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Living in America taught me to value my Indian heritage - significant event


amazingA 8 / 35  
Nov 27, 2010   #1
Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

It was gloomy at first, the daunting idea of separating from my parents. However, hoping that there actually exists a "light at the end of the tunnel", I mournfully decided to stay in this country of English speakers in order to continue my studies. Gradually, the culture brought me closer to being an actual American: drinking large quantities of soda and surviving on fast-food. As a result, I feared my standing out in a stark contrast among my pals in India. I realized that I have been baptized into the American way of life, something my friends and family back in the old country despised.

However, gradually I found myself to be reconciling the two cultures; I was starting to imbibe the "best of the two countries". At the very core, I was an Indian; nevertheless, I could not reject the American values that laid so close to my heart. Living in America taught me to value my heritage and as well as to stay connected to the present situations. It has taught me to lead a dual life: to live as an American in this country, and to act as an Indian when among Indians.

Therefore, over the years, I have learned to compromise. A conversation with close family relatives from the old country always starts with the question "You haven't been eating any meat, have you?" Time and again when I go to the mall, this question keeps me from eating the succulent hardy beef burgers. A hangout at my friend's house forces me to eat my vegetarian dinner at home, a custom that I dare not to break. In this new country, I go against every force to keep myself from indulging into the "devil's food", as the wise say in India. Yet, despite such moral limitations, I am content. I find myself unique: in a pool of hot dog eaters, I am the only vegetarian. And it was only after moving to America that I was able to appreciate my uniqueness.

Even today, as our family gets-together, I feel compelled to bow down to the elders and touch their feet in order to show my utmost respect. Every decision of my life initiates with a phone call to my grandmother asking for her most earnest blessings. Ever engaged into the Indian traditions, I only begin talking to my family with a friendly Hindu greeting of "Jai Shree Krishna". Hence, growth has been pushed on me as a result of migration. It has enabled me to learn lessons much faster than others. While in America, I have learned the importance of my heritage, my family, and my customs at a very young age, something my cousins in the old country have not yet been able to notice.

Despite honoring my heritage, I have not disregarded the present. I live the life of an American teenager: I like to spend countless hours on social networking websites and I prefer to eat an overabundance of Americanized Mexican food. I like watch fire crackers on the eve of Fourth of July celebration and I force my guardians to cook a thanksgiving dinner, whether it consist of a just one delicacy or many. Basketball might not be the sport for me on the courts, but I certainly enjoy watching it on my television set. I am proud to say the pledge of allegiance every morning in the school. I believe that I have established a strong foothold in this country and I can only see it strengthening in the future.

Only after coming to this country was I able to see the greatness of these two distinct cultures. The archaisms of the Indian culture and the modernity of America seemed to blend together to give me my identity. I am aware of my origins and my foundations, but I rest solid in the present, ever-engaged in today's world. My migration helped me to create an appreciation towards the customs, the cultures and the people that surround me and I am proud to say that I am comprised of two countries.

I was wondering if this answered the prompt and if this one would "bore" the admissions committee because i am a fun loving guy and i wouldn't want the admissions people to suffer

this is around 700 words..do i need to add/remove more

nahidbak 1 / 3  
Nov 27, 2010   #2
I think for common app your only allowed 500. But i dont know if it is the same where you are. But the admissions officer wont like that you went over the limit since they have so many essays to read and also it shows you cant follow directions. The essay is good as it shows that youll bring diversity.

Get rid of my
As a result, I feared my standing out in a stark contrast among my pals in India.
VishVish 1 / 6  
Nov 27, 2010   #3
Wow, this is very good :)

i'm not sure about the limit for the common app, but i suggest looking that up.

I say change "seemed" to "seem" in: "modernity of America seemed to blend together to give me my identity."

Just a thought :)
OP amazingA 8 / 35  
Nov 27, 2010   #4
okay i'll make those changes...anymore comments
garima528 1 / 6  
Nov 28, 2010   #5
I'm not quite sure what the limit is for the common app but if anyone knows please post it here because I'm using common app too.

The concept behind this good, I'm an indian in America as well so I understand how you feel.

"The archaisms of the Indian culture and the modernity of America seemed to blend together to give me my identity.

the first part of this sentence sounds a bit awkward, you could just change archaisms to something else, it sounds a bit strange.

