Yes, I truly believe that. Maybe I’ll regret it when I’m knee deep in Spanish reading material or investigating the world economies, but hey, I think it’s best to learn from your mistakes.
Here’s the thing. I’ve wanted to do a masters for years. I’m not exactly sure why… but it just sounds fascinating. When I arrived in Bogotá, the idea of studying down here appealed to me, so I began to research what options I had available.
I found a great private university in Bogotá that offered exactly what I wanted to study, International Relations. I emailed the head of the department a list of ten thousand questions, and he casually invited me to stop by to discuss my concerns with him. The meeting with him went truly amazing. He seemed to really be invested in his students, and the entire program seemed to fit my needs.
Of course, there were other aspects that I really like about the program and the university. I think something that is often overlooked is the quality of toilet paper offered. Since I had been studying Spanish at a public university, I was lucky to find any toilet paper at all in the restrooms. When I did, it truly was uncomfortable. At a private university, it’s always readily available. Double ply, extra soft, with Aloe Vera lotion.
The cost was another big factor. I finally did the math, and it breaks down to about $12,000 for the entire two-year program. No, I did not make a typo in that one. It really is about $12,000. For me, this was shocking since I studied at Texas Pay Me a Ton of Money University. The tuition that was paid there would cover nearly three master programs in Colombia.
The U.S. is really messed up when it comes to education. Although I would love to have the opportunity to study at one of the top 5 International Relation schools there, I’m just not willing to be enslaved by debt for the rest of my life (minimum 40k per year). Call me old fashioned, but my dream for retirement at age 30 still stands.
So, why exactly do I want to study International Relations? I think the best way to summarize it is through a song:
“I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys’ R Us kid, there’s a million toys at Toys ‘R Us that I can play with! More bikes, more trains, more video games, it’s the biggest toy store there is! I don’t want to grow, because then if I did, I wouldn’t be a Toys ‘R Us kid.”
But now, replace “Toys’ R Us kid” with traveling kid, and replace the toys with worldwide locations. See, studying IR will allow me to work all over the world, whether that’s in business, governmental agencies, or non-profits. If I have to work (which I’m still holding out that I soon discover I’m a trust fund baby), I’d rather work somewhere where I don’t understand the language, culture, customs, or the women. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think a single man in the world understands women, even if it’s from the same culture.
After submitting my documents, transcripts, my personal mission statement, etc, I had an interview. As we were finishing up, the director of the program happily welcomed me to the School of International Relations at Pontifica Universidad Javeriana.
After much thought, I deferred my admission to the following semester. This will allow me some time to save a little extra money as well as increase my level of Spanish. For some odd reason, there seems to be a huge difference between Spanish at a conversational level as compared to an academic level. Who would have thought.