Poorly Done "International Experience" Sample Essay

I was at the doorway of a 747 being ushered in by a stewardess to my seat. The chatting of people, seat belts clicking, and the overhead baggage made me dizzy, "NO" I was in shock. I sank into my seat and visions of the recent family decisions overtook me. I could not believe or understand the major decision was to relocate to India due to my Dad's job.

Of course, there were grandma, uncles, aunts, and cousins, and there was that time when I visited with my family. My mind was puzzled and thoughts of leaving my suburban home, friends, and school soon welled my eyes and all I could do was cry silently.

The flight was uneventful and after what seemed to be an eternity my mom, brother, and I were comfortably settled in grandma's home soon to be followed by my Dad. Although it was a sad time for me I saw and felt happiness all around me. My relatives were so enthused and began scheduling visits with realtors, and schools. There were days of shopping on the crowded streets with cars, bicycles, scooters, lorries, and bull-a-carts all striving for space to move in different directions. Amidst all this it dawned on me that I must make the best of the situation. I followed suit on a weekly occasion battled my frustrations with heated discussions with my mom. There were daily telephone calls—my dad keeping us abreast of all the happenings especially the sale of our house.

The rattling sound of the fan, the music of the mosquitoes, and the occasional thunderstorms made the best grounds for all the beautiful memories that vividly haunted me each night. My mom's soothing tone that related experiences and possibilities of a move taught me to be patient and deal with the situation. Her voice stays clear in my mind and my heart, "it would teach me to appreciate all of life, its culture, make me a mature person, and that I will never regret the move and its experience."

Pacing a muddy dirt road, with rain and a cold wind was all worth it when I saw Dad pushing his cart and waving toward me. The smile on his face made me promise, "I would do anything for my Dad" as he would never do anything to jeopardize my life. So our home was sold and our belongings in a storage. Finally, we were a united family though 10,000 miles from what I knew was home and we made Grandma's home our temporary home.

Soon telephone calls began between India, New York, and London. Oh Yes! Dad heard that the job in India was stricken due to company issues and instead he must go to London. My eyes began to twinkle, yes; London would be easier to live than India. My feelings were short lived and my heart was heavy, there was sudden sadness among members of the family especially grandma, and Mom. Once again Mom put up a brave front and said, "we shall go anywhere, it will be a new experience for us." There was hugging, crying, paying salutations to all the elders, and familiar sounds of clicking seat belts and the sight of puffy white clouds.

The gray skies, cool breeze and orderly traffic assured me that I could handle this life. Hearing the British accent made me tingle all over, similarities and differences were running amuck with questions popping up especially of school.

A pair of neatly pressed gray slacks, a striped burgundy shirt: highly polished burgundy colored shoes took me to the American School in the heart of London. I caught sight of the leaf covered basketball court while entering the school. Trophies adorned the lobby both academics and sports thrived hand in hand. The small school seemed to function similar to my old school. I gathered all the information and was ready to take the new plunge.

The cold London air felt good and cleared my head to some degree. Once again, I decided to make the best of it and hit the town. I felt like a tour guide dragging my family to the Buckingham Palace, were I was not able to get a glance of the Queen over reams of heads. A sudden sound of the Marching Band made us turn our attention to their precision and beauty. The soldiers on horses, the deep waters of the Tames River, the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, the Big Ben, Hyde park, and the Shakespearean Theater were remarkable sights and I was a pure tourist and did not think of the bureaucracy that was involved in moving to a foreign country.

Soon paperwork was to be exchanged, passports, visas, and formalities taken care of. In a few weeks, I would begin school in London. It was too good to be true, the final verdict arrived, visas would take three to six months, my Dad's office situation was not suitable and he was told now that the move would be to Chicago or Atlanta.

Huddled on the bed in a London Hotel room, tempers flared, followed by questions, frustrations, and sometimes feelings of adventure and wonderment. "What is going on?" "What should we do?" The next things I know our passports were being stamped with a familiar voice talking about the New York Yankees. My body was limp and refused to be excited or perhaps it was relaxed with the thought of being in New York.

The sweat on my eyebrows, my sticky hands, the humid air, the scorching August temperature felt exuberating and my heart began to thump-YES! I was home. Taxis honked, herds of people went about their business, only standing room in the subways, Ah the New York accent, I took it all in and never wanted to lose it again. I surely identified myself as a true New Yorker. All this quickly ended when we were on our flight to the Windy City and then to Dixie Land.

The clean tree lined streets, the summer air led us to house hunt in the suburbs of Chicago and decide on schools after an abundance of research. Another plane ride and we were in Atlanta and I was now numb from traveling and my mind a blank.

After a short and restless night's sleep I found myself in front of the mirror fixing my scrunched up collar for another school visit. I had ample of school information to spin me around the globe. Somehow, all this came to a pleasant halt, at my Dad's friend's home. The smiles, the welcomes, the sounds of laughter, willingness to put us up, the simple humbleness and respect was our decision-makers. The Big jigsaw Puzzle of our lives was completed. We would make our new home in Dixie Land. Dad had a smooth transfer and continued with his job with the same standings as in New York. I would be a junior at Pope High School in Marietta, GA.

The foyer was bright, the sun made the crystal on the chandelier reflect on the walls. The sight of the blue sky with the sight of occasional birds flying; the crispness of an almost new house became our new HOME. We began our new lives and it continues without and inkling of any regret.


Though this essay stands out for its unusual subject matter, for the ample strength and adaptability of the student's family, and for its happy ending, it is so long and full of unimportant details that the reader's attention wavers. The applicant does a good job of using precise details, but he also resorts to trite language ("'it would teach me to appreciate all of life, its culture, make me a mature person, and that I will never regret the move and it's experience.'").

Unfortunately, there are a number of other problems as well. As written, the essay does not give the reader the payoff he expects. The applicant should have discussed how the summer changed him and what he gained from his experiences. There are run-on sentences and grammatical errors, and the piece overall lacks cohesiveness, drama, and suspense.

The reader cannot definitely pinpoint whether the student lived in New York before moving to India—an important detail. A reference to the place the writer left behind before beginning his journey would have helped.

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