The biggest commitment I have ever made is to learning the Spanish language. From a young age, I learned that Spanish, with over 500 million speakers in a number of countries worldwide, would be a crucial language to learn in an era of increasing globalization. In addition, I recognized that Spanish-speakers represented a rapidly growing portion of the U.S. population, and developing my proficiency in the language would serve me well no matter which career path I chose. I soon found that Spanish became my favorite class.
In high school, I had the opportunity to host a Chilean exchange student, Agustin, who did not speak any English. My Spanish proficiency paid off, as I quickly befriended Agustin and the other Chileans in his program, and decided to study in an exchange program at his school in Santiago. I fell in love with Chile during my time there, and my exchange experience inspired me to pursue a global career, and to study international affairs in college.
While my favorite class, learning another language does not come without its difficulties. When I hosted Agustin in the United States, and later, traveled to Chile, we met significant challenges. Studying abroad in another country, especially one where few speak any English, led me to realize my Spanish proficiency was not at the level I had thought. Living in Chile with a host family forced me to not only learn advanced verb tenses such as the subjunctive tense, it allowed my to develop advanced comprehension skills. I learned that in order to master the language, I would have to become comfortable conversing with native speakers from all Spanish countries, as many countries frequently use slang.
Without understanding slang, in a country where slang is frequently used, one cannot consider themselves fluent speakers. This same principle applied to legal jargon when I worked at a law firm. While researching litigation across the Spanish-speaking world, I hired a personal tutor to smooth over my remaining grammatical deficiencies, and to better understand convoluted legal processes. I consider this personal tutoring instrumental to my development of full professional proficiency. After reaching this achievement, and engaging with the Latin American community in the United States, I realized I wanted to build on my devotion to the language, and extend it to the Latin American region.
Yale’s dedication to diversity and its unique opportunities catered to my passion for Spanish and led to my decision to pursue my MBA at Yale. In particular, I find that the program’s division into cohorts and learning teams would be the perfect way to meet students from all over the world. Additionally, I hope to actively engage with Yale’s Global Network for Advanced Management and participate in an exchange or take courses at universities such as INCAE. Finally, the opportunity to take electives across the university at large, such as courses at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, would provide an excellent supplement to a best in class business education as I pursue my goals.