The Cheerful Mongrel That I Am

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Thanks to the hundreds of different stories my relatives have told me, I have heard every side of the Yugoslav war and the fall of communism. Every side. On top of having a sense of these different perspectives, I have learned many interesting customs along the way: when to kiss someone twice, thrice and even four times on the cheek, when to talk to women and when not to because of their different religious beliefs, what words are unacceptable in each country and dozens of other fascinating customs.

A New Yorker by birth and a Kosovar by name, I grew up in Romania, where I was exposed to poverty, racism towards gypsies and a very different culture than that in the U.S. I know a lot about European history, not only from books, movies or history class, but also from my parents and grandparents in Romania and the former Yugoslavia. Since I spend most of my vacations travelling, I have been to Europe dozens of times and am familiar with the geography and culture of many European countries.

I have been lucky enough to not only visit, but also be a part of, several very different cultures thanks to my family. In a nutshell, after having had three stepparents, I have developed a special bond with the Romanian, Kosovar, Austrian,...

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