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MA International Studies, US Marines

We never forget where we come from, our humble beginnings and the people who light the fire of creativity, spirit and drive in our hearts. Growing up in Alabama, most of the men in my family were incarcerated at differing times. I prided myself in being a loner, yet always looking up with great respect to my parents, never forgetting that it was their sacrifices, and their encouragement that enabled me to become the first person in my family to obtain an undergraduate degree.

My introduction to International Studies began at my mother's knee. I will never forget, she would spin our globe, ask me to point to a country and then tell me everything she could about the country my finger landed on. Later, the game was changed, the tables turned, and it was I telling my mother all about the countries under my extended finger. She gave me the world, showing me the possibilities for my future, beginning my education in understanding all of our wonderful differences, and remarkable similarities.

Joining the Marines was the vehicle by which I envisioned seeing the world, and setting up a college fund. What was to come, though, helped mold the man I am today. From day one, they taught me there was no place for loners in the Marines, instilling in me the spirit de corps. I learned to be committed to the team, to work as a critical participant, knowing my role and keeping a vigilant eye on the common goal. A portion of my dreams came true in my service, the chance to see more of the world I had only ever known; spinning on my mother's outstretched hand.

While I received awards, commendations and accolades for my service, I felt that I was being rewarded for my education and experiences. I learned the significance of Puerto Rico to the US and to the world while stationed in Vieques. In Peru, I was immersed in a completely different culture, getting specialized training alongside Special Forces that dealt with the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) on a daily basis. Later still, I was able to visit the Middle East, training with the Israeli Defense Forces, the largest recipient of US foreign aid in the world. With every step in these amazing places, I grew emotionally and culturally, learning from a dozen worldviews, a hundred perspectives, and heard stories of where people grew up, and what their dreams were. Indeed, it was my time in the Marines that have led me to this moment in time, on the threshold of completing my own lifelong dream of receiving a Master's in International Studies.

XXX University's School of International Studies will allow me to bring my raw passion to focus by refining what I know and have experienced in the area of conflict resolution. I bring with me an academic foundation in Political Science and History coupled with practical, real-world experiences and knowledge of military affairs. Many imagine that the military is simply utilized for resolving existing conflicts, but this is only half of their purpose. The military has many procedures for dealing with conflict resolution before it ever arises, and frequently endeavors to extend the peace process, avoiding armed conflict whenever possible. Moreover, I have spent the last sixteen years traveling off and on, visiting Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. I feel that the more we know of other cultures, the more we understand about ourselves. What better formula for peace could there possibly be?

The seriousness with which I will approach my academics and my desire to give back to an extended community is evident in the works I have done for the community I am blessed to be a part of, volunteering for XXX, and setting up a blood drive as an undergraduate XXX participant.

For the future, I envision building my exposure and acumen in the field, eventually contributing to XXX as a lead point of contact for global mission work. Nothing would bring me more personal or professional satisfaction than to be a person who can be a voice for the underserved, for those who live in forgotten corners of the globe, places where governmental subsidies simply do not reach. We need to put a global face on the maxim of equal opportunity. Everyone, irrespective of where they come from is entitled to the basic building blocks for a successful life. To that end, I will give all that I can. XXX, I will be a force for change.

For now, I feel that I am ready for the opportunity and challenge to be a participant and contributor to a quality international studies educational program. Obtaining my Master's is not about just me. It is about the rest of my family. I look forward to being a creative leader on an international level, helping the poor, the sick, and the needy at all costs.

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