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Ariel Castro-Martinez - Masters in American Studies, 2018
Where are you at the moment? – What’s it like?
I am in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I planned to spend a year in South America to gain professional and personal international experiences, improve my Spanish, and expand my horizons. These goals have been interrupted somewhat by COVID-19. Despite the challenges, I’m still learning and growing.
When did you graduate and what did you study?
I graduated from the Masters of US Studies in 2018. Before then, I graduated from a double undergraduate degree in 2016 with American Studies as one of my majors. American studies is, by definition, not easy to pin down. It wraps around a core of history and political science but my studies have extended beyond into American news and entertainment media, urbanism, constitutional law, and international relations, among other disciplines.
Why did you do American Studies?
I was attracted to American studies for its multidisciplinary scope. My curiosity to know the big picture and borrow knowledge and perspectives from diverse disciplines has led me to study America like it’s a puzzle ready to be solved.
What was a highlight for you?
The highlight for me would definitely be my participation at the Chicago Global Cities Forum for my capstone Masters work on how Silicon Valley affects inequality in the San Francisco Bay Area. This was an exciting and challenging experience for me because I was not only representing myself and the Centre, I also felt I was meaningfully contributing to a greater international project that convened people, knowledge, and perspectives from all over to tackle some of the big problems affecting global cities.
How has American Studies shaped your life after graduation?
American studies has affected the way I think about the world, think about its features and problems, and engage with people interested in how societies work. I have taken the methodologies and insights I’ve learned to use to interrogate parts of the US and turned them on South America. Currently, I am writing for Young Australians in International Affairs with a primary focus on understanding Latin American development and inequality. I hope to follow this loose trajectory towards a career where I can keep exploring how big global issues are both contained and spill out of the geographies in which they manifest. Interdisciplinarity is not really a job, so I’m still on a journey to find where my energy in this regard can be most productively channelled.