International Student Essay - go on: rip it apart

<p>Here's my essay: be honest.

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<p>My stomach ties a knot. I feel as if I’m going to be sick on the pristine marble floor in which I can see my pale reflection. ‘Wat doe je --monopoly86--?’ I ask myself, for some reason I always talk to myself in Dutch when I’m nervous. Here I am, just past customs and my parents, alone in terminal two of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport clutching my passport in my left hand and my boarding card in my right. This is it. I’m going to Ghana for three months and there’s no turning back. Five days ago I was on walking across stage collecting my school graduation certificate and now I’m leaving everything I’ve worked for: my friends, my family, my comfort zone; Abandoning my whole life voluntarily to volunteer. The irony of it all. </p>

<p>My stomach ties a knot. I feel as if I’m going to be sick on the not-so pristine marble floor in which I can see my tanned reflection. ‘Waarom ga je weg?’ I ask myself, again realising that I’m talking to myself in Dutch because I’m nervous. Here I am, just past customs and friends, alone in terminal one of Accra International Airport clutching my drum in my left hand and my passport and ticket in my right. I’m going home. I’m leaving everything I worked for: my friends, my job, my second home. As I board the plane memories flood back of the best three months of my life up till now and I wonder how I’ll ever be able to fully explain what Ghana was like. How I’ll ever be able to describe the euphoria of observing someone in the stamps line at the post office chuckling at an article I wrote or finally arriving in Timbuktu after two weeks of hardcore backpacking? The unmistakable smell of sweet street food combined with sour sewers or the feeling when a whole bus (60 people?) broke out into a cheesy pop song just like in the movies? The feeling of sleeping on a soggy mattress in the rainforest or on a sand dune in the Sahara? How do I describe the emotion of being confronted by beggars with thighs thinner than my wrists asking for 5 cents or the guilt felt for being so wealthy by African standards? How do I describe being a minority?</p>

<p>And now I’m back home. Same house, same bed, same friends, same social life – except I’m different. And people know it. Suddenly, dilemmas here (pizza with or without mushrooms?) seem so futile but then I realise that that’s exactly what I wanted all along. I wanted Africa to change the way I think, and that’s exactly what it’s done. I just never thought it would be this drastic. “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” Well said Mandela.</p>

<p>this is kind of a cliche... went to africa and my life was changed
BUT! It's great! I am not sure if I am qualified to say that but there wasn't even a moment I stopped reading or skimmed through parts... But maybe american readers read in a different way. I find the mushroom example really well placed. Finally the essay has not been intentionally dramatized and I like that.
So my $.02: a cliche, albeit a very well written one</p>

<p>bumpity bump</p>

<p>its a really good piece of writing. But...
OK you went to Africa and were changed. HOW EXACTLY? You've mentioned a lot of things, and that makes it too general. Remember that the point is to tell the ad com sth about YOU. I met this and this in Ghana and it changed ME from this to this. </p>

<p>Like the say in the how-to-write-college-essays books, the point is not to describe Ghana, its to describe you to the adcom and what you would bring to their school. I dont know if you get what I mean, but I'm sure that even as you were writing, you found it hard to express all that happened to you in Ghana in one essay. So dont try to compress it all, pick and incident and get specific. If its a matter of word limit, youd be better off cutting down on the airport scenes. They are very well written but as the essay is its like pie with the crust only, no filling.
Hope you find this helpful</p>