Khi cháu nhận ra bản thân muốn đi du học Mỹ vì muốn vào 1 trường liberal arts thì hầu hết các trường ở Mỹ đều deadline, nên cháu dự định nộp 2 trường ở châu Á là ICU (Nhật) và UIC (Seoul). Cháu đã gửi hồ sơ đi ICU rồi, nhưng tình cờ biết được trang web này mới chỉ ngày hôm nay thôi nên cháu thực sự muốn chú giúp đỡ sửa bài essay cho cháu để xin học bổng của trường Underwood International College với bài luận tốt nhất có thể. Cháu cảm ơn rất nhiều ạ.

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


Before my eyes lay dishes full of colour and diversity. Roast honeyed chicken with an appealing golden colour, grilled beef rolled in betel leaves and a plate of fried violet eggplants all contributed to a typical traditional Vietnamese cuisine, emitting an appetizing, irresistible aroma which had drawn me away from my homework and into the warmly-lit kitchen, where I found my parents sitting patiently, waiting for me. It was dinnertime.

“How was school?”, Dad asked as I nibbled the chicken leg, savouring the sweetness of honey.

“Oh, everyone’s been talking about colleges and majors these days”, I said between bites, “Most of us don’t know what to choose, and recent changes in the National Exam aren’t helpful at all”.

In my family, light-hearted answers like “Fine”, “Not much” or one-sentence answers are unacceptable. It is an unspoken rule to reply with at least two informative sentences. As this habit has long been deeply rooted in me, I never find it difficult to resolve people’s inquiries with detailed responses.

Family dinners are indispensable to my life. They are not merely delicious meals or opportunities to reconnect with family members but also seminars, with everyone gathering around the small dining table, taking turns to recount latest events, asking questions, offering explanations and listening to each other.

Every topic is brought up during table conversations, ranging from mundane stories like the time Grandparents met in a street market during the Vietnam War, Mom’s toilsome upbringing in an eleven-children family, Dad’s gruelling childhood: waking up at 3a.m to work in the fields, chopping wood and selling chicken eggs to pay for college, how Dad and Mom were never allowed to hold hands before marriage because of an old-fashioned custom, to noteworthy issues such as Vietnam’s recent educational reform, the terrorist attack in Paris and the current US presidential election.

After each story, a new lesson is born. Sometimes, it is simply a potent reminder for me to study hard. Other times, it is a valuable life lesson that cannot be obtained anywhere else but family dinners, through which I have matured. For example, from Grandparents’ romance, I learnt that love could blossom even when it seemed impossible - in the difficult times of war. From my parents’ childhood, I learnt about overcoming hardships with hard work, patience and determination. From discussing political events, I caught a glimpse of a different, much more complicated global realities viewed through my parents’ eyes. But above all, I learnt to treasure the value of family dinners, cherishing every precious moment and never taking anything for granted.

My family folklores are wonderful, having a rich, vibrant life of their own. However, I realize that they revolve mostly around my hometown, Quy Nhon. What would it feel like to extend these stories’ boundaries further into the world? How would it feel, seeing reality from perspectives other than my parents’? These questions stuck in my mind for a long time until I finally found the answer lying in my need to study abroad.

The dinner-time conversations have shown me that if I want to reach my full potential, I must leave my parents’ protective wings and step out to embrace larger challenges. With the knowledge and experience gained as I study abroad, I will bridge the gaps between my family and the world. Then some day, while watching my future children chewing honeyed chicken, I will tell them about those same family tales that have defined the person I am today, having grown up absorbing and promoting that essence at family dinners.