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ESL Write Away’s First-Ever Essay Contest Winners!

Thank you to all who entered our First-Ever Essay Contest. We invite you to read some of our featured winners, who have consented to share their writing with you! All candidates were asked to write an original essay  in English that described their hometown or home country–what is unique, what they love and what they would like to change.

First Prize Winner: Bianca Pope, Romania, Age 16

Bianca studies English because over the centuries it has become a global language that is commonly used among foreign language speakers to communicate with each other and it immediately opens up opportunities regardless of your ethnicity, color, or background. And also because she likes it.

Situated in the territory of Eastern Europe and with a past of over 1500 years, Romania is an interesting, beautiful and underrated country. Over the years, a lot of controversies have been surrounding this country, constantly shaping its image.

In the first place, Romania can be easily considered a piece of art. The country gathers all the possible landforms, the lines contouring the form of a fish. The l Black Sea caresses the foreshores of Constanta, an ancient maritime city that now galvanizes thousands of tourists, especially young adults, in visiting it during summertime. The Romanian mountains and cliffs are an important part of our national history. They served as a den where ancient kings used to hide their armies, gold treasures or families during war time. Their geographical position has always been considered an advantage, the rulers using them as a trap where enemies were lured. The highest pick is called “Moldovanul” and it has 2.544 meters above sea level. Well, if I were the king I would totally consider myself above the rest. Talking about kings and rocks, in Romania the head of Decebal, the last Dacian chief, had been sculptured on the rocky bank of Danube and it is a relief of 55 meters high. Impressive, right?

Equally important, the lowlands have been providing us cereals, fruits and vegetables for centuries. It is known the Romanian ground is extremely fertile and favored the expansion of the early population in these areas. Before the urbanization, people used to produce their own food by plowing the land and raising domestic animals.

Time passing, the villages transformed into towns that started developing more and more. And to be honest, they are still improving. The most popular one is Bucharest, which happens to be also the capital of Romania. Bucharest is famous for its success in mixing tradition with modern life even though the architectural influence of the communism can still be felt. Tourists choose the “Little Paris”, as it was named, for historical and cultural tours. Coupled with that, Sibiu and Brasov are also well known for their small town elegance and, of course, music festivals.
Last but not least, Sighisoara is the hometown of Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impailor. A Transylvanian ruler known for its cruel and strict reign and for the fact that he used to impail thieves and generally corrupted men. Sounds like you heard parts of this story before. What if I told you that he is usually recognized as Dracula? Owing to the flocks of tourists coming every year to visit Sighisoara, the locals started organizing medieval competitions and tours throughout the stately stone castles.

Legends. Traditions. This is what I particularly find unique about my country. We never forgot our traditions and our bundle with the past. Even if we have always been pressured to become a “fully modernized” country, that is worth being taken in consideration, we never gave in to them. In the heart of Romania, people are still living those legends, and it’s not a movie, the set is real. The smell of fresh mowed grass is real, the traditional clothes, the tales that are still recited around the fire, these things are real. And there is no wireless connection, no worries about gas prices and no queues for fast food. Those who know about this come to Romania to feel even their own past through us, to see a dead world still living.

At the same time, a lot of things can be improved. From our services, to highways, to the political system and even the bundle we used to have with nature. However, sometimes we drown in the criticism, we fade in front of the “big guys” from U.S. and Europe. But Romanians are skilful, ambitious and prideful people. Hence, the last thing that remains to be done is believe in ourselves and take action, present Romania as it is, as we know it. If we don’t believe in our country, then who will?

Finally, these were just some of the most salient facts, there is much more to say about my country. Given this points, it’s clearly Romania stands out with its cheery and adventurous people and unique gifts from Mother Nature. I am proud to be Romanian, and that’s not just nationality. It’s the lucky “totem” I keep with me wherever life will take me.

Runner-Up Winner: Deepika Jaiswal, India, Age 17

Deepika studies English because being able to speak English allows you to communicate effectively and this opens up lots of possibilities and opportunities for us and connects every one globally.

There are some parts of the worlds that once visited get into your heart and won’t go and for me it is my home country yes It is my home country but also a great country .A blissful beautiful place. A place that I never wanted to leave. A place where I wanted to visit again and again . I saw a wonderful world where every people of every religion live together and rejoiced with happiness . Yes I am describing my home country INDIA. I love India my motherland. Where the parents cared for their children and the children respected their parents .India is a country where every great religion finds a home .There is much diversity among our people as we speak many languages, worship many gods, have diversity in region, diversity in languages, diversity in food, diversity in clothes, diversity in festival , diversity in states, diversity in everything which uniquely represents country and its people and yet we have the same spirit, the spirit of being Indian running through all parts of our country binding us together. We have great unity in diversity and this is the best thing one country should have and this is a reason why I’m in love with my country. My country that is decorated by many beautiful monuments like The Taj Mahal , Fatehpur Sikri , The Qutb and The Red Fort and many more. And yes we have the heaven KASHMIR that has been described as a paradise on earth. My country has produced warrior like Puru, Ran Pratap and Shivaji and leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel and many more and there are many more fighters who can give their blood to our motherland as a regard. There are many, many more things I could say about my country. I am proud I was born here and shall serve it till the very last breath. JAI HIND!!!

