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University of Washington Short Response Culture Learning

kmayer96 2 / 4 1  
Nov 26, 2012   #1
For the University of Washington Application Short Response
Prompt: Describe an experience of cultural difference, positive or negative, you have had or observed. What did you learn from it?

When I was in the second grade, my parents told me we were going to host an exchange student from Switzerland. I was the only child in our household, and at 6 years old, I was incredibly excited to have a 'sister'. When she first arrived, I remember how surprised she was by all the new things in America. She also introduced my family to a lot of things that we hadn't tried before. She taught us some Swiss German, told us about her life at home and about her family, and even cooked us some traditional Swiss meals. My family travels quite a bit, but having someone from another country become a member of your family really helps you understand other cultures even more.

We hosted another exchange student when I was in seventh grade, but this time, she was from Thailand. The difference between American and Thai culture is so much greater than that between American and Swiss. It took a little bit longer for us to adjust, but by the end of the year we were just like family. I learned a lot about how different Asian culture is. Even American-Asians are much different than those who actually live in Asia. Respect is very important in Asian culture, and learning to respect others is a very important skill for interacting with not only Asians, but everyone.

In eighth grade, it was my turn to be the exchange student. Of course, I didn't go for a whole year, but I went on a school trip to Japan and we stayed with a host family for a long weekend. Being immersed in another culture has taught me so much more than learning from someone who has been brought into ours. While I was staying with my host family, I tripped down the stairs at a mall and got a bloody nose. They drove me home very quickly, and I ran inside in a hurry, forgetting to take off my shoes before going in the house. My host family was very upset that I didn't take off my shoes, and I think that taught me a lot. It's really interesting to me how something can be so important to one culture, and in another culture, we don't even think about it. There are so many different cultures in the world, and they all value so many different things. It's important to think about other cultures, and what they value, because if we don't, we'll never function as a society full of so many diverse people. Through my experiences with other cultures, I've discovered that learning about other cultures and tolerating them is one of the most important things we can do for our society.
mhanna 3 / 7 1  
Nov 27, 2012   #2
"... I was incredibly excited to have a ' sister' ." Change the apostrophes to quotation marks.

I like the anecdotes, but sometimes your transitions are a bit plain from the Swiss student, Thai student, to yourself. Also in your 3rd paragraph you wrote: "Of course, I didn't go for a whole year, but I went on a school trip to Japan and we stayed with a host family for a long weekend." Why the use of "of course"? It doesn't make much sense to the reader in context.

Otherwise, you have a great topic. And please take a look at my Common App short answer. Thanks!
OP kmayer96 2 / 4 1  
Nov 27, 2012   #3
Thank you :) I'll get rid of the 'of course' and change the transitions.

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