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Study Abroad Essay- Barcelona (your first choice program)


tkkt1 11 / 47  
Jan 9, 2011   #1
*** I would like comments on how to cut down on word count by answering the questions succinctly. Other input would also be greatly appreciated.
*** I will return the favor.

- Briefly explain why you would like to participate in your first choice program.
- How does it fit into the scheme of your education?
- You may wish to comment on what you feel will be the most challenging (or most rewarding) about your selected location, or what skills (i.e., language) you hope to improve.

- Please elaborate on what advantages specific to your interests and enthusiasms come with studying a civilization on site.

Five days, four hundred units, three lectures and a math tutorial are all organized neatly to make my winter quarter schedule. The scheme of my education is currently mapped out without room for error and exploration. It is outlined by the plain black print of text books and the stark walls of the classroom which have always unfailingly left me dissatisfied, but I yearn to break out of this academic routine. Although I have always had a full course load, I have never been a full time student; a class syllabus only plans my education within a lecture hall. Studying abroad is like a 24 hour class without a syllabus and it has always been my plan to, well, learn without a plan. I possess this intellectual curiosity to seek answers to questions beyond what a formal education might supply.

In a city bursting with life like Barcelona, lessons will arrive as smells, sounds, textures, sights and flavors. The sound of grandmothers bargaining for the morning's catch will help me improve on my language skills as I'll try to decipher their rapid chatter. The flavors of paella will expand my picky palette. The smell of incense will draw me into the Catedral de Barcelona where I can delve into a religion that is not my own. The sight of the Barcelona skyline, a medley of acroterions, myriad domes, mosaics, and finials, will be the place where I fall effortlessly deeper in love with Catalan modernism.

My gaze will pay tribute to the unsung hero of modernisme architecture, Domčnech i Montaner. At the turn of the century, he seized the opportunity to usher in a new form of modern design, rampant as it was with neo-Gothic motifs that linked the Barcelona's industrialization to its rich medieval history. His creations captured the blend of civic pride and social rise of the time; the buildings still radiate these sentiments that I wish so much to feel as I learn about the people who lived in it hundreds of years ago. There is no other way or place where I can have such an experience where everything I eat, breathe, and live is connected to my education.

However, I am hesitant to venture down the cobble stone roads that lead to performances of the Flamenco and matches of bullfighting. Barcelona's vivacity will be sure to not only inspire novel ideas but also ignite questions that might be left unexpressed. I am fearful of having questions to be answered but not having the ability to ask them, but this concern will soon fade as I learn Barcelona pronunciation and new jargon.

Although I'll arrive with a heavy English accent, exposure to vulnerability and error is what makes growth possible. With growth, I will experience other ways of thinking and only then will I finally acquire a true education: an education that does not make an empty brain into one that is packed with information, but instead transforms it into an open mind.

-Thuy T.
lauren88 1 / 3  
Jan 10, 2011   #2
Your essay read a bit like a travel journal rather than a statement of purpose.

The sound of grandmothers bargaining for the morning's catch will help me improve on my language skills as I'll try to decipher their rapid chatter. The flavors of paella will expand my picky palette. The smell of incense will draw me into the Catedral de Barcelona where I can explore its valley of tombs and delve into a religion that is not my own. The sight of pure grandeur in the form the Barcelona skyline-a medley of acroterions, myriad domes, mosaics, and finials-will leave me in utter awe.

These examples sound pretty, but get boring after the first two... I think you can cut down a lot here and simply mention "cuisine, art, architecture"

On a corner half way between La Sagrada Famlia and La Pedrera, I will find a 20th century masterpiece that isn't designed by the idolized Antoní Gaudí.

This sentence is unnecessary.

My gaze will instead pay tribute to the unsung hero of modernisme architecture: Domènech i Montaner. At the turn of the century, he seized the opportunity to usher in a new form of modern design, rampant as it was with neo-Gothic motifs that linked the Barcelona's industrialization to its rich medieval history. His creations captured the blend of civic pride and social rise of the time; the buildings still radiate these sentiments that I wish so much to feel as I learn about the people who lived in it hundreds of years ago.

This is good. I think you can focus on just one thing about Barcelona that you like and KNOW a lot about to show that you have done your research.

