By Alicia Iguaran Gonzalez, a student of MA program in National Security Studies, 2016-2017 Cohort.
I am Alicia Iguaran Gonzalez, I am 25 years old and was born in Venezuela. I am part of an indigenous community actually, so I come from a minority in my country (that explains why my last name is so complicated to pronounce in other languages, so people usually just call me Alicia Gonzalez.)
My life has always been between Colombia and Venezuela because my community, which is called Wayuu, has been located between both countries since before the colonization process and it has been like that always. Besides the ongoing armed conflict in Colombia, which affects the minority I come from, Venezuela, my home country is a democracy in crisis. Since 1998 there has been a continuing degrading stage within its social, political and economic levels, which is what led me to get a BA in Political Science. I did not want to perform in the political podium, but to be behind it with the objective of being part of the reconstruction of democracy in my country, contributing my knowledge from the scientific approach.
I worked as a political analyst for an international consulting firm writing monthly briefings about the political issue in my country. Also, I had the opportunity of working with national corporations and different governors in the surveys fields and political analysis as well. All this kept me very updated about the present and possible future of my country due to the fact that things were actually getting worse and worse.
Nowadays, my country is still under the socialist government and things are actually getting worse. We have one the most violent cities of the world, Caracas, let alone the border with Colombia; all of this has inspired me to do an MA in National Security Studies.
The first choice in my mind was the US, but if you look closer and really want to get an experience vis-a-vis the perfect country to learn from is Israel. This is a country that has consolidated its national security over the years and is an example worldwide in the field.
Now, the hardest part was actually deciding to move out and be that far from my family and friends. I mean it’s not like I am in the same continent and just a 5 hour flight away, but you have to do what you have to do for your future. Now, I am not going to lie, choosing the program was the easiest part, the best professors and best curriculum you will definitely find it at the University of Haifa.
I found the program searching universities with National Security programs, then I looked into the subjects, the electives, the professors, etc. There was no debate whatsoever, that Haifa is an ideal place to study an MA degree.
Haifa might not be a cosmopolitan city, but is perfect for focusing and getting your goals done. After one month here, actually living the academic experience, I am sure more than ever that it was the best decision to come here. The program is above my expectations and the University of Haifa makes sure you get everything you need as an international student. Plus, Israel is spectacular and easy to get to know. Studying abroad is an experience worth doing in your life.
I know that getting my MA in National Security here will be a fundamental starting point for me to achieve my goal of having an important role in the reform of the National Security policy of my country, Venezuela, and the Latin-American region.