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Commitment of celebrating diverse cultures-Annika Rodriguez Program

Kimayu 5 / 25  
Nov 7, 2010   #1
# Write a short essay on the following topic.
Consider the biography of Annika Rodriguez and the eligibility requirements, and reflect upon your commitment to bringing diverse groups together and/or celebrating the cultures of diverse peoples. How do your community service activities demonstrate your dedication to the ideals embraced by the Rodriguez Scholars Program?

Coming from a multicultural country such as Malaysia and having Indian roots, diversity is a large part of my life and always has been. As a Head Prefect of my school that has a myriad of races, I have always valued diversity and cross-cultural understanding. I was given an opportunity to participate in the Youth Exchange and Study Program, a program developed by the U.S Government in response to the events of September 11.This program brings students from countries with significant Muslim population to promote mutual understanding and respect between cultures. Therefore, I was very grateful of the fact that I was given this opportunity to make a difference and to promote the beauty of different cultures.

During the first days of high school, I received many questions from my American friends. They were naturally curious as they have never met someone from Malaysia. I answered all their questions but I felt that it was not enough to truly reflect what the cultures of the world are really like. As I had the opportunity to experience and live the life of another culture, I believe that my American friends should have the same opportunity to enrich their knowledge of other cultures. Since food has always been considered one of the most salient markers of cultural traditions, I decided to organize an International Potluck Day, where all the exchange students around the area could cook their traditional food and wear their traditional costumes to showcase their culture. I devised a plan and gave it to the American Cultural Exchange Service (ACES) coordinators and had a few discussions with them to plan the event. When everything was approved, we gathered the other exchange students to design flyers, to find a venue and to look for volunteers to help us out during that day. It was a tough task but we managed to pull it through .After two weeks of planning, we handed out the flyers to our friends, neighbors and people in our host community.

On that day, the turnout for the event was overwhelming. We decided to do it in our community church and over 500 people turned up. We had exchange students from Turkey, Egypt, China, India, Bolivia, France, Chile, and the Philippines with their ethnic food and costumes. An array of traditional cuisines was lined up along with the explanation of what the dish really is. I decided to prepare a "nasi lemak", a coconut rice dish wrapped in banana leaf, with cucumber slices, small dried anchovies, roasted peanuts, hardboiled egg, and spicy sauce .What I saw that day still vividly lingers on my mind. I saw my American friends and the exchange students laughing together as they tried on new food and learned about new cultures. But most importantly, I saw them hugging each other as they formed new bonds between them, bonds that crossed geographical borders and cultural barriers. That was when I saw change happening right before my eyes .When these bonds of friendship were created, we opened our hearts and desire to understand and fully accept each other. I realized that something as simple as food could bring so many people together.

When I went to school the next day, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my classmates decided to volunteer at the local foreign exchange student organization. A few of them expressed their desire to be an exchange student so that they could explore the different part and cultures of the world. I am glad to be a part of an event that exposed the vitality cultural diversity to my friends. I was thrilled to know that my American friends were becoming more international when they realized the importance of intercultural exchange. More importantly this event brought people from almost every quarters of the world together and we were able to truly know one another and the different cultures.

I discovered that the very uniqueness of our background, our culture, and within ourselves was what brought us together. In the same way, diversity allows for a community to have people of various backgrounds to come together to share in their differences and better understand one another by appreciating those differences in morals and beliefs. As an exchange student who has had the golden opportunity of literally interacting beyond borders, I realize the importance of tolerance and appreciating the differences between people and cultures. I feel obliged to educate the people around me with the knowledge that I have gained as I am currently volunteering with the Youth Exchange and Study Alumni Malaysia. Upon returning from my exchange program, I continue helping other exchange students in creating events that could bring people of different cultures together as well as disseminating the impact of cross-cultural exchange so that many other teenagers can experience the cultural diversity. Consequently, I am happy to know that I have helped my friends realize that every culture is worthy of exploration and understanding. And I have my nasi lemak to thank.
OP Kimayu 5 / 25  
Nov 15, 2010   #2
Thanks for the correction EF_Susan!I was just wondering if you find this essay convincing?

