"Mandarin, Sweet as Juice," was such an inspiration for me. The author, Saraswati, viewed learning a different language as something beneficial and not just something pointless where someone would typically ask, "Why am I doing this anyway?"
The author struggled at first, not even knowing how to pronounce her newly assigned Chinese name, but after knowing it would be helpful in her day-to-day life to learn such a widespread language, she took time and effort to learn Mandarin. Like how, after 10 years of playing piano, "allowed me to perform for others," and how her years of painting and creative writing led her to get published on Teen Ink and become"editor-in-chief of my school's literary magazine."
In the end, she mastered the language and recalled that her summer "tasted like the Chinese food that, for the first time, I did not order in English." Seeing the author make such a big leap inspired me to do the same. Despite the fact the pronunciation of the Chinese language are difficult and completely different from the European language, which she is comfortable with, she persevered anyway.
The way the author described her struggles, comparing them to dishes being served, also gave the article a unique flavor. All those years of creative writing really did pay off. Bravo!