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Language and the Law: College Admission Essay Sample

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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 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 middle school, an endeavor that I relished because it took me closer to my Cuban heritage. In high school I added French, as purely an intellectual challenge. During my collegiate career, I was determined to master Mandarin Chinese. My interest in Chinese led me to study in Beijing at Tsinghua University. I have fond memories of riding my bike around Wudaokou and conversing with the local students. After my study abroad experience, I elected to take on the major of Asian Language and Civilization in addition to Political Science. As I delved further into the Chinese language, I gravitated toward courses that draw together language and law, such as immigration, labor rights, and racial justice. Legal work demands analytical and communicative proficiency, and my academic background provides a strong foundation for the development of these skills.

Learning a language and learning the law have similarities. When studying a language, one must be cognizant of its subtleties. The mispronunciation of just one syllable can completely change the meaning and effect of one’s words. In law, too, subtle differences can influence a legal outcome. For instance, in theory a hate crime and a crime of passion are strikingly different acts. However, in reality sometimes the lines can be blurred, and lawyers must be acquainted with the distinctions to serve their clients while maintaining the integrity of the justice system. Language and law also both reveal history. The story of my father’s legal immigration to the United States is a point of pride within my family: he escaped Castro’s oppressive Cuban regime in 1967 and was granted permission to enter the US in 1968. As an immigrant he endured financial difficulty, painful separation from family, and the struggle to assimilate into a new culture; however, he ultimately achieved his dream of becoming a cardiologist. My father has instilled in me a high-level of sensitivity and respect for immigrants, as well as people of all cultures. With an understanding of the history of a people, one can sympathize with them and aid them in their struggle.

My ultimate goal is to aid immigrants in their access to justice through legal service. Being versed in the law, posing insightful questions, and utilizing the legal system for a greater good are skills I hope to acquire. The amalgamation of my language and academic background provides unique insight into immigration and international law. I hope to one day use the law to provide assistance to immigrants, refugees, and indigent people who are themselves experiencing chi ku.

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Language and the Law: College Admission Essay Sample. (2018, May 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from
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