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I work very hard on each statement that I produce because  I trust you as well to recommend me to your friends and colleagues if you are very pleased with your statement. 

LLM, Master of Laws, Taxation, Taiwan

January 3, 2013

In Mandarin speaking regions, a “young overseas student” is an expression referring to young students (often between the ages of twelve to eighteen) who are sent overseas to obtain foreign education. North America is the most popular destination because of the prestige of its academic institutions and cultural diversity. A massive amount of young overseas students enter the US, and the “common wisdom” often dictates that these students will eventually step into some of the most prestigious universities in the world and become successful beyond their (and their parents’) expectations in life. For my own parents, this, too, was their “American dream” for me.

The common wisdom may be true for the majority, but my experience was entirely different. Spending my high school years in a neighborhood where Asians and Latinos made up nearly seventy percent of the city’s population found many of us waking up from the American dream to the cold face of reality.  People of different races often ganged up on each other rather than celebrating the diversity around them with some of my closest friends ending up shot, arrested, or deported back to Taiwan; most never progressed past high school. All of us were miles away from our parents and their hopes of us living the “American dream”.

My hard work in community college paid off, though and I was lucky enough to gain entry into a national university. A few years later, I decided to pursue a career in Law. In my personal statement, I stated that I want a legal career because I believe in justice and I think my unique experience as a Taiwanese immigrant may help bridge the diversity gap in our legal system, but this is not entirely true. I have a sense of justice, but not strong enough that I have to be a lawyer to fulfill it. My experiences may be less common than the majority of whites, but it represents the typical image of hundreds of thousands of overseas students who struggled in communities representing multiple cultures. What I did not talk about was that I decided to pursue a legal career simply to dispel my family’s disappointment in me.

Life, however, takes many unexpected turns. Law school is very challenging, but has been the most satisfying experience of my life. It offered me the first real opportunity to think outside the box, and in fact, to think analytically, philosophically, and logically, concepts entirely new to me. Then I found an unlikely attraction to Tax Law. Not only did I realize I have an aptitude for working with numbers, more so than I previously believed of myself, but also I learned that Tax Law and taxation goes well beyond mindless number games.

Spending time reassessing where I had come from, my life experiences to date, I developed a basic philosophy, that there is a reason behind every decision we ever make in life.  More importantly, this is not the time to decide what I want to do, but discover what I truly love doing.  For the first time in my life, I was no longer living someone else’s American dream, but my own life, my own ambitions and determining where I would contribute to society.

Actively seeking out and procuring a tax-related job, I spent last summer interning for the tax department of a Taiwanese firm, utilizing my unique heritage as well as my budding tax law skills.  The more I expose myself to learning tax law and its application, the more I enjoy it. Having rediscovered my strength and confidence, I believe I can positively contribute my experiences in the classroom environment.  By filling in the gaps in my education with practical experiences, I will more easily accomplish my goals in the future.  This in turn will bring me greater personal and professional satisfaction in the only field that has brought me the greatest sense of accomplishment.

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