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To term it a blessing would understate my first semester experience. Working with a group of brilliant professors and highly motivated colleagues has provided me a unique and enriching experience. Additionally, it has helped me clarify and define my vision for the future. As an international studies major, though, I have learned that I need a program which provides a wider and broader vision than is offered at my current institution. Instead of a program limited to geographic regions, I need to enter a program that incorporates issues, ideas and information with a full global perspective. With this wider view, I can set a course toward the completion of my career goals and obtain the flexibility necessary for thematic subfields like international politics and the interface of global economies.
If you’re traveling through Brownsville, Texas and flipped through the radio, you are more than likely to come across several stations fluidly mixing two languages and speaking in what we call “Tex-Mex,” a mongrel language somewhere south of the border from the so-called “Spanglish.” Setting the stage for my passion of international studies, my average-size border town merges both Mexican and American culture, yet at times neither is recognizable. Adding further to this intricate global conglomeration is the mixture of half-Mexican and half-Arab culture. As a Catholic born in Mexico, my mother stands in direct contrast to my Syrian-born father, a devout Muslim. Being exposed to a wide variety of perspectives and cultures was a way of life growing up in Brownsville. As a young girl television was confusing as the families portrayed bore little resemblance to the world I grew up in; what exactly was an American?
My way of life consisted of moving back and forth over the border on a regular basis in order to visit my mother’s family. This provided me with a unique perspective and spurred a curiosity to explore the intricate relationship between Mexico and the U.S. Questions began to develop in my mind, I began to ponder things such as why a wall was being erected along the border. What was it for, were they just trying to keep out animals? After crossing the border for years, my father was suddenly held for questioning after telling a border patrol agent that he was born in Syria. Learning about my father’s Muslim culture led to a fascination of the forces and ideals that fueled tensions between U.S and the Middle East.
Recent events such as the Syrian uprising and the Mexican drug war continue to fill me with questions and concern. Focusing my recent semester on the Syrian crises, tears would fill my eyes as I learned of their brutal struggle for freedom. In addition, the violence in Mexico has had a profound effect on several of my family members. Exposed to these complex cultures, I have a deep passion to understand how countries communicate, negotiate, and compromise in order to survive and thrive in this troubling global landscape – not just the countries personally close to me, but the countries that comprise the wider global community, all of which have their own interests, agendas and means of securing those interests. I am certain that transferring to a more comprehensive international relations program will help me understand and contribute to the global community more fully.
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