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MALAS Student Profile: Javier Astorga

2014-2015 reveals an enthusiastic cohort of MALAS students with eclectic backgrounds and interests. Among these students is Javier Astorga (MALAS '16), whose concentrations are in Anthropology and History.

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Javier received his bachelor's degrees from the Universidad de los Andes in Venezuela, majoring in Political Science and Philosophy. He chose to come to UNM for the MALAS program and concentrate in Anthropology and History because of UNM's interdisciplinary approach to Latin America, its comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, and particularly its knowledgeable and engaging faculty, many of whom have extensive experience working in Latin America. He came to New Mexico as a Fulbright-LASPAU grantee, and sees this opportunity as a way to broaden his academic pursuits, but also to learn more about American people and their culture.

He is interested in further studying Latin America because he believes it is important to examine political and social practices that are not always discussed in mainstream discourse. He used to consider his focus of study to be North America, but has discovered that people can often learn more about their own cultures while studying abroad; in this way, he feels the MALAS program is very special. He finds the Anthropology department to be especially unique due to its critical approach to politics and social issues in Latin America, which has allowed him to develop a better understanding of Latin American cultures and politics.

In his spare time, Javier volunteers at the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) in order to improve his English and approach academic life at UNM head-on. Additionally, he enjoys exploring the campus, perusing the library, and making friends in various UNM departments. After completing his degree, he sees himself teaching at his home university, engaging in research and development programs that connect and empower people, and improving connections with other international research centers.

To learn more about the LAII's current MALAS students, read all of our student profiles.

Image: Photograph of Javier at UNM.

--Posted Monday, March 2, 2015.