Writing About A Foreign Subject Not An Easy Task

Have you ever been assigned to write about a topic that you know absolutely nothing about?

It happens more often than you think.

Whether in high school or in college, teachers and professors assign topics for papers that make students explore and research information that is foreign to them. At the same time teachers challenge students to get out of their comfort zones to produce a pieces of writing that show hard work and dedication.

Not only do the students get to exercise their research skills, but also students get to revisit the writing process.

Yes, the writing process.

Some professors and teachers make adhering to the writing process part of the paper that is being completed.

In a college literature class or high school English class, students are asked to learn about lit terms, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and spelling as well as different periods in which certain novels were written. Sounds hard. It is hard because there is a lot of information to keep straight. With grammar, and punctuation, they should be a review, but with spelling and vocabulary, students will add words to their growing bases.

As I have stated before, writing is a formal communication tool. Writing and literature always will go hand in hand. Great writing becomes great literature.

Sometimes you hear the words position paper. It calls for the writer to give his position and this where the writer needs to do his research because he may have to take a position on a subject in which he knows nothing. But it is his job to have the correct Modern Language Association formatting and style for his paper. In writing the position paper, he will develop a thesis statement that states his position for or against a topic. Next it is the writer’s job to properly cite, adhering to MLA guidelines, text and articles that both support and negate his paper. The reason for this is to have a balanced paper showing both sides of an argument. It’s the writer’s task to state which side is the best. This is easier said than done because the research may point the writer in a multitude of directions and may even make him change his position.

So what is the point?

The point is that when finished, the student will be able to research and defend his position which is a life skill that he will not only continue using in school, but in the real world. For example, if his boss asks for a proposal on topic X, he knows the necessary steps to begin the process, and give his boss a balanced proposal. If his boss has concerns, the writer knows how to revise information, maybe for a different proposal. The proposal may take several rounds of revisions before it is exactly what the boss wants and needs.


Some words grab my attention more than others. They can be words with negative or positive meanings, but they allure me because of what they mean. One word is diaspora.

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines Diaspora as the dispersion of Jews after the Babylonian exile; the areas settled by Jews after the exile; and any scattering of people with a common origin, background, and beliefs.

When referring to the dispersed Jews the word is capitalized. There are also diasporic writers. There have been many writers in history that have left their homelands and have written in other places.

In my opinion, I don’t think this word is not used that much in every day language, but when it is used, it is powerful. I say that because one may take note when it is used. One context it is used in is journalism because the word explains what is being reported about.

The word can be used to describe any refugees trying to start a life in another country. Diaspora literature would be literature written by authors living outside their homeland. To me it’s a double-edged sword because the writers can’t write in their homeland, but also the authors persevere and keep writing outside their homeland.

The point is the authors keep writing.


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