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2.  Skills that reduce risk


The moment overseas education is thought about, a quiet, subtle enemy, named Fantasy, comes on the scene.  Fantasy always fills in the unknown with marvelous thoughts and fulfilled wishes,

“Wah!  You’re a Stanford woman… what do we have to do to attract you to our company?”  

“Oh, Dartmouth graduate…Yes, we tend to admit Dartmouth graduates directly to our doctoral program.”  

Fantasy never says,

“Look!  It’s your chance to be one of those underemployed graduates who suffered through painful years of being in exile in Meiguo, and who’ll never, ever make back the cost.”

Combat Fantasy with Cold, Hard-Eyed Reality.  Can overseas education do something uniquely positive for the student in question?  Let’s be crude for a moment and imagine that students are more or less successful overseas, and think of a bell-type curve.  We could have

Top 20 %         Strong chance of graduate school or excellent job
Middle 60%     Decent outcome, down to underemployed
Bottom 20%     Underemployed, down to painful, hurtful experience

Sharply put, how to aim for the upper section of the group and avoid the bottom? 


English fluency   All instruction in the US, England and many other places is in full- speed English.  It’s the language in which students must express opinion, analysis and argument in elegantly readable prose.  It’s the language with which they must show leadership in small group and team exercises, common, unavoidable teaching formats.  Students compete with one another in English.  They must use English to paint word pictures, to assess complicated situations and offer analyses sometimes in strong, or tragic, or persuasive word pictures, sometimes in almost legal logic.  A few ESL courses is not a strong competitive background.  Be realistic about English.  Students who cannot readily produce expressive, grammatical English have an enduring handicap and limitation. 

Social skills, leadership  Social skills (plus English) are what let students unlock university life; allow links to be made with professors, with the myriad groups, clubs, societies that make the richness of university life.  High success students to the teachers, talk to the laowais, talk do things with the laowais.  The really great ones are selected as teaching assistants.  Many classes emphasize small group problem solving, motivating, leading, doing team activities (even in engineering projects), having innovative ideas, doing practical projects, testing ideas, building partnerships.  US students, if asked about Chinese students on campus, would express respect for their scholarship, but shake their heads at the way so many creep quietly from class to class until they can rejoin the Chinese-speaking colony of exiles.  They miss major parts of university life, growth and cultural experience.  

Intellectual curiosity  Top students want to know and want to master.  They enjoy projects, getting their minds around academic and applied academic challenges.  They don’t just live to get assignments done, nor primarily for the grades they get.

Other student qualities   Personal maturity, self discipline.  Student can manage self where there is low structure and strong distractions  Can present strong SAT/ACT scores; a strong transcript and evidence of leadership and organizing ability 

Some notes on specifics:  Grades are assigned in a specific way for each course; a percentage for pop quizzes, midterm exams, final exams, group projects, class participation, term papers, etc.  Know that distribution.  Bring stimulating questions to the professor’s office hours.  That’s a major door to knowledge and opportunity, because, remember, professors are overwhelmed and always need help with their research projects.  Other skills I emphasize are: 

Think of how the other person feels.  It’s a key in conversation and friendship.

Be a scribe, perhaps literally at the blackboard, reflecting a small group’s progress in  making and executing a plan.  An elementary flowchart that everyone can copy is ideal.
When you are working in a small group, make process comments as well as content comments, e.g., “The group hasn’t acknowledged any of the Blue Team’s suggestions…”  

Next, assuming the student has a good chance to be well up on the success distribution, exactly why is this student thinking of going overseas?  








上:20% 很有可能进入研究生院校或得到很好的工作
中:60% 结果还不错,不至于失业
下:20% 找不到工作,不失为一次惨痛的经历








做一个记录员,或许只是在黑板上记下小组的计划制定和执行的进程。制作一个每位组员都可以抄袭的基本流程表,这样就很理想了。 当你参与一个小组工作时,可记录项目进程或项目内容。如“本小组不同意蓝队提出的任何建议……”





a. 敏感的,精细的,狡猾的,稀薄的,精巧的,微妙的


This enabled us to see through their subtle scheme.



a. 令人惊异的,了不起的,不平常的


You have a marvelous gift for science.



n. 放逐,流放,被放逐者

vt. 放逐,流放,使背井离乡


They exiled Napoleon to the island of St. Helena.



prose [prəuz]  

n. 散文;单调

adj. 散文的;平凡的;乏味的

vi. 写散文;乏味地讲话

vt. 把……写成散文



His prose is everywhere a demonstration of a lucid style.




creep [kri:p] 

vi. 爬行;蔓延;慢慢地移动;起鸡皮疙瘩

n. 爬行;毛骨悚然的感觉;谄媚者


Old age creeps upon one unawares.



vt. 淹没,受打击,制服,压倒


He was overwhelmed with gratitude.



scribe [skraib]  


n. 书记,抄写员,作者,作家,划线器

vi. 担任抄写员

vt. 用划线器划




These palace records were copied out three and a half thousand years ago by an Egyptian scribe . 



泰普林教授(Prof.Taplin)非常乐意与同学们进一步交流,为大伙儿解答相关的问题,欢迎与泰普林教授联系,邮箱地址   [email protected]