Hi everyone pls feel free to critique this as much as possible!
Prompt: The Committee on Admission is interested in getting to know each candidate as well as possible through the application process. The following essay question is designed to demonstrate your writing skills and facilitate our full appreciation of your unique perspective.
The quality of Rice's academic life and the Residential College System are heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural traditions each student brings. What personal perspective do you feel that you will contribute to life at Rice? (500 word limit)
I have travelled to many places.
I spent my first sixteen years of life in the northeast of China and the subsequent four years in Singapore, and I could not possibly claim that I have travelled to many places. Yet, what I encountered has brought me experiences about different cultures, experiences that travelling alone may not suffice to bring about.
I was a typical northeastern Chinese. People here earn food and livelihood by tirelessly farming on the fertile land. My city is not metropolitan, not even modern enough by Chinese standard. Without much influence from elsewhere people here have unique qualities: we are pleasantly direct and outspoken, never hesitant to express our emotions.
Knowing what I experienced may not be what the outside world look like, I prepared myself for a cultural shock when I went to study in Singapore, but I underestimated the difference. On the first night, I was annoyed by my roommate from a southern province, who frowned at me for two minutes without saying a word. "Stop looking at me like that!" I said exactly what I think. He was taken aback: "Why so rude? I was just wondering whether you need help to sort out all your stuff." He meant good so I apologized, but I was nevertheless shocked by how implicit one can be. I already met an unfamiliar culture, even before I encountered a foreigner.
In the four years I spent in Singapore, I have been roommates and classmates with people from different countries, and one common thing I discovered is that they always seem so alien and unfriendly at the beginning. However, I have never forgotten my first conversation with my roommate (who is my best friend now), and thus never hesitate to spend a little more time getting to know others.
The patience did pay off. When the label of "foreigner" is removed, these people are not so different from who I am. The noisy Indonesian students are amicable fellows who welcome everyone to have fun with them, the Vietnamese students who talk in "weird" languages are willing to take the heaviest chores in boarding school, and the Indian students with much darker skin and formidable looks will invite me to have lunch together after the first class we met. While we are from distinctly different cultures, there is no reason to impose stereotypes and label them as unapproachable strangers. In fact, because we are from different backgrounds, it is even more necessary for us to know about each other's habits and believes.
That is why I said I have travelled to many places. By accepting and understanding the culture of people around me, I can know about the life on another land. Even when I may not live in such a way, I will accept and respect it, just as I wish others can respect my culture.
And that is what I can contribute to Rice, the spirit to never stereotype, to accept, and to respect every way of life.
I appreciate any feedbacks!