Humanity's Treasures

You may wish to include an additional essay if you feel that the college application forms do not provide sufficient opportunity to convey important information about yourself or your accomplishments. You may write on a topic of your choice, or you may choose from one of the following topics: - Unusual circumstances in your life - Travel or living experiences in other countries - What you would want your future college roommate to know about you - An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science or other modes of inquiry) that has meant the most to you - How you hope to use your college education - A list of books you have read during the past twelve months

I gaze at the pieces of an intricate puzzle: A stone Indian elephant on my desk, and a pale Korean doll on the shelf above it, draped in crimson and gold, with flowing black hair. The wall is adorned with my name on a sheet of white silk, my name itself painted in delicate Chinese brushstrokes. Traditional African bracelets line my jewelry box, paired with bangles from Afghanistan. The sunlight catches the green jade good luck charm on my windowsill, shining brilliantly.

It is difficult to remember, after admiring these treasures, that I live in a small American suburb. But ever since I can remember, I have always possessed a deep love for histories and cultures that are different from my own. My mother made it her goal to read to me at least five different renditions of Cinderella, including ones set in Africa and Asia. Under her guidance, I became distinctly aware that the world encompassed more than the small apartment where I resided; my eagerness to explore that world's diversity bled into everyday life. I traded humdrum American cuisine for samosas, sushi, and plantains; cultural festivals in nearby towns and on the National Mall became my stomping grounds; local museums became my little Shangri-las. Books such as Memoirs...

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