day life. What clothes to choose, what courses to take, what job to apply and so on. For this practice, I asked my students to write about their country and the United States. I wanted to see their view as a person born and raised in another country.

These are some of the paragraphs and essays written in class.

Two Countries, Two Worlds

I was born and raised in Guatemala, capital city. At the age of 19,I left everything behind to come to the USA and settled in New York City. After living here for some months, I could see some similar services between both countries. However, I found some differences between these two countries.

To begin, traffic, distances between towns are huge in New York.  You need a car to survive because the bus is a difficult transportation to take. Also, it takes so long to go from one place to another. Consequently, your time gets shorter and walking is not an option to move on. On the other hand, in Guatemala, towns are very close to each other. You can easily  go from one place to another by bus. In addition, a car is not a need, it is a luxury.  Besides walking, taking the bus is even better.

Secondary, education, in the United States most of the schools are free, students have the freedom to wear the clothes they want and have the style they prefer. They can even take the subjects that best suit them. Moreover, there are expensive colleges. In contrast, schools in Guatemala are expensive, students have to obey dress codes, frequently haircuts, and also they have to take the subjects and themes that the government provides to schools. There are different colleges with a variety of prices for different economic situation.

Third of all, lifestyle, in America it is very common to have more than one job, as well as, start working at a very young age. The use of coupons for shopping is common, the laws are followed, the rights are important as the safety. However in Guatemala, most of the people just have one job at a time, youngers work if they have poorly lives. There are no ways to save money when you shop, no one cares or follow the laws and that includes politicians, policemen, citizen, etc. Rights have no importance. People abuse of others, no matter their age. More than 85% of the country is poor and not educated. As a result, this system produces plenty of delinquency around the country.

The big contrast between this countries can  be related to their size, polities, currency, values, population, and racial diversity (only in The United States). The United States is the place to have better opportunities in life , but only if you respect the country. Guatemala is the place where you can take a short vacation. Therefore, it is a country for pleasure but not for living.

The Spirit of Two Big Cities

Surprisingly for me, two big cities New York in USA and Moscow in Russia have a number of impressive similarities which make lifestyle absolutely comparable for both.  Obviously, some things are quite different like some aspects of political life, language, weather, and some local traditions, but in the contemporary world, I would say that large mega-policies have much more in common than you could expect.

One of the visible similarities between two cities is the transportation system. Both New York and Moscow have well-developed and complicated road systems as well large numbers of transport types to help people move from one part to another and quickly reach their destinations. For instance, New York has two large international airports handling hundreds of international flights daily, while Moscow has three major ones supporting the same role. Moreover, both cities have such variety of transport types as railroad trains, metro trains (subway), river ferries,  air trains, buses, minibuses, taxi cars, helicopters and even horse transport for some cases.  As a visitor, you need to invest a lot of time for studying conjunctions, ways and railroad maps in order to ensure that you can move effectively across both cities.

The second important similarity is a diversity of different nations and ethnic groups. New York as some “melting pot” adsorbs many immigrants from other countries just like Moscow does. The only difference is that unlike New York, which is the resort for immigrants from worldwide, Moscow historically is an immigrant center only for people from nearby countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and so on. It is important for both cities to provide necessary conditions and facilities for immigrants integration into the life and to the job. In this case, immigrants help improve the city’s economy and provide necessary human resources for intensive development and widening of the mega-police area.

The third key similarity I would mention here is architecture and some lifestyle aspects. Maybe just by intentionally coping, but the city skyscrapers area was constructed in Moscow absolutely similar to New York Manhattan, but smaller. Generally, I can describe an architectural style of both cities combination of the historical buildings and modern metal and glass constructions.  Similar to New York, Moscow has to continue redeveloping the city area, constructing new buildings, refreshing and updating all infrastructure. There are a lot of modern-fashioned cinema theaters, restaurants,  nightclubs, fast food places, cafes, concert halls, sports stadiums and supermarkets which create some recognizable for every big city citizen lifestyle. Sometimes, in your daily life, when you are with your family spend time in one of the shopping areas you can even forget in which city you are now due to the absolutely similar spirit of the place. The boutiques brands in the big Moscow malls are usually similar to New York, for example, you can find such clothes shop as Ecco, Tommy, Guess, Gap etc. If you decide to have some food,  you can find well-known places like TG Fridays,  KFC and other ones.

