"In our house, there is beauty in the way we speak to each other ... language is not broken but rather, bursting with emotion. It is a little messy. But this is where we have made our home."
Those were words from 17-year-old Cassandra Hsiao, whose moving college essay caught the attention of multiple US universities and the world.
The Malaysian-born teenager, who now lives in California, had written about her humbling experiences learning English while growing up in an immigrant household.
She has received offer letters from all eight Ivy League colleges, including Harvard, Princeton and Yale. She hasn't made her decision yet but said that she would be visiting colleges in the coming weeks.
"Identity and the desire to belong are two of the most relatable struggles that people face. I wanted to share a slice of our home life, my relationship with my mother and both of our stories," she told BBC News.
Born to a Taiwanese father and a Malaysian mother, Cassandra grew up in the southern state of Johor. The family moved to the United States when she was five.
"I miss Malaysia and think about my home country quite often. Growing up, I loved flying kites, going to markets and setting off firecrackers. I spent my childhood babbling in a mixture of Chinese, Malay and English," she recalled fondly.
But tackling the language barrier in a foreign country proved difficult. In her essay, Cassandra recounted a "humiliating" experience which happened to her mother in school. She was criticised and laughed at by her peers after the teacher criticised an English paper she wrote.
A kind classmate came to her defence. "She took her under her wing and patiently mended my mother's strands of language. She stood up for the weak and used her words to fight back," Ms Hsiao wrote.
But the challenges did not end there. "My mother asked me to teach her proper English so old white ladies at Target wouldn't laugh at her pronunciation. It has not been easy."
"I believe this essay really embodies values I hold close to my heart: standing up for those without a voice, even when you think you haven't quite found your own yet," said Cassandra.