June 16, 2023

JSI Scholar: Jose Castillo

Tell us about your story

I was born in the Bronx, where I got the chance to interact with many different cultures and traditions. I wanted to explore the world, so I got involved in leadership programs like Global Glimpse, allowing me to visit countries like the Dominican Republic and Denmark. However, I began learning the importance of understanding one’s own identity, own culture, upholding traditions, but also the history and turmoil each country struggles with. I want to bring communities together for positive change and mutual understanding.

What made you consider a career in public policy/public service/international affairs?

I got the opportunity to live abroad during my summer abroad internship and learned about different cultures through my undergraduate career. I learned about the history of many countries and took classes to learn basic speaking languages, to better communicate with other people. However, I want to be more involved in international affairs and help countries in need of assistance. I want to help bring mutual understanding between countries and help countries during times of crisis, times of war, or during political turmoil. To do that, I want to pursue a career in international affairs and public service to help those who can’t help themselves.

Who inspires you to think about public service?

I am inspired by the people I met during my abroad experiences and life. I am inspired by the Moabit Hilft volunteers that were once Syrian refugees and are now helping Ukrainian refugees resettle in Berlin, Germany. I am inspired by Jose, a community leader from the Dominican Republic, who worked to build a community center for both Haitian and Dominican neighbors to help further understand their differences through community events. I am inspired by my Dad, who gave food and advice to the neighborhood I grew up in, even taking the time to learn Arabic to further communicate with our neighbors. I want to be a public service leader to further help communities and refugees in need of assistance.

What are you most excited about the JSI program at UW?

I am excited to explore the West-coast of the United States. My main interest has always been going abroad and exploring new countries, but rarely get the chance to travel beyond the East Coast. I am excited to explore Seattle and the University of Washington.