In conclusion, I would reinforce that despite differences in political and local traditions between New York and Moscow, many aspects like transportation, nations diversity,  the architecture, and lifestyle are the same. Sometimes you may not even feel some differences when you are visiting the shopping center, cafe or movie theater in either city..

Two countries, two traditions

The United States ( the USA) is a  voluminous country localized in north america and is a developed country, while Dominican Republic (DR) is a  microscopical isle situated in the caribbean and is a sub-developed country. Thus they have more differences than similarities. Although Dominican Republic was conquered twice by the USA, it was not influenced by the American culture. In despite of that both countries are in the same continent, and both are in a similar level in terms of communication technology, it can be listed a lot of differences between them such as food, language, weather and lifestyle. Dominican Republic differ from the United State in three notorious aspects.

The Dominican culture is particularly different from the American culture. In general Dominicans are friendly, relaxed, happy all the time, they speak loud  and sometimes yelled in public places. On the other hand, in the United states people act in a more serious way, they are upset all the time and never yelled on the street.  There not exist personal space in Dominican Republic, where the physical contact it is important. It is  not rare that two people greet with a hug or a kiss and they may touch them in a normal conversation. In contrast, in the USA the personal space is crucial for people. In a greeting they say hello without the necessity of touch. It is considered offensive if you touch an American while are talking.  There are time and Dominican time, which refer to dominican are late in everything. For example, if  Dominicans have a date at 7 o’clock, they will arrive at 8. The lateness it is accepted and seen as norma there. On the contrary to the United State the time is sacred. Be on time is important for them and never are late in a meeting. In addition, in Dominican Republic people wear bright and tight clothes, they tend to dress formal and care about their appearance . Thus, they choose fashion over comfort. In the United States is the opposite, people wear dark and inconspicuous clothes. They prefer be comfortable than how they look.

The second aspect in dominican republic which is different in the USA is family and relationships. The domestic unit in DR is composed of three generations ( grandparents, parents and three to five children). On the contrary, in the USA only the parents and one or two children form a home. The man is who takes the public decisions and work to provide the family needs. The mother nurture the family, make the private decisions and is in charged to house shores and take care the kids. Opposed to the american family which both parents takes the important decisions, work while the children are in the school or a daycare,  and both do the shores. Furthermore, in DR woman get married early usually before 20 and get pregnant before the  25 years, even in the adolescence, while Americans get married after 25 years old and have kids a the age 30.  In the United State is common that a woman moved with her boyfriend before get married, whereas in Dominican Republic that is not possible because once a couple live together, they are considered as a marriage by the society. For Americans union family it is not important as is for the Dominicans, since they put the needs of family above their social and professional life.

The third difference among DR and the USA is the traffic is the traffic and transportation. Although  DR and the USA have the same law for traffic, the way that Dominicans drive differ from the way Americans do. First, Dominicans drivers do not read or follow the traffic signals as neither respect the speed limit. A stop sign there means “ do not look at it and continue.” Nevertheless, Americans drivers are very concerning about the traffic laws and traffic signs. In a congestion of vehicles in dominican roads there are more lines than lanes. Each one wants to go first and do not yield to others. Hence the traffic do not constantly flow. Pedestrian are not the priority and they cross the street as if they are running for their life. On the other hand, in american roads even though there are a lot of traffic, is easy to follow because there are lines for lanes and it is organized. Pedestrian are the priority and drivers cede them the right of way. The mayor public transportation in DR is the “guaguas voladoras” that literally means flyer buses, which has the most violent drivers in the world. Another person charge to the passenger while is yelling the destination. Those buses are charged twice their passenger capacity. In the united state public transportation is distinct. The buses and subway are organize and their drivers has to follow the rules they drive carefully and do not cause disturb on the street. In DR the transport desorganizacion and the lack of road education is proper of a sub-developed country. However the traffic and transportation in the USA  is well developed and organize.

