I have something in common with both our current president and a previous commander in chief. I was born in Hawaii and I was raised in Arkansas. Hawaii is somewhat of a melting pot, therefore exposing me to many cultures at an early age. This exposure stimulated my spirit of adventure as well as my interest and motivation to travel.
For the past year and a half, I have been living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This has given me the opportunity to live on my own and immerse myself in a completely different culture. I’m employed to teach English as a second language for a language institute. My clients are typically multi-national corporations whose employees need to learn English, the international language of business. I thoroughly enjoy helping these employees. My work in Argentina daily draws on my self-starting abilities and organizational skills. I also must demonstrate my ability of being sensitive to the local culture. For example, before and after each class I know I must kiss my students on the cheek. Working as an independent contractor has also been a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate my organizational and planning skills such as scheduling clients, completing pay sheets, and developing lesson plans, which will help me to be a successful businessman.
Living and working in a foreign country is often difficult, but I undertook this challenge for a variety of reasons. My goal in moving to Buenos Aires was to expand my understanding of Latin American culture and become fluent in Spanish. The Spanish language has been a passion of mine since I began studying it in the eighth grade. In high school, I had a summer landscaping job where I was the only English-speaking employee besides my supervisor. Because I was familiar with Spanish, part of my job was to communicate work orders to the Hispanic crew. Because of my translations, there were fewer misunderstandings and there was an increase in efficiency. More importantly, I was able to learn about the Hispanic culture from these men, further fueling my desire to strengthen my command of their language. This also led me to pursue Spanish and International Marketing during my summer abroad in Barcelona, Spain. However, during study abroad, students are in a somewhat controlled environment with other Americans and many staff to assist them along the way. Therefore, I saw Argentina as a test to get out of my comfort zone and to be completely on my own, which has sharpened my mind and given me much more confidence in handling new situations that were once foreign to me.
I am now fluent in all forms of Spanish. The language has also allowed me to completely assimilate into the culture of Buenos Aires. I constantly interact with people who solely speak Spanish, ranging from my Spanish professors to all four of the landlords I have had in Buenos Aires. The language also helps me to understand the world from a different perspective. Before going to Buenos Aires, I assumed that most people in Argentina did not like Americans. I assumed this because in Spain, most people would scoff when I told them I was from America. Furthermore, many Americans are told that the world hates America because the world thinks it tries too hard to police everyone else. However, after countless conversations with locals in Buenos Aires, I have found that many of them are actually very impressed with our government and wish their own could act more like ours. While travel and language acquisition are not the only methods to further one’s understanding of other societies and cultures, they do counter preconceived notions we inadvertently grow up with. By 2050, the number of Hispanics in the U.S is projected to grow exponentially to over 100 million people, which will be approximately one quarter of the total U.S. population. That's more than triple the 2000 figure in a 50-year span. Based on facts analogous to this one, a command of Spanish is almost a necessity to be successful in the 21st century.
Another key event that has shaped my life was my father’s death from prostate cancer during my senior year of high school. I believe it was during his seven-year battle with this illness that I became more mature and developed an increased understanding of perseverance and determination. He spent his final few months in the local Hospice Center. These were very hard times for me. This forced me to look more seriously at my life. I was determined to make my father proud, but more importantly; I was determined to be successful and dedicated to my school, my studies and my future. I was able to successfully deal with his loss, and at the same time, balance a tough class-load of AP courses, sports, Boys State, and volunteer activities at Easter Seals. Through the whole ordeal, I overcame adversity and did not let this situation halt my personal growth.
The XXXXXXXX Law School appeals to me for many reasons. First, the campus is ideally located in XXXXX, near many of the states’ top law firms. Second, I have a strong interest in the “XXXXXXXX Study Abroad Program.” I feel that my background in Latin America provides me a strong core of knowledge in this area and that the program will broaden my knowledge of international law. Third, XXXXXXX offers cutting-edge technological resources for both research and presentation. Finally, I will be in familiar territory and near my family. All of my mother’s side of our family is from XXXXXX and I have visited the area many times. Combined with my Spanish skills, I would welcome the opportunity to obtain a legal education at XXXXXXX and perhaps to work in immigration law afterwards.
When I commit to furthering my education, whether in a language or a new course of study, I see it through to the end. I plan to use my language skills in a career in international law. I am motivated to learn more about the dynamic processes of international law. Although my travel and immersion experiences have already broadened my scope, I know that what I have seen and done represents only a tiny portion of what our world has to offer. I am enthusiastic to participate in more of it