Introducing Ernesto from El Salvador

Ernesto Oyarbide is studying a Master of Studies in Literature and Arts part-time through Kellogg College and is mainly based in Spain. Here he discusses life as an Oxford student overseas and the need for increased funding for students from Latin America.

Ernesto Oyarbide

My name is Ernesto Oyarbide. I am originally from El Salvador, though I have been living and working in Spain for some time now. I am presently doing a Master of Studies in Literature and Arts (part-time). I have always been a fan of Oxford, which places great importance in not only professional outcomes but also personal development. To be accepted was like a dream come true.

Thanks to the generous support of the Santander Travel Award (and my own funds), I have recently moved from Pamplona to Madrid to conduct a research stay at the Royal Library in Spain.

I am very invested in the study of the humanities. I wish to specialise in the cultural relations between European Civilizations. This may sound as a very ‘bookish’ topic. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that societies need the humanities in order to be able to establish a better democracy. This is certainly true when we come to think about my native country (El Salvador), where lack of education and culture present themselves as two major challenges for development.

In future I would like to help my country in overcoming these handicaps. That is why I am presently learning about development policies through my work and I am specialising in cultural studies at Oxford. Being an overseas student makes it harder to satisfy expenses for postgraduate education in Europe. That is why I needed a job, so that I could cover costs. Luckily, Kellogg College has also been very supportive by granting me a bursary.

I am very passionate about funding. Being part of Oxford is a great experience, but it has also meant a lot of sacrifice. I would like to address the lack of funding for part-time students and the almost non-existent specific funds for Latin Americans. Did you know that most Central American countries have never had more than 10 students at Oxford ever? I am student number 7 for El Salvador! I would like that to change by making student funding more readily available.

During the coming months, I will be going to the Royal Palace in Madrid on a daily basis in order to consult some very valuable diplomatic archives held in there (more about that in my next post). Madrid is quite an experience. Its people, its streets, its restaurants and parks… Everything has a very Castillian taste around it that is also sparkled with cosmopolitan influences and people from all around the world! I will keep you posted on how things go. In the meantime, I think I will be having that famous and relaxing café con leche in Plaza Mayor that has been so much advertised by Madrid’s Mayor on the past Olympic Committee gathering.


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