Domestic vs. International

For someone who has never competed in extemp, the categories of Domestic and International seem pretty self-explanatory. But in reality, there are more to these categories than what first meets the eye. And the challenges that come with each one can be equally surprising.

When students here about domestic extemp, the obvious explanation is extemporaneous speaking involving domestic affairs. However, this category is much more broad than that. While current events and economic issues tend to comprise the major components of this event, there are some less obvious topics covered within the boundaries of DX. I remember specifically 2006. There were many questions directly involving the Olympics and impact it would have on American spirit. Other topic areas have included the implications of the Martha Stewart trial and Michael Jackson. What was once merely domestic governmental issues has now become a glorified version of Impromptu. While this would seem to be easy, the difficulty comes in with the number of students who are familiar with domestic issues. This element alone can make it very challenging.

International extemp, like domestic, isn't as simple as it seems. There are two different angles covered here. The first one is how American foreign relations are affected by other countries. The other is how other countries interact with each other. That makes this category much trickier. A foreign extemper has to understand the dynamics not only of foreign governments, but religion and society and how those beliefs affect others. That takes a lot of time to cultivate because each country is completely unique among several different factors.

With that said, if you are just starting out in extemp, I would suggest domestic. It is relatively easier and the competition seems to be as well. With that said, both provide a unique challenge and the skill necessary will take time to master.