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People’s cultures are like fingerprints–no two are ever the same. Although I was born in the United States, I can truly say that I have grown up with two different cultures. My family originates from Egypt, and I am the first generation to be born here. Although this used to be something that I was ashamed of, in high school I finally began to embrace my Egyptian and Coptic Orthodox background. To begin with, I am a fluent speaker of the Arabic language. I grew up learning Arabic first, and English was left to be taught at school. Arabic speakers make up about .25% of the United States population and even fewer are Coptic Orthodox Christian, a religion that traces back to the year 42 AD. Coptic Orthodox Christians make up less than 1% of the United States’ populous and about 10% of Egypt’s.
Being a minority in this country has exposed me to many experiences that others have missed out on. First off, I play an active role in my church, St. Mina’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Holmdel, New Jersey. The majority of my life has been cemented there and I am a committed parishioner, attending liturgy every Sunday. I have also fostered a passion for alhan, commonly known as the Coptic hymns, and this has motivated me to learn the ancient Coptic language. I have also traveled to Egypt on four separate occasions to visit family and many of the tourist areas such as the pyramids, Giza, and Sharm El Sheikh. Aside from my cultural experiences I have much more to offer to Rutgers.
High school was a time for me to break out of my shell, develop self-confidence, and get more involved in my community. I became heavily involved in 4H, HOSA, World Language Club, Prom Committee, Model UN, and ACS. I also served on my local First Aid Squad and took part in St.Mina’s Youth Organization. I learned how to take on leadership positions as Vice President of 4H and World Language Club, and Secretary of HOSA. I made a difference in someone’s life through St. Mina’s Tutoring Service; I helped my student earn his first A in math, and instilled self-confidence in him. He also opened up to me about bullying that was occurring to him, and I helped him to inform the right adults about the problem, effectively ending it.
Albert Einstein once said, “All true learning is experience, everything else is just information.” Through my own life, I have come to wholly agree with this sentiment. The experiences that I have undergone in my life have truly shaped me as a unique individual and they have instilled in me many life skills. I believe Rutgers University will be able to offer me much more than just a high quality of education; it will also allow me to continue developing life skills. With its diverse community of cultures, experiences, and people, Rutgers will expose me to a world I’m well accustomed with, but on a much more expansive scale. My future has not been completely planned out, and it will continue to be a puzzle in progress, but Rutgers is definitely one of the pieces I would love to include in it.
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