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Samsae-third generation Korean immigrant-born in Japan - learned of my Korean and Japanese heritage

kitakaname 5 / 17 2  
Nov 18, 2014   #1
Hi, this is my personal statement for UCs. I am currently looking for some comments and editings!! Since my first language is not English, if possible I would like somebody to correct my grammar, too!

Prompt; Describe the world you come from--for example, your family, school or community--and tell us how the world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.


Being a samsae-third generation Korean immigrant-born in Japan, I have always learned of my Korean and Japanese heritage in a considerable amount of ways. Starting from when I was ten, I have studied Korean as a second language besides using Japanese as a main language of my everyday life. In addition, my family has also helped me cultivate my sense of my identities in being Korean and Japanese, teaching me the importance to celebrate my both backgrounds. Not having a country where I sincerely belong to sometimes makes me feel a sense of emptiness, but I have learned to enjoy living in middle of two different identities with two different values through the three years of my activities.


vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Nov 18, 2014   #2
Kitakaname, as I progressed with reading your essay, I found myself interested in what you had to say about the Korean-Japanese background that you come from. It is a background that creates a unique and diverse personality in a person who comes from those roots. However, the world that you come from, from your description is too rehearsed in nature. That means that the essay comes across as merely informative and not really connected with you as a person. Sure you did this and that activity at the museum in order to learn something about your history. There is more to your story than this. Tell us about the world that you come from. Not this sanitized version that you present before us.

Talk about the positive and negative aspects of being a Samsae. Let us into this unique world by showing us your life. Are you more Japanese or Korean? Do you feel like you have a split personality? If you do, explain why. How does the Japanese and Korean world collide in your personality? How do you cope with it? Is there racial discrimination in your world? Why does it exist? How do you overcome the discrimination? Those are the interesting points that you can point out in a very personal manner in this essay. Such information will truly help us understand the world you come from and how it has helped to shape the person you have become :-)
OP kitakaname 5 / 17 2  
Nov 20, 2014   #3
Hi, vangiespen! Thank you for your comments:) After reading your comments, I tried my best to rewrite my essay to make it more personal. Although I am not sure if it is enough, I would like you to see my revised version below!
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Nov 20, 2014   #4
This is definitely an essay that better describes the world that you come from. The two worlds actually. Your opening statement certainly delivers a strong impact that I am sure will hook in the reader. I have some suggestions to make that I I feel will help improve your essay. I hope you feel the same.

- "By the way, what are you?" For my entire life, people have been posing this question before me. They could never seem to accept that one can be a Samsae, third generation Korean immigrant born in Japan. It seems that to them, I could only be either Korean or Japanese, but never a hybrid of both leading Asian country descendants. I never thought that I had to define myself by race or country, that seemed pointless because I believe that ...

- You can delete this portion because what you have to say in it is not as important as the one that comes after it. Do not spend time on half developed or little informative paragraphs.

- Do not deviate from the prompt. You are only being asked to describe the world that you come from. You are not being asked how your inclusion in American society will add to its diversity. Write a strong closing statement instead that describes how your being a Samsae has helped Japan become a better, diversified country because of what you learned at your work in the museum. Then relate the two cultures in a way that explains how they no longer exist separately in you but rather, exists as a unique kind of person in your being and why.
OP kitakaname 5 / 17 2  
Nov 21, 2014   #5
Thank you for your comments. I actually rewrote my essay again, could you once look over it?


"By the way, what are you?"
For what seems like my entire life, this kind of questions referring to my race have countlessly showed up in front of me. Every time I am asked, however, I think they are all nonsense. Being a samsae-third generation Korean immigrant-born in Japan, I have never been able to define myself by my race or country where I was born; instead, I believe that I have grown up to be a hybrid, living in the middle of two different identities with two different values.

I began to appreciate my Korean heritage when I began to be involved in a Korean-Japanese history museum located in Shin Okubo, Tokyo-Tokyo's biggest Korean town. For the past two years, I have spent every Saturday attending classes at this museum to learn Korean history, cultures, and language. My early days at this museum was a harsh experience for me. Not having learned Korean cultures before, I felt pain about my ignorance of my heritage although I was of Korean descent. The more I have learned in this environment, however, the more my Korean heritage have become important part of myself. Over the years, I have come to realize that the journey to explore my roots has opened up my eyes to a considerably new perspective, reinforcing the meaning of my ancestral cultures to me. Being immersed in the flood of Japanese cultures, I failed to acknowledge the presence of my heritage in life; now I have begun to value the traditions of my birthright, and even more, become willing to keep connected with them.

