Example of Graduate School Admission Essay - Experiencing Culture Shock


Have you ever experienced culture shock? What did it mean to you? (250 words approx.)

Even though I had been to the United States before, to move there presented me with a big challenge to adapt to a completely new environment. During the first few weeks, I was thrilled, pleased by all of the new things I encountered. Mostly everything I came across was new and exciting, such as the tennis academy, the car, the house, the opportunity to learn another language, to expand my horizons in a foreign country.

However, little by little I came to realize that I was the foreigner. Mainly, I started to be frustrated because of the language barrier. As a result, I became unsocial which did not allow me to make new friends. In addition, attending classes made me feel incompetent since I only understood partially what was being taught. Besides, reading Mark Twain’s The adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a first assignment did not help much. Curiously enough, Calculus was the subject I understood most of what was being said given that I had the numbers as a reference. Fortunately, I was playing tennis and determined to become a professional player so my drive kept me going. This transition stage lasted for about four months.

Finally, instead of giving up and returning to Brazil, I decided to change my attitude. I realized this was a great opportunity for learning and acquiring new perspectives. Subsequently, I rediscovered a new feeling of pleasure and I reached a balance. I became more familiar with the environment, created a circle of friends, got good grades in school, improved my tennis and for once I felt like I belonged there. Without being conscious, I was developing a better understanding of myself.

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