Who Am I? | Georgia Institute of Technology Undergraduate Application Essay

All my life, I’ve considered myself an American. Born to a Jewish-American father and a Japanese mother, I’ve been surrounded by two cultures in drastically unequal proportions. I never understood what it really meant to have more than one identity or to be patriotic to a single country.

Though I insisted on being strictly “American,” all of the hot dogs and apple pies in the world couldn’t change my features into those of the typical American. I always looked different, but I tried to mask my singularity with a false enthusiasm for American values. I used makeup to make my eyes look rounder and refused to speak Japanese to my mother in public. In elementary school, I was tormented with the desire to assimilate. That is, I was tormented until I visited Japan for the first time.

I traveled to Japan during the summer before 11th grade; before the plane landed, I felt an inexplicable, intrinsic pull to my mother’s homeland. I felt a deep yearning to see the country I had seen on TV — the modernized, futuristic cities juxtaposed with the ancient shrines and architecture. Finally, I was in a place where I would be just another Asian, another dark, short head bobbing among the throngs of natives.

However,…

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