It is my commonapp essay about the event that marked my transition to maturity.
I would really appreciate if you could please help me with my grammar.
a better version on me
10:42. August,18th, 2012. Pestalozzi Camp. Switzerland. Our eyes sparkled with eager anticipation. It was finally about to happen. That last minute seemed to last forever. Aaand YES! We could hear steps in the corridor. Swiss children - Laura, Sarah, Céline, and Luca, to name a few - finally came in. But something went wrong: instead of the zeal, their eyes reflected genuine shock and confusion. Initially assuming we are 'poorly dressed, malnourished children from Ukraine, a country with a constant drought and problems in East Africa' (as they later admitted), they were surprised to see neat, smiling and slightly plump children.
They even brought us some food.
I must confess their words and actions were hurtful and to some extent abusive for a 12-year-old me from middle-income Ukrainian family thinking of her parents and country only the best.
Their reaction was undeniably enlightening. It made me comprehend the context of my reality. As I matured that comprehension only deepened with me repeatedly encountering people thinking of both Ukraine and the Ukrainian language as non-existent. I was exposed to the outer world. It was the world where Ukraine was perceived as something marginal - either as 'a part of Russia' or 'just another post-Soviet country' - which drastically diverged from my image of Ukraine. Those unintendedly pejorative words killed any trace of my dignity and pride: I did not want to be a product of my environment. For me, my homeland transformed from being a harmonious miscellany of peace, love, authentic songs and costumes to just a country of people afraid to speak up for injustice, ignorance and for themselves - the parallel reality I was unwilling to identify with. This phenomenon is not unprecedented: it happened millions of times to the millions of Ukrainians. I was determined to flee the country the moment I would only have a chance.
My Ukraine changed as well as I did.
I finally understood it was me who was indeed cowardly obedient in this situation. I need to be sure I used all the opportunities to leave the positive footprint on my community, for me to derive fulfillment from my life. It is the high time young Ukrainians stood up and took the mutual responsibility for what is going on. I also realized that it is me who is to assign the meaning to the words and, thus, to determine their influence on me. In addition to being belittling and humiliating, they have the propensity to empower me to venture into the uncertainty of trying to trigger changes in, to a certain extent, stagnating society. I cannot change the past, but the present and future may experience my contribution.
I did leave the country. However, instead of blurring my Ukrainian identity I now strive earnestly to confront the prejudices and 'part-of-Russia', 'salo and vodka' stereotypes by unostentatiously showing Ukraine`s diversity as well as being the way I am - independent, intelligent, hardworking, and perceptive. Moreover, I want to take the experience and knowledge gained back to my country since living abroad exposes me to unconventional (for me) ideas and demeanors, and thus helps me to broaden my horizons. Old paradigms do not work, and Ukrainians need more freedom - social, moral, intellectual, and political. Therefore, by sharing and implementing my knowledge I am resolute in offering people an alternative way of doing things, consequently facilitating the extermination of the model of Ukrainian Homo Sovieticus.
Perhaps I see my possible contribution in a rather idealistic way. It is likely that I will not manage to fully satisfy my lofty aspiration, yet endeavoring will stimulate me intellectually and culturally. I believe everything goes in a spiral with the new spiral being larger than the previous one. What does it mean? It means that each next step in my life is to be greater and more meaningful than the previous one.