YES I AM IN LOVE WITH MY COUNTRY BUT STILL THERE ARE MANY THINGS WE SHOULD WORK UPON TOGETHER.

I want India to be a more better place, more beautiful country where people live a long healthy and happy life. No one should be poor everyone should have enough to eat nutritious food, and live in a comfortable house. There should be no trace of desire prevalent in the world.there was no grief on the death of any person, Where people don’t fight on petty issues, everyone work hard to earn their living the place that is free of sorrows a corruption free country I wish and we want to transform in to a reality and last I want to conclude by saying that:

LET THE WORLD KNOW WE ARE PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN and for this we Indians have to help each other to make our country a DREAM COUNTRY.

Runner-Up Winner: Sarah Cristel, Romania, Age 15

Sarah studies English because besides her own enjoyment, she studies it because it’s the language of the Internet, movies, music, and books. Also, having made friends in many different countries, she needs it to communicate with them.

The first thing you might want to consider before planning a trip to Romania are vampires. No need to read it twice, I really did say ‘vampires’. Believe me, they’re a nuisance, the real reason behind all this country’s problems. They’re everywhere: you find them in the shower, you find them under your bed, and once, one fell off the ceiling on my desk. We might never accept this, but we got used to it.

At least something good came out of our ‘problem’: innovation. For instance, to combat these creatures, the Peleş Castle was the first completely electrified castle in Europe, Bucharest became the first city in the world illuminated by oil lamps, and Timişoara – the first city in Europe to have street lighting.

Unless you’re one of us, you have no way of knowing that Romanians are in fact the silent warriors protecting Europe from all supernatural forces. This is why we have around 15 subjects at school, out of which at least 3 are languages, to prepare us for any circumstances we might find ourselves into. The people “searching for work places in other countries” are in fact our best agents, sent there by the Romanian Secret Services to do the hardest jobs.

The Government is trying to reintroduce patches of forest in the big cities, such as Bucharest, and new recycling programs have started. High school children have developed their own projects to help restore the natural beauty of this country, and others to support what people their age have to show the world. We are slowly trying to go back to our roots, to the beautiful green earth and Voroneţ blue sky. Not an impossible task, seeing as we’re developing our technology to go along with it. First the fountain pen, now the hover-boards, all Romanian inventions.

We might be a small country, but we know what we want. Many things, unfortunately, still need to be changed: for one, there are people amongst those from outside the big cities living in poverty, and we can’t ignore them. Also, there are a few companies that seem to ignore us, but that might be the vampires’ fault as well.

Although we have our problems, we will always have our superheroes: the elder ladies. The closer to the Roman and Dacian roots a generation is, the fiercer its people are. Our elderly possess the speed of Olympic runners, which can be seen when they take a seat in the bus, otherwise concealing it from potential spies. The ultra-sounds they can emit, sometimes observed over phone conversations are another weapon that has been unfortunately lost over the years. What we still hold on to, and always will, is The Broom. Every senior citizen has one, and few hesitate to use it.

In the rural spaces, people still have farms and adopt the purest way of living, becoming what you could call ‘one with the nature’. It’s an unique method of reconnecting with the old Dacian gods, such as Zamolxes, and Roman ones, like Jupiter. In that way, the famous folkloric stories that we still tell our children before bedtime remain in our hearts, and the belief in magical creatures such as zgripţuroaică, or balaur never weaver.

It is true that we have the best Internet connection speed in Europe, and that our people are some of the best hackers there are(even tho sometimes they are up to no good, you can’t deny their skill), but also we never leave behind our stories, and that, I think, is what matters the most.

It’s the hearts of its people that make a nation last through the eons, and if Romanians keep theirs as they are today, filled with joy and magic and hope, and above all love of life, our culture will survive till the end of Time, may the name change, language evolve, or cities be plagued by wars.

This is what makes my country beautiful. Not the cities, that aren’t that big, not the economy, with its flaws, but the people, with their thirst of knowledge and of affirming themselves, their wish to leave something behind. We might not have all the opportunities citizens of bigger countries have, but stars can only be seen at night, and heroes only come when the world needs them, so from less we can make more, and that is what really counts at the end of the day.

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