PS Final Draft? Multicultural experiences, Please critique!

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PS Final Draft? Multicultural experiences, Please critique!

Postby keeran23 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:30 pm

I completely overhauled my previous draft and changed the theme a little bit, feel free to break it down as you please:

After spending two months in Madurai, a small city in a southern state of India, I found myself boarding a plane to Johannesburg with my family. I had come to accept this as a normal flow of events as every other summer was spent with family from both India and South Africa. Each summer I would depart from the Western world, and enter into two seemingly polar countries. The cultural transitions I experienced in each summer gave me perspective from across the globe, aiding me in my undergraduate studies and my course towards law school.

Constantly exposed to a multicultural environment, I became accustomed to differing views as India and South Africa were seemingly dichotomous in nature. A prominent example of such difference is captured in the racial outlook toward whites in each respective country. People I encountered in India were very receptive of whites and generally held them in high regard. On the other hand, relatives and friends in South Africa were very disparaging of whites, no matter their origin. At first, these conflicting ideals baffled me, as I felt both countries were an extension of me and thus should hold similar views with respect to each other. Only by keeping an open mind and truly understanding each country’s cultural environment was I able to realize that the Indian view I was exposed to stemmed from the vast poverty throughout the country. The outlook toward whites in this case came from the notion that these Westerners might potentially be very wealthy and would somehow share their wealth. Conversely, the South African view was deep-rooted in the apartheid system that had just recently been abolished; in this case whites were associated with the legalized oppression of non-whites that had taken place over several decades. This deep understanding of my cultural environment was due largely to my ability, honed over time, to view each culture within its own unique context. The application of this skill however extended far beyond my annual summer trips.

My choice to attend the University of Connecticut was greatly influenced by the fact that my father was a professor of engineering at the institution. It made economic sense to attend the university as my four years of undergraduate studies would be tuition-free. However, tuition-free did not imply problem-free. Having been exposed to racial and cultural tensions when growing up, I was no stranger to racially motivated remarks. So when I was privy to several racially callous comments throughout my undergraduate career, I was not surprised. On one such occasion, I overheard an individual comparing Indians to the terrorists of 9/11. Despite the rash comment, I approached her with an open mind and conveyed to her that the Islamic extremists credited with the attacks were far removed from the wider culture of South Asia. Through our interaction I was able to understand her point of view and in the process ended up making a friend. This type of occurrence was common throughout my undergraduate career and with each incident, my ability to keep open mind and remember the significance of cultural circumstances helped me combat seemingly ignorant remarks.

Keeping my experiences in the foreground, I was inspired by my grandfather to attend law school. Trained in the law in Chennai, India, my grandfather always kept up to date on legal proceedings in India as well as the U.S. The more we understand about each other, he said, the better our world will be in successive generations. Though my grandfather’s view was very ambitious, I find merit in keeping myself abreast of international events. Such an interest, when coupled with my own hard-won cultural awareness, seems to make the practice of law a perfect fit for me.

As a law school student, I look forward to comparing my diverse experiences with those of other students in an ongoing effort to broaden my own horizons. I feel as though my unique outlook, gained from the hands-on experience of living amid vastly different cultures, will aid in very meaningful discussion in the classroom setting and is well-suited for the study and practice of law. Although I do not yet know exactly how my background will influence my experience of law school, I am confident that my multicultural experiences, combined with keeping an open mind, will only help in my endeavors.

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