Michael Espinosa is a senior studying International Relations, Earth Systems and Urban Studies, interested in the intersection of international relations, sustainability and journalism. Michael shared his experience with IR at Stanford, study abroad and offered advice to incoming frosh and IR students.
What was the most fulfilling part of your study abroad experience?
I spent the summer of 2019 in Santiago, Chile and took a class on Chilean ecology. In addition to field trips to nearby protected areas, my classmates and I also traveled to the Atacama Desert one weekend. I think it was really fulfilling to see landscapes, plants and animals that I’ve never encountered before. It was a vivid reminder of the beauty of nature and why it’s worth protecting.
How has studying IR shaped your interests?
I chose the energy, environment and natural resources track, which made me realize how multi-faceted the climate crisis is and the different levels, from international to local, one can choose to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. My environmental science and policy courses also highlighted how different environmental issues in the United States are from those in the rest of the world.
What do you like to do outside of class?
I’m a huge fan of sports (both professional and collegiate) and at Stanford I’ve had the pleasure of covering games for The Daily and KZSU, the University's radio station. I also love spending time with my friends, either in person or playing video games online.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for incoming frosh?
One of my biggest regrets about Stanford is not writing an honors thesis, because I couldn’t find a topic that I was excited to read and write about for a year. I recommend keeping a document handy (either a Google spreadsheet, or on your notes app) with topics that you’d be excited to research, and updating it every quarter so if you meet someone whose academic focus matches a topic, you can talk to them about it and potentially land yourself a thesis advisor.