Caylin Gans’s Essay

was born on the beautiful island of Hawaii, home to people from all over Polynesia, Asia, Japan, South America, Mexico, and the continental United States. More often then not a person from Hawaii identifies with over five different ethnicities. Within my school community of Kealakehe High School, I am immersed in a diversity of race, culture, and language.

School is a fusion of citizens and immigrants commingling. As I walk onto the campus I feel an intense surge of culture and diversity. The sounds of different languages rush to my ears in an unintelligible, but beautiful melody. There is the normal chatter that fills a room as anxious students socialize before class. A brother and sister argue in Micronesian, two boys debate in Spanish, a group of friends discuss the day’s events in Tagalog, while a classmate greets me in English.

Many people consider language a barrier, but I have learned that communication goes way beyond spoken words. The brother and sister’s sharp tone of voice, the two boys’ serious and absorbed facial expressions, the smiles and laughter of the group of friends all allow me to distinguish hints to what they are actually saying. This demonstrates that language need not be considered an obstacle. It is merely an opportunity for exposure to new and exciting cultures, a chance to learn something, to obtain compassion and understanding for those that are different from you.

Diversity is also present among my educators. I have a biology teacher from the Philippines, a Spanish teacher from Romania, a geometry teacher from Spain, and a cinematography teacher from Canada. My sociology teacher was born and raised in Hawaii and sometimes speaks in the local dialect called pidgin.

This varied community I grew up in has given me a deep interest in modern as well as ancient culture, enticing me to study archeology and anthropology. It has given me an awareness of the world and has developed my passion for traveling, influencing me to pursue study abroad. Living in Hawaii has given me admiration for those who are fluent in more than one language, motivating me to continue to learn Spanish. This isolated chain of islands is merely a microcosm of a much larger world and I am anxious to experience opportunities for diversity and learning in college. By attending university in California I will be provided with a grander environment to pursue my studies and supplied with the skills necessary to succeed. I plan to take full advantage of this and become a contributing member of my community and the world.