I can’t imagine a more perfect career for a professional Army Brat than international relations. Long before my birth, my parents made the commitment to a military life and to my father’s career in artificial intelligence. It was almost a pre-ordained destiny for me, as my parents repeatedly moved their large brood across oceans, nations and continents as my father’s career rapidly progressed. From the day I was born, I was along for the ride.
And what a ride it was! I can’t begin to describe the wondrous experience of growing up in several nations around the world. While most students learn about foreign languages and cultures from geography textbooks, I was repeatedly submerged in a new foreign culture every two years. Ironically, many of my life’s early milestones are inexplicably linked to international crises. We lived in Grenada during my first year of school, and I remember the overwhelming fear when the military invasion occurred. I was only a child, but I knew that a terrible dispute was occurring and that my father was needed to help. I knew that the Americans were the good guys.
I spent my first year of high school Baghdad, until my family was evacuated during the Persian Gulf War. By this time, my mother had six children and could not be immediately reunited with my father. We escaped to safety, but we worried about his fate for several long, agonizing weeks before we received his correspondence. By this age, I was well aware of the danger of being an American on foreign soil. I admired my father and others in the miltary who willingly accepted the risks of terrorism to protect others.
During both of these experiences, I learned many lessons about history, economics and diplomacy. I observed that the world is composed of many peace-loving people whose lives are violently disrupted due to the interests and fighting of a privileged few. I saw that human fear is the same in any society when war is declared and people are killed. I became extremely proud of the United States and our continual role to negotiate settlements among warring nations and to preserve peace. We are often criticized for becoming involved in foreign wars and for trying to preserve the human rights of non-citizens. I observed first-hand that we are usually the only hope and protection these people have.
I want to pursue a career that will enable me to work in international relations, preferably with a government agency. I want to obtain the best training possible in history, diplomacy and language skills. I saw how effectively a well-trained American can bridge the gap between different cultures and create synergy and compromise from ignorance and fear. I believe that my unique life experiences, combined with a rigorous academic education, will enable me to pursue a challenging international career.
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