Since my sophomore, I have worked as a tour-guide and as an interpreter at this museum. As the only volunteer of Korean descent who speaks Korean and Japanese, I handled both Korean and Japanese tourists. While interacting with tourists, I often projected myself into them and tried to figure out our similarities. After a few months of my involvement in this activity, I began to perceive myself differently. I realized my own idiosyncrasies that three generations of my family history have brought me. Explaining the exhibitions to the tourists from South Korea, I often noticed that they were bewildered by my Korean with a strong Japanese accent. Furthermore, Japanese tourists who asked about my name sometimes did not understand why I have my Japanese name but do not have my Korean name. With all of these traits, I have also developed my identity as well. As a Japanese citizen of Korean ancestry, I have learned to celebrate my both backgrounds as a way to find a place in the world where I can fit in. Embracing all of my idiosyncrasies-in which Korean and Japanese cultures coexist-have eventually allowed me to build up a more secured relationship between myself and external world.

The Korean-Japanese museum has provided me with a valuable opportunity to learn the relationships of myself, my upbringing, and my roots. I have come to realize the importance of celebrating my own individuality, and recognizing differences. Even when I am aspiring to cross my boundary to a new culture, I will never forget the world that created me, but I would like to welcome differences. This is the world I live, and this is my hybridism I thrive in.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Nov 22, 2014   #6
Since my sophomore,

- Since my sophomore year in high school ...

The essay is as good as it can be in my opinion. It already represents you in a way that I can tell truly satisfies your wish to be identified through this essay. There are still some portions that you can edit to make the essay shorter, such as the events that happen to you at the museum. I am suggesting this because the museum is not the world that you come from and yet it takes up half the essay content. The world that you come from is the hybrid Japanese and Korean world. I believe you should be concentrating more on that aspect of your personality in the essay but I believe you do not feel too comfortable discussing that so we can stick to what you want to discuss :-) If you feel the same way as I do, then the essay is ready to use. If you think you want to work on it some more, then let me know what you want to do so that I can help you with it :-)
OP kitakaname 5 / 17 2  
Nov 22, 2014   #7
Hi, vangiespen! Thank you for your quick reply! To tell the truth, I also want to reperesent my "hybrid Korean-Japanese" personality in some ways. But I am not sure how and where I can talk about those topics in this essay:( so if possible could you give me some suggestions so that I can revise it more? Any way thank you for helping me all the time!!
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Nov 22, 2014   #8
Here is what you can do in order to highlight your hybrid personality. Leave this particular essay as is for now and write a second one. A totally new one in which you discuss the positive and negative aspects of being a third generation Samsae. What was it like growing up? How did you feel when you're heritage was questioned? How did you manage to merge both worlds on your own? What makes your story special is the fact that you have two highly different and unique blood lines to call upon on your world. Try to make the specialness of these two worlds reflect in your essay. Be sure to let us know that in the end, you were the only person who knew how to merge these two worlds into one person in order to create a unique Samsae in your person.

After you do that post the essay here so we can compare the two and talk about which particular version would work best for you. It is the only way we can play up the hybrid heritage on your part. I hope you won't mind having to write a new essay. I am willing to work with you on it if you feel that you want to try that route :-)
OP kitakaname 5 / 17 2  
Nov 23, 2014   #9
Hi, vangiespen! Well... it is a pretty hard suggestions...haha, but I am sure I will try.
well, but unlike most of the Korean immigrants, I have never come in contact with Korean cultures. Rather, I have known little about my origin until my grandfather passed away. Thus, I have never thought that I was even Korean. But since my grandfather passed away, i came to think that I did not want to throw my heritage and became interested in learning it. Any way I wil write them too.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Nov 23, 2014   #10
I was just making some suggestions to help you out :-) I would prefer that you develop your own essay if you can. You don't have to follow my instructions to the letter if you think that there is another approach that you can take in writing the second version of your essay. I am only here to guide you and advice you until you feel that you have developed an essay that you feel is satisfactory to your needs. That means that you hold the decision reins in your hands. Write the essay the way that you feel you can do it best. I will take my cue from you and help you develop it in the way that you envision it :-)

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