In high-school we learned to write long, complicated essays in Romanian. Most of the sentences in these essays were quite set in stone; we had to learn by heart information about writers, poets, currents of thought and famous novels. We had to prove how much we had learned by writing informative essays, in which we had to analyze literary texts or to compare currents of thought. It didn’t really matter if you wrote such a thing as a Thesis Statement or a normal conclusion whatsoever, as long as you included all the important information. And the introduction could be as simple as “Mihai Eminescu was a late Romantic poet, the best-known and most influential Romanian poet.” You didn’t have to state what you were going to write about, because it seemed clear that you were about to analyze a poet’s writings. However, in the English education system argumentative essays are the most commonly used type of essay. It is a very useful exercise to search for arguments for and against something, because you can discover new things every time and you can become more skillful in expressing a clear point of view and arguing for it. You can actually learn a lot from writing argumentative essays, as opposed to writing down things like a machine in an informative essay.
The most important thing that we didn’t know was that in English you must be specific. It still seems too simple to me to announce at the beginning of every paragraph what you’re about to say. But it’s actually quite practical and it sounds good, too. An other valuable thing I’ve learned is not to leave gaps to be filled in by the readers. For example this sentence might sound good in Romanian: “Marin Preda wrote the novels “The Moromete Family”, “The Most Beloved of Earthlings”, etc.” It even makes the readers think that you know many novels and that you have a good opinion about them: you believe they are well educated and that they know perfectly what you’re talking about. But it probably doesn’t seem professional in English, because it looks like you can’t remember any more novels and you just leave a gap. The readers can’t guess what you’re thinking about, unless you write it down.
At first I couldn’t imagine what we were supposed to learn at this training. We have already written some important projects in English, but our teachers and professors accepted those texts as they were. They never analyzed them in detail to help us find our mistakes and correct them. Now we learned how to put our ideas in order, how to write them down in a clear manner, and how to recognize and correct our mistakes. I realized that we really needed to be taught or reminded about these things in order to write successfully in the future.