And I also have the second part of the essay.I have the rough draft of the essay.I was wondering if you could give you thoughts about it

2. If you are selected as a Rodriguez Scholar, how do you see yourself contributing to the Washington University community?
-I can be an effective cultural ambassador
-My insights and experiences as an exchange student will help foster understanding between all students here
-By embracing the ideals of this program,I will take part in all community projects that are organized.
I want to end it with something like,"Who knows?Maybe I will carry out another International Potluck."But I'm not sure if my "element of humor" is suitable in this case.

Do you think I should add more points for this essay?
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 17, 2010   #3
Yes, this essay makes you seem like a serious student with good intentions. And it shows that you write well! I'll look at this sentence with you right now, in case you have not yet submitted this:

Therefore, I was very grateful of the fact that I was when given this opportunity to make a difference and to promote the beauty of different cultures. (now add a short sentence... a sentence with only 5 or 10 words. Let it leave the reader with your main concept, so she can think about it while transitioning to paragraph 2).

Above, I am suggesting you add a short sentence to the end of paragraph one. Let it contain a "magic word" that represents the main theme for the whole essay.


"Who knows?Maybe I will carry out another International Potluck."But I'm not sure if my "element of humor" is suitable in this case.---Yes, it is appropriate. Also, it is such a great concept that I think it is best if you do mention it more than once. Go for it. You really should feel confident because of the int. potluck concept. No matter what happens with your efforts to gain admittance into one program or another, keep your spirits up because this essay reflects a personality with great potential!
bowler8 - / 5  
Nov 17, 2010   #4
Your essay doesn't really answer the question
OP Kimayu 5 / 25  
Nov 18, 2010   #5
Thanks EF_Kevin!
About that one sentence,maybe I should cut the sentence that,"Therefore, I was very grateful of the fact that I was given this opportunity to make a difference and to promote the beauty of different cultures."

and write this instead---,"I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to make a difference by bridging cultural gap." So,it could be the one that has the main theme.

But the sentence is a little long though.Do you think that sentence would be okay?

Ali, I thought the essay answered the prompt.Hmmm...Thank you for your thoughts though.:)
bowler8 - / 5  
Nov 19, 2010   #6
Naveeshini...You shouldn't be telling him what to put, just advising him.
OP Kimayu 5 / 25  
Nov 21, 2010   #7
I'm not sure if I understand you,Ali.

Anyway,this is the last part of the essay.Could you please check this and see if it's good?Thanks!
Prompt:List three adjectives to describe yourself, and briefly tell why you chose each adjective. (150 words or less)

I am visionary. I have always wanted to be part of an organization that helped build bridges of understanding between cultures. As a Youth Exchange and Study scholar, I made that vision come true by becoming an exchange student with the aim of bringing people together across the boundaries of nation and culture.

I am passionate. I am passionate about making a difference. Being an exchange student has allowed me to connect with people across the world and promote intercultural integration. My passion for diversity led me to become a young ambassador and a volunteer in the American Field Service.

I am determined. I am determined to pursue my visions and my passions. My determination to succeed has motivated me to adapt as an exchange student. The new surrounding did not hinder me from fostering relationship with other people, instead this determination has inspired me to create and participate in many intercultural activities.
melkorthefoul 13 / 31  
Dec 3, 2010   #8
I made that vision come true by becoming an exchange student

Just say where... it helps give the statement authenticity

I am visionary.

I am A visionary :D

Its pretty good otherwise.. my only concern is that the three adjectives are what would be used in "buzzword bingo" for this type of answer
OP Kimayu 5 / 25  
Dec 16, 2010   #9
Thanks for the feedback Varchas!I'll work on that.
Anymore criticisms?
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 4, 2011   #10
"I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to make a difference by bridging cultural gap."

I like this one because it is shorter. When you write a sentence that expresses an idea that is pretty easy to understand, try not to use more words than necessary. Even this can be trimmed:

I knew that this was the perfect my opportunity to make a difference by bridging a cultural gap.

Maybe this part can be written in a way that is a little lighter and more interesting... I am visionary. As an aspiring visionary, I have always wanted...

Just an idea... I don't know if it is a good one. Your essay is really nice already.

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