Language and the Law | Northwestern University Law School Law-school Application Essay

Striking parallels between language and law exist: Both require analysis, precise diction, and the suspension of one’s own worldview to comprehend a different perspective. Chi ku (吃苦) is an idiom, directly translated as “eating bitterness,” commonly invoked in Mandarin Chinese to describe experiencing hardship. Expressions like this one epitomize the reason I have become enamored with the Chinese language. Despite the difficult pictographs and, in my opinion, the even more complex tonal system, the Chinese language is alluringly straightforward and simple. Chi translates to “eat” and ku is “bitterness.” The expression alludes to the Chinese ideology that one must endure periods of hardship to achieve happiness and success.

Mandarin has been the most challenging language I have pursued. I love expressing myself in an entirely different culture and consequently understanding a new viewpoint. The correlation between language and law has prompted my passion for the study of legal issues, particularly in the realms of immigration and international law. I believe that the ability to express oneself in another language prompts opening oneself to new modes of analysis and understanding.

My language journey commenced with Spanish in…

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