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UC Personal Statement: Language, Culture, and Unity

mtruong15 1 / -  
Nov 22, 2010   #1
Hello. Could someone help me and critique the content? I understand the wording is choppy, but I'm just focusing on the content at the moment and then going to edit the flow. It's a bit long so I need to figure out what parts could be taken out or edited. If you could give some feedback than I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

Of all the things in life that define me, my family and culture stand as the most defining aspects of my life.

My entire life growing up has been unique in the fact that a language barrier stands between my parents and my brother and I. To some it may not be unique, but I am the only case I know where the parents speak another language from their children. Specifically, both my parents speak Vietnamese with little fluency in English. My brother and I know enough Vietnamese to create basic conversation, but have never been able to express emotion through conversation such as gratitude or love. My parents immigrated here about two decades ago, so we come from two completely different generations. Explaining differences in generations and culture in English is difficult enough, but to have two languages separate my culture and their culture was nearly impossible. We are disconnected by communication, but this wall never stopped us from being a family. I've had to live with the struggle of being somewhat distant to my parents my entire life, but this experience drives me to learn their language. I want to be able to connect with my parents more completely, and help bring unity to those all around me with similarities. This gap of communication drives me to learn about language itself and how it connects people around the world because language is a part of my background, and my culture is a piece of who I am.

My family has always practiced many of their cultural traditions. Though at my school not many students speak their parent's native tongue, or practice many of their traditions when looking at those who hold the same heritage as I. At school I am active in a school club called APSU, which stands for Asian Pacific Student Union. We connect with the students around us to learn of the different Asian cultures and find unity between those people who hold that same interest in culture. This exposure specifically makes me want to pursue the study of culture, and experience those different culture's first hand. My parents always told me old stories about how lively the days and nights were in their hometowns. How the streets lit up at night and all people crowded the streets in events such as a New Year or the Mid-Autumn Festival. These images and this exposure drives me to pursue more knowledge of several cultures and travel to experience them as well. I want to be able to hold onto my family's heritage, and pass that on through generations to show the importance of preserving culture.

Economically my family is not the most fortunate either, which is a result from their struggle with the English language. Initially my family was doing well until my family hit bankruptcy and had to start from scratch. My father is a farmer, which economically isn't the most profitable occupation. And my mother works on commission as a nail stylist making less than a student making minimum wage most of the time. Having to see how little my parents make for all their hard labor helped develop who I am today. This environment guided me to make choices, choices such as picking up a part time job to help my family and volunteering to help those less fortunate. My environment kept my mind open to the different types of struggles of the people around me and urges me on to help my family. I work to my full ability not only for myself, but for my family. I work to achieve success because everything my parents have done for me would be too much to let go. They want me to be happy, and so I'll always strive to achieve my dreams, and with that mentality I've always held the will to help others, and that has developed my aspirations to make change by helping those in need of help.

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