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Masters, International Studies Program

December 28, 2012

Before I was fourteen years old, I had moved seven times and across three continents.  I have lived in England, Brazil, Chile, the US, China, and worked in China, Chile, as well as the US.  My travels have taken me to over 25 foreign countries, including most of Central and South America, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Cambodia, to name but a few.  While many speak of the ideals of culturally competent students, I have reached a level few could ever hope to attain, living, working, effectively interacting with people of many lands, and being able to speak four languages – English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin Chinese – proficiently.  As I continue my education in International Studies, my experiences and the places I have been are becoming more clearly organized in my mind.  I can more readily see and process all that I have learned of foreign lands and place them logically in the framework of international affairs.

 For example, my experiences in Brazil, a country I feel is equally as much my home as the US is, proved to me that Brazil is a land of extremes, exemplified by its beauty, bustling economy, geographic size, and cultural/racial diversity.  Unfortunately these extremes entail stark contrasts of wealth, racial tension, and issues of class discrimination.  Rampant wealth due to Brazil’s recent economic growth is overshadowed by stark socio-economic disparities, and a large population living below the poverty line.  The racial “melting pot” prevalent throughout the nation is tainted by racism evident through aesthetic standards and socio-economic status that can be summed up as “White makes right.”  It was here that I was exposed through my family, to a broad spectrum of political views, especially since I lived through the Neo-Liberal market reform policies implemented by President Cardosa and the widespread privatization that Brazil “enjoyed” under his leadership.  Many of my extended family members applauded these changes, while others worried if they would still have a job.

 It was my grandfather and his open-minded nature that have steered me in my life and pursuit of graduate work in International Studies, has set my heart on becoming a diplomat, and possibly running an NGO.  He got me interested in reading international publications like The Economist and Foreign Affairs and exposed me to the more left-wing journals such as “Opinião” and “Veja.”  My grandfather did this with the mind set that one must look beyond sovereignty and insular bias to understand an issue.  I was immersed in the debate and study of globalization and privatization as it swept a number of developing nations, including Brazil.  By the time I was a late-teen, I was adept at debating with my family, on both sides, often dissatisfied with their answers, and forming my own educated conclusions.

 While studying International Relations, I spent a semester in Chile analyzing “The Human Rights Reconciliation Act”, and the impact of Pinochet’s Military Junta on the Chilean economy and political system.  My academic career has taken me to China where I volunteered my time with the non-profit World Teach, filling the role of an English teacher.  Since graduating I have worked solely in the non-profit sector, managing a free character education lacrosse program in eight underserved communities in Boston, as well as working for an after-school program that was started in Boston, Citizen Schools.  I continue to give back to the community I live in, acting as the High School Program Manager for College Forward, a non-profit that helps get socio-economically disadvantaged high-school students get into college.  Coaching and teaching have been a part of my life since leaving high school.

 Through my academic career as well as my volunteer work, you can clearly see my passion and dedication to everything that I undertake.  My background and experiences have given me a thorough understanding and appreciation of cultural differences, instilling in me a devotion to helping others where I can and ideally helping them do for themselves.  I want to serve others on an international scale, an aim that is highly feasible and if the current global political climate is any indicator, the timing for my part in International Relations and Diplomacy could not be better timed. 

 I thank you for your time, consideration and look forward to a personal interview.

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