UniSpain Summer Scholarship 2014 – Cleo Ha

Cleo Ha

“I wish to bring Spanish culture back to Sydney through dance and music in hope that it is appreciated, recognised and loved in a way it should be.”

An undergraduate student of Music from Australia, her specialty is playing the violin and bandoneon within the Tango genre. She is also extremely passionate about Flamenco which she has been practicing for 19 years. In order to truly immerse herself in this craft, she would like to master the Spanish language and discover the culture from where it comes from. It is her hope to be able to  create a greater awareness and appreciation of her combined passions in Australia and feels that some time in Spain is necessary for her to be able to do it all justice.


Cleo’s full scholarship application essay

My name is Cleo Ha. I am an undergraduate student at the University of Sydney, I am currently in my 4th year and I am doing a Bachelor of Music Studies/ Bachelor of Arts degree.
The first reason why I have great interest in this Study program is due to the opportunities the Spanish language would offer me in the future. I state this because
I am a Flamenco dancer and have been dancing flamenco for the last 19 years, although I am of Asianic background.
I take Flamenco very seriously and hope to reach higher levels in the future which would require me to visit Spain in order to do my Flamenco exams. I would also hope to teach Flamenco in the future and to be able to do this, I believe that learning Spanish and its culture would be a great opportunity and would benefit me greatly. The art of Flamenco is not widely recognised or appreciated in Australian culture, many are unaware that Flamenco is an art that originates from Hispanic culture and misunderstand it as a dance that holds great similarities to many Latin American dances such as ‘Salsa’. As a Flamenco dancer that has done a great many gigs for functions, weddings, fundraisers and charities, I have come to realise that this misunderstanding is quite apparent throughout the audience. Flamenco is an art I am most passionate about and I believe that its history and background should be fully appreciated and I believe learning the language would be most helpful to me.

The second reason why I wish to learn Spanish also relates to the music I play. I have been studying at the Conservatorium of Music for the last 9 years and have finished the Musical requirements of my degree. Ever since studying music during high school, I held a great interest in Tango Music. In 2010, I joined TangoOz (which is a small part of the Sydney Youth Orchestras) and have been under the mentor of Maggie Ferguson, a professional tango musician. I play the violin and the bandoneon and I also hope to achieve more in this area in the future. I wish to further pursue a musical career in tango music by visiting Buenos Aires, in doing so, I also believe that learning the spanish language would benefit me greatly. Tango is also an art that is yet to reach its full potential here in Sydney. Although the dance is popular amongst the culture here in Australia, there needs to be greater understanding and appreciation for the musical aspect as it plays quite a significant role.

The third reason why I want to learn the Spanish language is solely based on my love of it. I have been exposed to it all my life, as I do many activities that involve the Spanish. I understand specific words but I believe that is not enough for me, I believe that I can only achieve my goals by being fully engaged in Spanish culture. I was not given much opportunity to study Spanish in a manner that would allow me to engage in it properly so I hope to be given this chance to do so.

The last reason why I believe that this opportunity would be beneficial for me is the experience. I wish to study overseas before my degree finishes and I believe that travelling to a place that has so many ties with what I do and I’m passionate about would be an experience that would ultimately direct me in terms of my future.

The reasons why I want to learn and study the Spanish language and culture all come under the love I have for it and the opportunities and benefits it will give me in the future. I really hope I am given this opportunity as I would put in my best efforts to understand and master it. I believe I am the ideal candidate for this award because, I not only wish to get a good grasp of the language and culture, I wish to bring Spanish culture back to Sydney through dance and music in hope that it is appreciated, recognised and loved in a way it should be.

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— For more information about the scholarship click here.

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