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Learning a new language is part of studying abroad. (Fengyuan Chang/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Learning a new language is part of studying abroad. (Fengyuan Chang/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Nov. 15: Escape the language bubble. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Escape the language bubble

Re The Great Non-Escape: Why Students Stay Put Instead of Studying Abroad, Folio (Nov. 14): Sadly, in an article about the value of international experience, there is not one word about the importance of learning a new language to submerge oneself in another culture and to speak with others whose language is not your own.

Without that, unless you travel to a country where people speak the language you already know, you remain in your own (global) bubble. Canadian universities should strongly encourage all students to pursue sustained study of another language. The personal and professional benefits would be enormous and make study abroad a truly international experience.

Donna Tussing Orwin, chair, and Christina Kramer, professor; Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Toronto

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Mefloquin effects

Re Probe Malaria Drug’s Psychotic Effect On Troops, Veterans Urge (Nov. 14): When our family went on safari to Tanzania we discussed three options for malaria control with the physician at the travel clinic we consulted. Mefloquin (or Lariam, as it is also known) was not recommended because of the common side effects. This was 12 years ago.

Gina Burton, Toronto

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Pull, and push

Re Whitewashed, Focus (Nov. 12): Doug Saunders’ essay about the U.S. election got it exactly right. As an Asian in a mixed-race relationship I was fascinated by our reception in small cities in the American South.

There was no outright racism but lots of staring; people clearly hadn’t seen anything like us before. Everyone was exceptionally pleasant as the stereotype holds. But if you live in a white bubble, the scary world outside is something to fear and vote against.

Janet Kow, Vancouver

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Mr. Saunders missed an important narrative in why Americans voted for Donald Trump, that of liberal journalists lambasting the entirety of Trump supporters as white extremists (particularly when he concludes with the need to “find a way to reach 60 million radicalized white people and bring them back to earth”). Not all Trump supporters are radicalized white nationalists; many are traditional Republican voters who voted for him in spite of his reprehensible rhetoric; some Trump supporters were female Muslims who were sickened by Hillary Clinton’s perceived corruption.

Nick Toller, Ottawa

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Re Pushing Back Against Populism (Focus, Nov. 12): Timothy Garton Ash cuts to the very heart of the matter: In the wake of Mr. Trump’s win, Angela Merkel has indeed emerged as the “leader of the free world.”

I was ashamed of the Canadian government’s premature and supine offer to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s meaningless statement about “shared values” and “deep cultural ties” was insulting to Canadians who think and feel.

By contrast, Ms. Merkel’s calibrated language was diplomatic and yet left no doubt about where her government stands. It takes a woman.

Spyro Rondos, Beaconsfield, Que.

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Tabatha Southey’s discourse is insightful and spot on (Trigger Warning, Trump Fans: This Column Calls Racists ‘Racists,’ Focus, Nov. 12). Yes, racists need to be called racists. However, more than once she refers to men as the driver of PC backlash and the desire to put minorities back in place.

The female vote for Mr. Trump was close to identical to the female vote for Mitt Romney in 2012, indicating that many women (42 per cent) were not bothered by Mr. Trump’s racist, gender-biased and homophobic rants. Yet when making gender references, Ms. Southey only mentions men. Time to call gender bias, gender bias?

Terry Blake, Ottawa

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Taking pride

Re Canadian Values Drive Us Together, Not Apart (Nov. 14): Consider that Canada established diplomatic relations with China ahead of the United States, led the fight against apartheid, and did not participate in the rape of Iraq with consequences that are being felt around the world.

Canada must remain a beacon of bright light and hope in a period of darkening clouds. Proud to be Canadian, eh?

Farouk Verjee, North Vancouver

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Ron Freedman says that “it is certainly possible to identify un-Canadian values,” and that these could be incorporated into screening procedures for potential immigrants (Valuing Values, letters, Nov. 14).

He is absolutely correct that Canada should test for un-Canadian values, once those have been defined, but why would that screening apply only to potential immigrants? People born and/or resident here should also have to answer the same questions to determine whether they hold any un-Canadian values. Still to be figured out would be what to do with those who fail the test.

Michael A. Tukatsch, Toronto

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Colour guards

Emoting about the colour of police cars misses the point entirely (Toronto’s Bad Taste In Car Colours, editorial, Nov. 14). We should get rid of at least half the police cars altogether and get the officers out of them and onto the streets, or on bicycles. In cars they are isolated from the people they are supposed to serve and protect. In many European cities you see police everywhere on the streets, where they can more effectively be aware of what’s going on and interact with the public.

David Selley, Toronto

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Graphics are applied to police vehicles to render them highly visible both on congested thoroughfares and on fast-moving highways. The present fashionable and insipid “swish” markings are more appropriate to a chip wagon.

Probably the most successful police-car graphics are on those in the U.K., simply large-scaled squares of vibrant yellow and blue deployed on all sides. The Ontario Provincial Police reverted to highly effective, black-and-white markings. These silent sentries, when parked on fast-moving thoroughfares, are highly visible and are the best deterrent to heavy-footed drivers. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders needs to hire a graphic design firm to give “Toronto’s finest” a supplementary boost they deserve.

Anthony Kemp, Toronto

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Out of bounds

I believe humanity has earned some respite from the toxic, divisive media onslaught of the U.S. election. Imagine my distress reading not one, but two, Trump-induced headlines in Globe Sports (sports!!!) – McGregor Embodies The U.S. Political Mood (Nov. 12) and, Where Is A Mohammad Ali For The Trump Era ? (Nov. 10). Please, for the love of humans everywhere, stop!

Sara Pontisso, Markham, Ont.

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