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"Summer of 2007+ Culture shock" - story of my life; cultural - Washington Essays


eastchris20 1 / 1  
Nov 20, 2010   #1
Hi all, I'm applying to UW and these are my essays for the application.

Looking for some general feedback, edits would be nice too but not needed :). Thanks for looking... I don't know how to make the papers indent for paragraphs. Sorry about that!

1. )Tell us a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it. (500-650 words)

- a character-defining moment
- the cultural awareness you've developed
- a challenge faced
- a personal hardship or barrier overcome

2. )Describe an experience of cultural difference, positive or negative, you have had or observed. What did you learn from it? (250-500 words)

1.)

The summer of 2007 is a vast collection of many memories that I feel very fortunate to have experienced. I had felt incredibly blessed to have the opportunity of traveling to Europe and touring the countries of France and Germany for two months. I was able to fully experience the local cultures and during the trip visited many outlandish castles, ports, and cities. Although, out of everything I had done my most nostalgic and cherished memories of the trip were those that I experienced with my mom.

On July 4th, 2005 I vaguely remember my mom driving over to my dad's house and saying goodbye to my sister and I. At the time, I thought she was going to vacation or something similar, but it wasn't until after my mom left that my dad told me she was moving back to France. A day that I was supposed to be feeling an exuberant amount of joy and patriotism was quickly degraded into a deep and sullen melancholy. My mom would punctually call my sister and I every week though, to cheer not only us up, but herself. Unfortunately a phone call is a light and day difference when compared to being with someone in person.

As a result of the recent economy, my dad nor my mom have had the disposable amount of money required to send me to France. I had a pessimistic outlook until last summer about ever being able to see my mom before my senior year in high school was finished. I had good reason too, gas prices were extortionately high and as a result airline fares rose in unison. Fortunately, I acquired a job and worked throughout my whole junior year of high school. My year of job experience not only gave myself new hope of traveling to France again, but a large amount of pride as many of the kids at my school did not work for the things they wanted.

The experience of seeing my mother for two months in the last five years has really opened my eyes on how great of a dad my father has been to me. He's supportive, optimistic, and caring. My dad is for the most part a silhouette of the kind of father figure I would like to be to my own kids. With the support of my dad among many other positive influences including, soccer, lacrosse, school, and good quality friends I have been able to painstakingly patch the void that my mom made when she went back to her place of birth.

Looking back at how my life has been affected from the relative absence of my mother, I would say it has been for the better. I learned through experience that accepting what life throws at a person and making it better is an invaluable trait. I now look forward to what the future brings with a positive outlook. Hopefully, during Christmas of this year I'll be able to not only speak with my mom, but see her as well.

2.)

Culture shock is almost inevitable when living for long periods of time in a foreign country. I have had the opportunity to personally experience the feeling of complete and utter confusion while visiting distant family. My family and I were travelling to France for vacation and to see some family that I had not seen in years.

When we finally visited my relatives it was a little awkward. While I did end up hugging my grandmother, as that is a relatively universal way to greet someone. Some of the French customary gestures such as pecking each other's cheeks with false kisses seemed very outlandish to me. This was only the beginning of the trip though and as the trip did progress I began noticing more and more differences between how my family does something in Washington compared to my French relatives. A great example would be lunch. Gargantuan and time-consuming would both be severe understatements in my opinion. While I was used to quickly eating a sandwich and maybe a piece of fruit for lunch, I immediately learned that people from other countries do not do things similarly. They would end up preparing a massive quantity of food that they would then enjoy slowly in order to talk with their friends and family.

France was not the only country I noticed that had different customs and ways of doing everyday tasks. I was fortunate enough to visit family in Germany as well on the same trip and what surprised me is that neighboring countries can be so different. The architecture of the buildings, gestures, and even random things such as how the grocery stores run were all so exotic. Everything was different than France and completely different than the United States.

During my trip overseas I forced was out of my comfort zone and as a result made myself conform to how my French and German relatives did everything in order to be polite. I learned that respecting a person's way of life and culture is very important. Doing so not only benefits me but my country as well. Respecting other cultures creates a better image for oneself along with helping to eliminate stereotypes that are prevalent such as all Americans are disrespectful and rude.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13320 129  
Nov 28, 2010   #3
The summer of 2007 is a vast collection of many memories that I feel very fortunate to have experienced. This sentence is uninteresting, so it does not deserve the seat of honor at the start of the essay.

Plus, they are "memories of experiences," not "memories you are glad to have experienced..."

Get rid of the unnecessary words:
I had felt incredibly blessed to have the opportunity of to travel to Europe and touring tour the countries of France and Germany for two months.

See if you can cut unnecessary words until the whole essay has shrunk down to 75% of the original.

...and saying goodbye to my sister and I me.

I see lots of places to reduce the # of words:
The experience of s Seeing my mother for two months in the last ...

Culture shock is almost inevitable when living for long periods of time in a foreign country. Here is a statement of the obvious... like I said before, the intro sentence that starts the essay is important. Start with a good sentence, like this one:

I have had the opportunity to personally experience the feeling of I experienced complete and utter confusion while visiting distant family. My family and I were

Here is a very impressive sentence, full of meaning:
During my trip overseas I forced was out of my comfort zone and as a result made myself conform to how my French and German relatives did everything in order to be polite.

:-)


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