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It was said a few years ago that if the human race is wiped out in the next 50 years it will not be because of disease or an asteroid hitting the earth, but because of foreign policy and international relations. In a world where thousands of nuclear weapons exist and more countries are trying to acquire them, where suicide terrorist strikes come without warning and thousands die each day from poverty caused by the way the international system operates, we need to know about and understand international relations.
My interest in government and policy started from an early age. If you were to by chance look up past SGA office holders at Bond Mill Elementary school, you would see that I was the first to ever win office three years in a row (treasurer, VP, and eventually President). And although the golden years of my political record have long past, I have always tried to be actively involved with my high school and now college student government.
It was not until only recently that my interest in government and policy bled into international affairs. Last semester I took an arbitrary government class exploring the history and dynamics of Chinese-American relations in order to fulfill a requirement. What I didn’t anticipate was falling in love with the subject. The Sino-American relationship is unlike anything else in world history.
I was enthralled by the clandestine Nixon/Kissinger talks with Chairman Mao; the furtive, and sometimes unethical, approaches both sides used to gain leverage over one another; the glaring problems the two countries face such as a rising push towards democratization and the increasingly frightful interdependence of the two economies – it soon became my favorite class, so much so that I have developed a novel interest in working towards a career in international affairs and by pursuing my studies at SFS, I believe I would have the best opportunity to do so.
Although the Walsh School of Foreign Service requires much of its students, it also offers countless resources and opportunities to ensure success in the IR field. The school’s language requirement for one expects its student to be able ‘to carry on a conversation on contemporary affairs involving international affairs’ by graduation. And though this seems demanding, the prospect of learning a new language, the people I will be able to meet, and the doors that will open for me as a result is electrifying, thus, I plan to enroll in the intensive language program in either China or France. In addition, many SFS students perform undergraduate research with Georgetown professors who are prominent leaders in their respective fields. To work alongside Prof. Victor Cha on eastern diplomacy or Prof. Steven Radlet on globalization economics would be nothing short of extraordinary.
While at Georgetown, I plan to enroll in the recently established Global Business major. The major’s description on the website states that ‘the aim of the major is to produce a new breed of graduates who are fluent in the global languages of business, politics, economics, and culture.’ To become such a multi faceted student is a goal I hope to achieve by graduation. In a world where the private sector has become increasingly more influential in the public sphere, and economic incentives trump even the strongest of political ideals, it would be advantageous to gain a business perspective alongside my IR education. My high-school English teacher once told a story about two younger fish that perpetually stared at one another. An elder fish swims by and mentions the ocean, to which the two fish reply: ‘What is the ocean?’ It would be a damn shame if like the younger fish I limited myself to my comfortable American naiveté. Learning how the world works through international relations is, as one professor said, ‘understanding by educating empathy.’ There is an entire ocean out there filled with countless incredible cultures and stories that I intend to learn and explore as much of it as I can while at Georgetown.
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