The Empire State Building lit up in purple for NYU graduates.

Meeting NYU for the First Time

I first heard about NYU from my father, an immigrant enamored with the American dream. I knew from a young age that NYU was a powerhouse.

Still, it wasn’t until I visited campus on a foggy and crisp day that I understood my own desire for NYU. What a dive! What a jump! I wanted to immerse myself, even for a moment, in a community so varied.

Every student I spoke to demonstrated so much talent and intellect, no matter their place of origin. Growing up in a homogenous community where I’m not originally from—I witnessed the epitome of a city in its own bubble. Visiting NYU, I knew I wanted to be part of a mosaic of culture. That is, the University is a focal point of not only international students with vastly diverse mindsets, but also where study abroad is encouraged. Anyone can be a part of a vast global network and gain the learning experience of a lifetime.

Throughout my time here, I’ve learned that NYU is truly a school that, above all else, values learning in all its forms.

Ivan hiking in Patagonia during his time studying away at NYU Buenos Aires.
Ivan in Patagonia during his time studying away at NYU Buenos Aires

Exploring at NYU

When I arrived at NYU, the College of Arts and Science’s Politics and Spanish and Portuguese programs captured my attention. These bridged my passion for government, public affairs, and the culture of Latin America and Iberia. I realized NYU combined a firm focus on theoretical nuance and applicable scholarship, all in a richly-cultured environment.

Besides finding my place academically, I also became involved and engaged in the Latino community through Latinos Unidos Con Honor y Amistad (LUCHA). I even became president of the club, which is the official Hispanic club on campus.

Because of NYU...

Ivan displaying his senior honors thesis.

I lived in and explored Argentina through study away and also visited Uruguay and Chile.

I visited Mexico City to do archival research through the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund.

I took rigorous and riveting courses taught by caring professors.

I completed a senior honors thesis, which was about 90 pages and further affirmed my love for research.

After NYU

A view of a quad at the University of Cambridge.

After graduation, I will pursue a master’s in Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Following the completion of my master’s, I want to pursue a PhD in Hispanic Studies. And, eventually, I hope to become a professor, researching and teaching Mexican literary, film, and cultural studies.

I’m immensely grateful to continue my research at such an amazing institution. My dream is to uncover broader Mexican histories long neglected within the Americentric imagination and perception. Only through NYU was this dream possible.

In the simplest terms, I wanted to go to NYU because the University values and understands the importance of diversity in the learning process. And I’ve learned so much here: immersing myself in every kind of diversity at one of the best institutions in the world.

Ivan Brea is a current senior studying Politics & Spanish and Portuguese alongside a minor in Social and Public Policy at NYU’s College of Arts and Science. He was born in New York City but was predominantly raised by a Dominican father and a Nicaraguan mother in the Texas city of El Paso, situated on the Mexico-United States border. When he is not on campus being involved with LUCHA or the Catholic Center at NYU, you can find him assiduously viewing all types of cinema and reading literature with a cup of masala chai always in reach.