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    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6

    Personal essay - please rate it


    I wrote an essay to apply for a university. There was just written "Personal essay". So I decided to write about my vacation in the USA.

    Could you please give it a rate...thanks a lot.
    The Best Vacation I Ever Had

    In our family we have the tradition to go on one vacation every year. We have been to many places in Europe, saw the Sahara and flew to the beginnings of Asia. There was only one country we always heard about but did not know how to imagine it. We heard that everything is rather big, much bigger than in Europe. We heard of a beautiful nature and enormous distances. The more people told us about this country, the harder it got to imagine how it could look like. As you can expect I am talking about the USA. Normally we travel in summer, but this time we decided to go in winter. It was summer 2007 when we booked the three week vacation in Florida.

    After ages of waiting, my little brother even counted nights he has to sleep until our trip will start, we finally packed all our suitcases and drove to the airport. Everybody was so excited. The fact that we traveled together with the family of my uncle did not really reduced the nervousness. We expected a very long and boring flight. Yes, it was really long, but not as boring as we thought. On the airport in Atlanta we had to go our separate way and so left my uncle’s family.

    As you probably know, in Austria we are allowed to drink alcoholic drinks when we are at least 16 years old. So my dad and I thought it should not be a problem to drink a beer together in a bar. That was the first thing I learned in Florida. There is no chance to get a beer in the USA if you are not 21. We were surprised how strict the Americans are in this case, but of course accepted it.

    The next day we woke up in a hotel in the center of Atlanta at 4 a.m. All of us had a jet lag. We took a taxi to get to the place were we should get a rented motor home. After the first crossroads I was shocked. The driver just crossed a red traffic light and turned right. He told us that this is allowed in the USA. I never heard of that, but after thinking about this rule I have to say that it really makes sense.

    Kennedy Space Center was the first destination where we drove to. To our bad luck we missed a space shuttle start just for hours. After two days my mother wanted to drive to the Florida Keys. I could not believe my eyes when we were driving over the bridges from one island to the other. Over us a blue sky, under us light blue water. It was absolutely beautiful, I did not expect that there are places like this.

    After a wonderful Christmas on one of these islands we moved on to the Everglades. A wonderful nature received us. All these beautiful flowers, the fascinating birds and of course the alligators. We stayed at a camping side which was built around a lake. In the morning everyone of us took a chair and sat to the riverside. To our luck all four alligators which live in this lake came to us and made a half circle in the water. We were surprised about that, until the security guard told us that alligators like dogs and little children, like my brother.

    After an interesting New Year's Eve in Fort Myers we had to move on to Tampa, our last stop. There we went to the roller coaster park “Busch Gardens”. I drove my first looping there, a quite odd felling.
    After three wonderful weeks we flew home. When I think back at this time I come to following conclusions. We, Europeans, have a quite bad prejudice of Americans. For instance many people here think that Americans are conceited. But we found out that this is absolutely false. Quite the contrary, all American people I met were absolutely friendly and nice people. Even one family invited us to come to their farm the next summer. I really have to confess that Americans are much more friendly than Europeans are. Another prejudice is that many people think there are just fat people in the USA. Yes, of course, there are fat people in the USA, but I did not recognized a difference between Florida and Austria. In the USA there is a sport college system, we in Austria do not have such a system. There are no university leagues or something like that.

    From time to time I have to say that I started loving the USA and for me it is a dream to stay there for some years. Probably not for ever, I do like Austria too, but it would be the perfect variety in my life.

    Again thanks a lot.

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6

    Re: Personal essay - please rate it


    thank you very much for your correction. I see, I made many many mistakes. Especially useful are your comments in {} (how do you spell them?).

    Thanks again.

    "Actually, there are many chances to drink a beer when one is under 21 - in your home, on certain military bases, etc."

    On military bases? Why that? I'm really confused...does it mean that you are just allowed to drink within these certain military bases? It just doesn't make sense to me...

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6

    Re: Personal essay - please rate it

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    Considering that English is not your first language, you write quite well. As you advance your knowledge, your writing will improve. You might want to read, "The Old Man and the Sea" by the American writer, Ernest Hemingway to get a sense of how he wrote in shorter sentences.

    I call {} brackets but I'm sure that there is a better term for them.

    There is a Marine Corps directive stating that Marine Corps commanders can allow parties on a base where 18 year old Marines can drink, during infrequent special occasions, such as a unit's return from combat deployment, or during the Marine Corps' Birthday Ball.

    This rule seems to apply only to members of the Marine Corps but, I would assume that the actual practice is that guests under 21 could also drink during these times. In addition, the Department of Defense has a directive stating that the legal drinking age can be lowered when the base is located in two states or is located within 50 miles of a foreign country and such foreign country has a lower drinking age. This rule seems to change from time-to-time.

    The Old Man and the Sea...I already heard of that book. I think I will buy and read it...
    Is it common to write in short sentences in English? In German we sometimes have quite long sentences.

    If these {} and these () are brackets. How do you can differ between them?

    "{This creates a problem. How does nature receive a person? Are you trying to say that the wonders of nature were all around you?}"

    Well we have an expression in German where you can say...a thing receives or welcomes (in meanings of receive) you. Like a person could do. It is quite a positive expression.

    I was not sure if I could use this the expression in English in such a way. I see it is not possible

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6

    Re: Personal essay - please rate it

    Thank you for all the stuff you taught me.

    At present I am absolutely illuminated

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