Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.
It was not until my sophomore year, when I enrolled in AP Spanish, that I experienced a fraction of the struggles of a language learner, which is the norm for many of the migrant students at my school. In middle school, only 4% of the students identified as Latinx; Spanish was just another class. However, learning Spanish in a room full of heritage speakers was another ball game. I felt the judgmental stares of doubtful classmates whenever I would attempt to speak. I heard a voice in my head, advising me against asking questions when I was confused. I carried the pressure to understand everything and to be able to execute my knowledge of the language perfectly. Over time, I developed relationships with my classmates which made me feel more comfortable in the class. Their support helped me not only acquire the language, but also the culture.
That year, learning Spanish was like growing a tree, and the fruits of my labor encouraged me to plant another one, this time it was Japanese. I approached this class differently. No longer was I afraid to speak in front of native speakers. Impressed by how quickly I absorbed the language, my teacher invited me travel to Japan with her AP class, during Spring break. I also had the honor of giving the welcome address at the Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum. While in Okinawa, my host family embraced me, teaching me how to cook a traditional meal and showing me how to play the Japanese koto guitar. Even though I had only been studying for seven months, I was able to build a relationship with this family, who gave me the Japanese Kanji for my name.
That same year, I started a blog on WordPress, Eliciting Empathy, to promote awareness about global issues. Learning languages has helped me to connect with people from different cultures; it has encouraged me to be open-minded; it has taught me empathy; it has given me the courage to be vulnerable; it has inspired me to travel and learn more than a class or textbook could teach me.Published in