I am applying to study a Master’s degree in Linguistics at the Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH). The official program information can be found here, although it’s all in Spanish (but Google Translate should offer to translate it for you if you’re using the Google Chrome browser).
I’ve chosen to study at USACH for several reasons. It is among the top 3 universities of Chile and ranks internationally among the top 460 universities in the world. Chile has several wonderful private institutions at which I considered applying, but as an educator aiming to participate in the improvement of the public system, I’m proud to say that my entire education, pre-school through undergrad, has taken place within public schools, and I decided to continue that trend after discovering the social commitment that USACH has made to the country. Since it’s earliest inception in 1849 as the Escuela de Artes y Oficios, the school has been commited to aiding development in Chile. Today USACH follows the populist tradition of Chile, providing low tuition, scholarships, internships, and various other opportunities for both Chilean and international students.
I have very high hopes of converting my thesis findings into a report that will be of use to MINEDUC (The Ministry of Education in Chile) or CEPAL (The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean– backed by the United Nations). Performing my research at USACH is the perfect opportunity to get my foot in the doors of these offices, thanks to the social projects and government involvement found at the university.
I know that this is the right program for what I hope to achieve. They provide evening courses to facilitate those of us who work during the day, a wealth of opportunities for financial aid, important connections to research opportunities, and a promising environment in which real policies for the development of Chile and the world can be determined, tested, and evaluated.
Studying linguistics in my second language is by far one of the scariest things I’ve ever signed up for, but I’m excited for the challenge. The thought of attending classes, performing research, and writing and defending my thesis in my second language is daunting, but I feel motivated and prepared. The potential reward– policy reforms that benefit the low-resource public schools’ English programs throughout the urban and rural systems across Chile– is too beautiful to turn down.