Otherwise very good job! =]
OP amazingA 8 / 35  
Nov 30, 2010   #6
yes thank you garima..its funny how only indians replied to this thread...wording bias at its best (referring to the topic)..anyway an input from someone whos not quite familiar with the indian culture would certain help..if possible
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Dec 9, 2010   #7
Let's take out some words just because we can:

I mournfully decided to stay continue my studies in this country of English speakers. in order to continue my studies .

Gradually, the culture brought me closer to being an actual American: drinking large quantities of soda and surviving on fast-food.---hahhaa, is that how you think of Americans! Some of us drink seltzer water and refuse to eat any animals! :-) That is a funny way to describe Americans, though...

Use a comma in this situation, as you introduce dialogue:
... with the question, "You haven't been eating any meat, have you?" Time and again when I go to the mall, this question

Capitalize Thanksgiving.

I don't think you really said anything about American values, even though mentioned them. You portrayed America in a very negative way and made an unfair generalization, and that can reflect negatively on you in the mind of the AO reader. So... I think you should try to make it a more balanced discussion.

Also, it will be great if you can pinpoint specifically what it is that made you appreciate your culture. Was it contrast against the sloppiness of Americans? Is there some special characteristic of Indian culture that is close to your heart? It is not meaningful to just relish uniqueness for its own sake, but it is meaningful if you can pinpoint some defining cultural characteristic that is most important to you.

:-)
OP amazingA 8 / 35  
Dec 10, 2010   #8
thanks Kevin for your critique...and I am terribly sorry if my writing portrays america (my country as well) in a negative way..i certainly did not mean to do that because i have nothing but appreciation for this culture that even i'm very much ingrained into...i am only trying to see the "meateaters" from my point of view..and for the "americanized mexican food" and "soda drinkers" i wanted to use it to show that i'm a typical american teenager...this is not to say that all americans do this...its simply from a student's point of view

i should revise as you said to include some other points because as i said in my previous post, immigrants and americans would perceive this piece very differently

regardless, thanks for those pointers as i'm sure they would only make my essay stronger
nishabala 4 / 91  
Dec 14, 2010   #9
First off: The common app essay has no word limit. the ideal length is supposed to be about 700 words. Ideal limits are above 500 and under 900. I looked it up, and in various places, and I am VERY sure about this.

"It was gloomy at first, the daunting idea of separating from my parents. However, hoping that there actually exists a "light at the end of the tunnel", I mournfully decided to stay in this country of English speakers in order to continue my studies. Gradually, the culture brought me closer to being an actual American: drinking large quantities of soda and surviving on fast-food. As a result, I feared my standing out in a stark contrast among my pals in India. I realized that I have been baptized into the American way of life, something my friends and family back in the old country despised."... I don't particularly like it, especially as an introdution. It's a bit all over the place, and took me a while to assimilate. I think you should make the beginning really emotional- talk about leaving, living alone in a foreign land, it's effect on you.

"While in America, I have learned the importance of my heritage, my family, and my customs at a very young age, something my cousins in the old country have not yet been able to notice. " completely understand what you say, and this is something I think you can write a lot more about.

'The archaisms of the Indian culture'... archaic has some negative connotations of redundancy, which I don't think is the bet way to end an essay. Try 'richness' or 'traditions' or something along those lines, cause it's a more positive end.

And hahaha if you wanted a non-Indian perspective, you should comment on a non-Indian's essay and ask for reciprocation. I don't exactly fit that bill=P

And I think what this essay lacks is the 'wow factor'- by that, I mean one striking thing about it. Everything slightly fades in my mind. I think, to acheive that, you should cut down repetitions. You'e mentioned eating meat seperately three times, if I remember right, bring them all together! I think that will help.
OP amazingA 8 / 35  
Dec 14, 2010   #10
haha nishabala thanks for your comments...and yes i kinda forgot about how you were indian when i commented on your essay and asked for a reciprocation..either way, i think your critique was helpful so it doesn't matter
vcmk 2 / 3  
Dec 18, 2010   #11
I really like the essay, but I believe you could shorten it. There are times where it gets a bit redundant.
OP amazingA 8 / 35  
Dec 18, 2010   #12
yes vanessa, i did reduce quite a lot of junk from my essay plus i changed some paragraphs around. i am glad in the end it turned out the way i wanted it to

thanks for your help. i appreciate it :)


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