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"my trip to India and China" - I will be applying early decision to Dartmouth.


ams1121 3 / 6  
Sep 6, 2010   #1
This is my common app essay keep in mind that I am applying early decision to dartmouth. Be critical as possible. Thank you very much.

As we mature, our general perspective on life progresses in tune with our daily experiences. While some are faced with negative experiences, others have the opportunity to fill their lives with positive and meaningful ones. It can safely be said that a man is a sum total of his life's experiences. Perception is one thing that is dictated by an individuals experience, and is subject to change from day-to-day. As a young boy, my perception was heavily affected by my parents' decision to move to America in search of higher education. At this young age, a move across town, let alone the world, would have been a memorable enough experience to change anyone's notion of the world. As I grew older, I continued to gather several unique experiences of the world, traveling all over the United States and frequently visiting India in order to stay in touch with my family and heritage. Now, through my travels my perspective on things began to change. I started to view the world outside of my "bubble," generally constructed from the safety of my home, school, parents and friends. I was introduced to diversity and world cultures. My most unique experience however occurred last summer between junior and senior year. Keep in mind, I had first traveled alone across America at the age of five to visit my family, but this summer was bound to be an entirely different experience. While most students plan summer vacations on the beaches of Florida and the trails of the Appalachian Mountains, my friend and I planned a rather unique trip alone to the two most populated countries in the world: India and China.

We began to plan our trip several months in advance in order to ensure we would maximize our time there. Among many other sights, we visited, Delhi (the nation's capital), Agra (sight of the Taj Mahal), Jaipur (the Pink City known for its palaces), Ajanta & Ellora Caves (ancient Jain, Buddhist, and Hindu cave temples) and Mumbai (the business capital of India). While the history was fascinating, the truly captivating part was experiencing the culture. The language, food, people, clothing and mannerisms all changed from city to city and we saw a greater divide moving from one state to another. The influence of the Mughals, British and several other empires was evident in every location. Even more evident was the stark dichotomy between rich and poor. Within a country of hungry millions, many were well educated and well off. In one village, my American friend was attacked by a small group of kids with rocks. Till then I hadn't realized, that to them, this stranger in fact seemed an intruder among their people who was unable to comprehend their lifestyle. This event acted as a tool to help open my eyes to the world, creating a shift in perception from my rather "Americanized" views.

While India had provided a rare experience, our trip to China was certainly more eye opening in the sense that it further altered my perception of community, service, family, and friends. Our purpose in China was of a different nature. We traveled to the small village of Changliu in the Conghua district of the Guangdong province to help its people build houses that would provide shelter and greater stability. Among many firsts, this was the first time I had visited China and the first time I would be building a house. Prepared for a week of hard work, we departed by train from Hong Kong not knowing what to expect. When we arrived we were greeted by a group of villagers who promptly set up a makeshift marketplace in the hope we would purchase their crops, goods and animals. The building commenced and we immediately got to work digging the foundation, moving bricks, and mixing cement. Without any large machinery, many tasks that would have generally been much easier took a significant amount of extra effort and time. Over the next five days we started to make friends with the locals. I was astonished by the village's sense of community. Everyone, whether or not it was their house being built, would help during construction. Family was equally important in the village. Young villagers would collectively care for the elders and children. One of the defining moments of the trip took place when one of the girls whose house we were building wrote us a heartfelt letter describing her family's situation from her brother's illness to her difficult childhood. Regardless of these hardships she seemed to always keep a smile on her face willingly helping us in anyway possible. As we left the village a week later, I truly felt as though I had lived there my whole life and was overcome by a sense of satisfaction that I had been a part of creating new living conditions for those in need.

On our trip back to Hong Kong I continued to reflect on the experience and its effect on my perception. I realized that there are certain things that we frequently take for granted including our families, friends, teachers, and communities. These people make it their goal to build the foundation of our lives and ensure our success. Often in our society we fail to see their importance but through my experiences in India and China I became conscious of their significant role in our lives. Overall, my trip to India and China was a defining event in my life and one that I will never forget.

By: Ameya Ashish Deshmukh
ershad193 14 / 333 5  
Sep 7, 2010   #2
Your first paragraph looked very rushed to me. It also seemed as if you are trying to say a lot of things in a limited space.

My suggestion would be to break it down into two paragraphs, and slowly develop the theme.

Keep in mind, I had first traveled alone across America at the age of five to visit my family, but this summer was bound to be an entirely different experience

This sentence is unnecessary.

We began to plan our trip several months

Use fewer words wherever possible -- "We planned our trip several..."

This also seems useless.

I truly felt as though I had lived there my whole life

I like this!

Hmm...I don't think you did a good job with the conclusion. It's hard to see how that experience helped you understand all that you say in the concluding para.

I think the problem with your essay is that it lacks a distinct theme. I couldn't see where you were going with this, except describing your tour experience.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Sep 7, 2010   #3
As we mature, our general perspective on life progresses in tune with our daily experiences. While some are faced with negative experiences, others have the opportunity to fill their lives with positive and meaningful ones. It can safely be said that a man person is a sum total of his life's experiences.

Perception is one thing that is dictated by an individual's

helping us in any way (2 words, any way)

This is great! You write very well. I think that it will be better if you say something else in the last line. It is not enough to say you will never forget it. Tell about the truth is revealed to you. You gave a great discussion of those truths, but sum them up in that last line.
OP ams1121 3 / 6  
Sep 7, 2010   #4
Thanks for your suggestions everyone please keep them coming. Anything to make my essay better. This was simply the first draft I still have to sit down with my father and my english teacher to edit and revise and such. Thanks again.


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