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Georgetown Transfer Essay: Asian American Identity Crisis


dendenkim 2 / 4 1  
Feb 25, 2015   #1
Advice of any kind is very appreciated. Also don't feel inclined to hold back out of politeness, give it to me straight if there are parts that are lackluster. Thank you so much! :)

An Asian-American Shameful Identity Crisis



Born into the world as a third generation Korean-American, I was led to believe that I was the bastard child of a supposed ignorant American culture and my "real" foreign culture unknown to me. I do not blame my parents for neglecting to teach me the culture of my people, their mindset was one of adaptability/survival as they tried to make a living in an alien environment; the most successful of their peers were born and raised Americans. It was not till my grandfather came over one fateful winter break day that the need to explore my heritage was suddenly hastened.

"Joo-Ho (my Korean name), we should talk." my grandfather says immediately after walking through the front door. We move to the dining room table where for maybe a minute or so we sat in silence - the buzz from my laptop and my grandfather's heavy breathing weighed the air. My grandfather is generally a merry, joke-cracking goofball who has always been a source of constant affection. His stern expression, which I realized was directed towards me, was entirely novel. What I anticipated to be a casual conversation with my grandpa swiftly turned into a chastisement of my failure as a Korean. He berated my inability to speak the language and my ignorance of the culture. His voice grew and grew as did his trembling. I tried to plead my innocence as a product of my uncontrollable upbringing, but he would not have it.

The last word of the conversation I remember was "shameful".

At last, after an hour of this he left me to my own thoughts. To that point, I've never really had the need to explore my Korean heritage: the majority of my friends and family spoke English and for those that did not, over exaggerated expressions and gestures sufficed. But I understood the urgency of my grandfather's words. Realistically speaking, my grandfather did not have many years left which meant anything my grandfather might want to say to me, any knowledge he would want to impart, would have to be done soon. My mother later told me that my grandfather had expressed to her that "if I died today, one of my main regrets would be not showing Joo-Ho his real jeongchae (identity)". I loved my grandfather dearly, I think it was time that I proved it. That summer I attended a grueling 3 month program at Yonsei university in Seoul, studying,eventually mastering the language, and surrounding myself with my people to find what was supposedly my true identity.

But looking back, I'm starting to realize that trying to find my Korean Seoul (pun absolutely intended) in order to find an inner identity was futile from the start. I was trying to find a separate identity which I could run parallel to my existing American one. However, being bicultural does not mean that you have to own up to one culture and give up on another. I love being American and I love being Korean, but my identity is not exclusive to either. We make too much of diasporic identity crisis. Identity is not a predetermined cultural expectation of how you should live your life nor is it a means of self-categorization, it is a culmination of all past thoughts and experiences up until the present day. Cultural hybridization simply allows me to have a larger pool of ideas and practices now and can pick from each culture what I want to practice and what appeals to me. My jeongchae goes beyond ethnicity and culture, (INSERT WITTY CLOSER)

My primary reason for transferring to Georgetown involves my recent engrossment with the international relations field. As mentioned in my other supplement essay, I have decided to further my interest in IR, however, UMD only offers a concentration in IR within the Government and Politics major. Furthermore, it is very rare for undergraduate students to perform research with government and politics professors at UMD. Being able to perform undergraduate research is very important to me as well as concentrating my studies on topics that genuinely captivate me. Contrastingly Georgetown's Walsh School of Foreign Service is an entire school devoted to international affairs and in addition provides its students myriad opportunities for undergraduate research. In addition as I'm very keen to incorporate both a business perspective alongside of an IR education, the Global Business major offered within SFS is an ideal mix.

Although I was not admitted last year, Georgetown is still my dream school and will remain to be so for the near future. What had started as a blow to my self confidence like my grandparent's stringent words became a source of motivation to strive to become better and eventually realize a goal. I want to be a part of a diverse, fascinating collection of students who understand how blessed they are to be able to attend such an elite school and thereby capitalize on every opportunity possible. I want to surround myself with peers who aspire to change the world in unimaginable ways in the city that not only encourages its constituents to do so but rather expects it. I have wanted and still want to be a Georgetown Hoya.

I love and appreciate the many friends and unforgettable experiences I've made since attending the University of Maryland, but by attending Georgetown, I'll be challenged both intellectually and socially to grow and ultimately become the very best version of myself. As Benjamin Franklin said, "without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning." (I apologize for the cliche end-of-essay quote but it seemed exceptionally apropos) Thank you for your consideration. Cheers to the future.
Barrera77 1 / 4 1  
Mar 2, 2015   #2
Hello dendenkim, pretty good essay but as EF_Sheri said do not over use the humor on your essay otherwise you might start sounding somewhat sarcastic, juts remember that you are dealing with a group of professionals such as the committee, not having a casual conversation with a group of classmates. So I would really suggest you to be as formal as possible.

My writing skills are a bit rusty It's really been a long time since I wrote something, but I allowed myself to make a few changes on your last paragraph, and this is how I would say it:

I really love and appreciate all of the friends and unforgettable experiences I have had during my life here at the University of Maryland, but attending Georgetown would represent a real challenge for me, both intellectually and socially, which could help me to grow up as an individual and eventually become a better version of myself. As Benjamin Franklin said, "without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning."[ (I apologize for the cliché end-of-essay quote but it seemed exceptionally apropos) I wouldn't apologize for the phrase because actually I think it helps you to support your reasons of why you would like to attend Geaorgetown ]. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Good luck!


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