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Common App Essay - London Business Trip

raluca 1 / -  
Dec 27, 2009   #1

Thank you for viewing my thread!

As an international student, I'm quite nervous about the essay part of my application. Could you, please, give me suggestions on how I could improve this essay? I also think it is quite long (812 words), while I've seen some universities require the essay to be 250-500 words.

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

"The cold air of the foggy morning wrapped me as I was descending the stairs of the aircraft, leaving behind my first flight. Walking towards the Luton airport building, I felt no insecurity. Despite the many people who did not believe I will succeed on my own in a country I never visited before, I trusted myself. I knew I was capable to fulfill the mission I was assigned by my employer and make a success of my first "business trip". From booking the plane tickets and hotel to finding the maps I needed, I had planned everything by myself, which boosted my sense of independence. I felt that the four days I was to spend alone in England were my best opportunity to know myself better.

The yell of the rails blended with the noise produced by the rushing people kept me awake after two almost sleepless nights. After changing five trains, I was finally close to Seaforth, a suburb of Liverpool, the place where I had to complete the actual business. Getting off the train, I realized I had forgotten the map at the hotel in London. Still I didn't feel anxious. I confidently asked for directions from the passer-bys and reached my destination, a catering equipment warehouse. Although our business partner was expecting me, he was amazed at my sight. Never did he expect me to be so young nor to come alone. He kindly let me see and test the ovens my employer wanted to buy. After merely an hour of negotiations, I even obtained a discount which pleased my employer. Finishing with all the formalities, I was driven by him to the central train station in Liverpool. While chatting about developing food businesses in my country, I was asked about my age. He was shocked I was able to do this all alone being just 18. Taking the train back to London, I had a sense of accomplishment I never felt before. I was offered a great opportunity and I took the best of it.

The smell of freshly baked coffee lay heavily in the air that busy Tuesday morning at Starbucks. "One café latte, please", I said as my turn to order came at the queue. "PequeĊ„o o grande?" replied the guy behind the bar. Although astonished by his answer, I continued the conversation in Spanish. By the time my order was ready, I confessed I was not really from Spain. I could have read the wonder on his face; he had been convinced I was Spanish. Taking my coffee I headed to the tube station. Getting in the train I was amazed. Never in my life had I seen people of so many nations in such a narrow place. It seemed like every nation has taken its place in that small compartment. "I'm sorry", said the German girl beside me after gently hitting me with her elbow. "Das ist kein Problem" I replied. We spent the rest of the ride chatting about our unusual experiences in London. Upon arriving to the Baker Street tube station, I found myself beside some French tourists who were also going to Madame Tussaud's Museum. I listened to their guide's instructions in French and found my way. Inside the museum I met a group of Nepalese about my age. I soon learned that they all came from the same school in Nepal, but were living with their parents in different parts of London so once in a while they met to spend a day together. I got invited to spend the rest of the day with them and I accepted without lingering. I was given the opportunity to explore the richness of the Asian culture. While enjoying the atmosphere at a Korean café, I learned a great deal from all my new 11 Nepalese friends. When the evening came, they offered to give me a tour of the beautifully lighted city center. Saddened by my departure the following day, we finished the tour with a dinner in China Town.

Being assigned such a big responsibility showed that I had been able to gain my employer's trust in a relatively short time, which boosted my confidence. This trip was more than a job assignment; it was a truly life lesson which made me more mature and prepared me for college. I learned that only through hard work I can succeed and that I can only depend on myself. Meeting people from different backgrounds was an eye opening experience. I was shown the importance of attending a college which would allow me to explore the richness of other cultures and practice all my foreign languages. I'm confident that your university will help me develop my business abilities while also providing me with strong academic programs which will give me the opportunity to bring something new throughout my intended career in biochemical research."

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Dec 29, 2009   #2
Despite the many people who did not believe I could succeed...

Okay, I think you should cut out 300 words of material that focuses on you being young and traveling. Make it so that this focuses on your job. Focus on this as a professional experience, and do not mention your age. I think this has great potential if you focus on the trip as a professional experience and let the reader come to her own conclusion about the fact that it is impressive for you to be doing this at age 18.

You write so well!! Can you somehow incorporate biochemical research into the theme of this essay some more? For example, does your experience with this job have anything to do with your aspirations in biochemical research?

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