UniSpain Summer Scholarship 2014 – Brandon Soto

Brandon Sotoschol1

“Learning Spanish means a lot to me, and I am determined to make it happen. For my family, for my career, and for my own personal enjoyment.”

He is from New York and is extremely determined to be fluent in Spanish due to his Puerto Rican roots.
He has a family connection to Malaga as his great grandmother’s maiden name was Antequera and it was his grandfather’s dream to discover this side of his family in Spain.
Brandon had to forego an opportunity to go to Spain in order to attain his Bachelor’s degree. What’s more, not only does he want to preserve his heritage, but also be more efficient in his career in the food industry by being able to communicate with the Hispanic staff in the USA.
This chance to go to Spain would be a great way for him to set an example to his little sister.


Brandon’s full scholarship application essay:

Dear Málaga University Scholarship Committee,

      Firstly, I would like to thank you for the opportunity presented with this scholarship. I understand that it is of great importance to you that you award this scholarship to the person who will make the most of it and to who is most deserving. I would like to submit that I believe I am the ideal candidate for this scholarship. Although I am not currently proficient in Spanish, be it with the assistance of this scholarship or not- I will become fluent. I also have a great desire to not only experience Spain, but to learn the language through immersion in its birthplace. Learning Spanish means a lot to me, and I am determined to make it happen.

      I want to learn Spanish for many reasons. For my family, for my career, and for my own personal enjoyment. My full name is Brandon Gabriel Soto, my father’s name is Anthony Rene Soto, and my grandfather’s name is Rene Gabriel Soto. I am a descendant of a line of Puerto Rican Sotos, however I am the first generation that has not been raised in a Spanish household. This is an embarrassment for me, which threatens the future of my heritage, despite my reverence to the language. If I become fluent in Spanish, I can use it with my family and teach it to my children and so that they may carry on the heritage that my grandfather brought from Puerto Rico. Fluency in Spanish would also mean advancement in my career. Certainly the kitchens of the world are filled with Spanish speaking peoples, it is therefore critical to my career in the kitchen that I can communicate effectively with my peers in Spanish. Aside from my family heritage, and its endless use towards my career, I find Spanish much more beautiful than English, and would use it regularly with the increasingly overwhelming population of the world who shares the tongue.

      The second most attractive advantage about this scholarship is the fact that it is to be used in Spain, in a city that is central to Spain’s history. My great grandmother, who I never had the liberty of meeting (nor did my grandfather), has ties to Málaga in that her maiden name is “Antequera” which I would like to explore. It was always my grandfather’s dream to journey to Spain, to try to find some connection with his mother, however the challenges of life prevented his journey. This scholarship would allow him to realize that dream vicariously though his grandson (me). It is therefore of great benefit for me to go to Spain and walk the earth that my ancestors did. I can bring that back to my family, and share with them the experience. I have always wanted to go to Spain. I had one opportunity, however I had to forego the trip in order to attain the bachelors degree that will best advance my career. This scholarship could give me the right opportunity to visit Spain. Lastly, but not least important, is again my culinary career. As a food and hospitality professional, it would be of great benefit to my career to visit Spain and witness the food systems, culture, and wine productions (which represent the earth), of which I have studied rigorously at the Culinary Institute of America. In these times, the question in resumes or applications for employment, “do you speak any other language” has become nearly standard for employers dealing with the public at large. A “yes” answer can’t help but get my resume a little closer to the top of the pile for my future dream job. I recognize the benefits and the doors that can be opened by learning the language.

      I truly believe I am the ideal candidate for this scholarship for many reasons. Firstly, I am going to learn Spanish, and I would truly enjoy studying in it Spain. I am currently studying a second semester of Spanish, and last semester I received an A in the class, I am expecting a similar grade this semester. Professor Rodriguez, my language instructor, agrees with my desire to study Spanish in Spain and has written me recommendation letter attached with this
application. Second, this scholarship could mean a step toward my life goals. If I do not receive this scholarship, I will still be going to Spain and learning Spanish, however the time is ambiguous as well as the price, I have student loans and a little sister who needs my financial attention. This scholarship provides me essential financial assistance to achieve a life goal that I have set for myself. Additionally, nobody in my family has ever left the Unites States, I could be the first in my family to travel abroad, and share that experience with my little sister, who is so open to the world. Again, I would like to thank you for the opportunity and for your time. I hope you will find that I am the perfect candidate to be a recipient of this award.

-Brandon Gabriel Soto


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— For more information about the scholarship click here.

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