As you can see above those country are unlike and have abysmal differences. Dominican Republic mainly differ from the USA in their way of comportment and dress, conformation of the family and the public conveyance. In my opinion one country is not better than other. although one of them can offer to you a better quality live. I believe that each country has its own culture which make it differently rich  and unique.

Life in Two Cities

All cities in the world are unique and they are different from each other in various aspects such as size, culture, education, traffic, language. However many cities share certain similarities, some of them are even identical. I was born and raised in the city of Cuenca, a city in the Andean Valley of Ecuador, however a year and a half ago I moved to New York to continue my studies and achieve goals that I have set. During the time that I have been living in New York I have noticed several similarities and differences with Cuenca, being these two cities excellent examples to analyze their differences and similarities, based on my personal experience.

One important difference is their climate. The climate in Cuenca can change a lot during the run of a day largely because of the altitude but on average the temperature is 65°F. I may be rubbing my hands together to warm them up while waiting for the bus/taxi in the morning and then arrive home in the afternoon carrying my sweater and jacket over my arm. On the other hand, New York has the 4 seasons: winter, summer, autumn and spring, being spring the closest one to the climate of Cuenca but it only lasts between 2 and 3 months before the extreme heat of summer burns me and I feel like I am walking on fire.

Another difference between Cuenca and New York is the construction system. In Cuenca the brick and the block are used as construction materials while in New York wood and steel are used in the vast majority of cases. Being this a significant difference in terms of resistance over the years, durability and design. In design, the difference is even more noticeable since the houses in Cuenca have more elements that embellish their facades, such as balconies or planters on the terraces, however in New York the facades of the houses are more flat and simple, what is necessary is place in them. Something that I love about the houses in New York is the concept of an “open house” with large surfaces of vegetation around them, while in Cuenca houses have an enclosure for security and privacy.

The last and the most obvious difference is language. In Cuenca, Spanish is spoken, while in New York, despite being a country of diversity of cultures, people must speak English. This has been hard for me, because when I arrived in New York I had a basic knowledge of English and that made me feel uncomfortable and did not allow to express my ideas. But now it is different, during this time I have been learning English, and although I am still not satisfied because I know that I can do it better, I can already understand and maintain a conversation.

Considering the differences described above, I would like to write about three similarities that have seemed remarkable to me. The first similarity between Cuenca and New York is education. Both cities have high quality education, with schools equipped with technological elements which facilitate learning. In contrast with New York, Cuenca was a step behind in this aspect but in recent years the government has invested a lot of money in education and today students are prepared to continue studying in any country in the world.

Another similarity between these two cities is the diversity of people. In general the United States is a country known for hosting people from all over the world. While touring New York I have met people from all continents, who have seen in this country a place of opportunities, many of which we do not have in our countries of origin. Similar to New York, In Cuenca we have people who come from different parts of the world, too. Moreover, Cuenca is considered one of the main destinations chosen by retired people from the United States, who see Cuenca as a city with an excellent quality of life at a cost considerably lower than what is paid in this country. Also in Cuenca it is very common to find people from Argentina, Venezuela, Spain, Cuba, Colombia, Peru and China.

The last similarity between Cuenca and New York is food. Globalization has allowed to enjoy many technological changes, but other fields such as gastronomy have been favored too.New York I have found food from many countries. Similarly, every day restaurants with typical dishes from different countries are opening in Cuenca.

In summary, Cuenca and New York share several similarities and contrast with some differences. I thought that Cuenca is without equal, but after living in New York that idea has changed. Both are excellent places to live and work, with a lot of cultural diversity, and in which any citizen of the world could adapt and have an incredible experience.