I'm not sure you answered the question "How does it fit into the scheme of your education?"
I didn't get why learning a language is important to you. Did you study Catalan or Spanish before? Are you a literature, architect, or international business major? How will the experience help your future? (more specifically than just "broaden your horizon")

and the phrase "Catalan pronunciation" is confusing. Catalan is an entirely different language than Spanish (though related). So other than pronunciation, you also need to learn grammar and orthography...

Overall, your tone sounds too dramatically rather than professional to me. A dramatic tone in the first paragraph might be OK. But this is a bit much.

BTW, on a personal note, I taught English in Barcelona for a year. It wasn't all that much fun =/ Hope you get in and have a better experience!
missvictoria29 1 / 3  
Jan 12, 2011   #3
I am fearful of having questions to be answered but not having the ability to ask them, but this concern will soon fade as I learn Catalan pronunciation and new jargon.

- There should not be two but's in this sentence. It does not sound right.

Barcelona's vivacity will be sure to not only inspire novel ideas but also ignite questions that might be left unexpressed. I am fearful of having questions to be answered but not having the ability to ask them, but this concern will soon fade as I learn Catalan pronunciation and new jargon.

-There is nothing wrong with this sentence. From reading your essay I can infer that you want to write a book. Is your major Literature, Humanities, Architecture or Language? Besides just talking about Barcelona, you should make this essay a bit more personal. I can understand why you want to go there, but it doesn't give the reader much on how this will fit your scheme on education. Maybe talk about why Barcelona inspires you to accomplish things in more detail.

Does the art in Barcelona and the language want you to analyze life in more detail?

As for your transition:

I would say something about that architect, like a fact about him that made you have an interest in his work.

- The tone is good. It's creative, rather than just plain and simple.

Good luck!
atham64 4 / 12  
Jan 12, 2011   #4
the beginning of your essay is kind of lacking personality and does not hook me as a reader as it is suppose to. maybe begin with something in spain that is not known to people but keeps people guessing where it is.
ltpvan 5 / 35  
Jan 12, 2011   #5
It is outlined by the plain black print of text books and the stark walls of the classroom which have always unfailingly left me dissatisfied, and I yearn to break out of this academic routine.

"and" is a more appropriate conjunction

Although I have always had a full course load, I have never been a full time student

I had to re read this multiple times, because I thought you meant "never been a full time student" meant that you only go to school part time, make sense? Anyway, I suggest that you rephrase the sentence

His creations captured the blend of civic pride and social advancement of the time;

I think "social rise" just sound awkward

I think you're trying to spread yourself too far in this essay. Trying to focus on one or two things that you really like about Barcelona. Things like "picky palette" or "religion not my own" is good, but too much of it is unnecessary.

Also, I feel like you're trying too hard to paint a picture of semi-irrelevant stuff and didn't dedicate enough space to focus on the main points.

In a city bursting with life like Barcelona, lessons will arrive as smells, sounds, textures, sights and flavors. The sound of grandmothers bargaining for the morning's catch will help me improve on my language skills as I'll try to decipher their rapid chatter. The flavors of paella will expand my picky palette. The smell of incense will draw me into the Catedral de Barcelona where I can delve into a religion that is not my own. The sight of the Barcelona skyline, a medley of acroterions, myriad domes, mosaics, and finials, will be the place where I fall effortlessly deeper in love with Catalan modernism.

Five days, four hundred units, three lectures and a math tutorial are all organized neatly to make my winter quarter schedule. The scheme of my education is currently mapped out without room for error and exploration. It is outlined by the plain black print of text books and the stark walls of the classroom which have always unfailingly left me dissatisfied, but I yearn to break out of this academic routine. Although I have always had a full course load, I have never been a full time student; a class syllabus only plans my education within a lecture hall.Studying abroad is like a 24 hour class without a syllabus and it has always been my plan to, well, learn without a plan. I possessthis intellectual curiosity to seek answers to questions beyond what a formal education might supply.

See? There's two different pictures that really takes up a lot of your space; I suggest only using one picture, namely the Barcelona one. You can open with the Barcelona para. to provide the reader with a sense of what you will experience and briefly mention how you want to get away from the "stark classroom walls" to have a more fulfilling experience as a student; you wouldn't need anything more than that. Above, I crossed out parts to reveal the meat-and-bone of your para. that you might absolutely want to include.

Good luck!
P.S. these are only suggestions. Do what you feel will be a good essay.


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