International Relations Personal Statement
Many people speak of days and events that change the world in a matter of seconds, and in modern times, 9/11 is surely accredited as being such a day. The resultant political hysteria caught my attention and having scarcely watched the news previously, the nature of politics on an international scale became a fascination. The attacks raised many questions about the effect of both present and future Western foreign policy, and such vital issues caused me to question and view the world in a new light. It soon became evident that the actions, reactions and interactions of government could affect not just the lives of the few, but of the entire of humanity. I strongly believe that a subject so far-reaching and influential warrants being understood and analysed at a higher level, a feat that I am determined to accomplish.
It was primarily through the emergence of the perceived post-9/11 'terror threat' that has given me the desire to examine the political climate domestically and globally. One of the foremost issues, the plight of human rights against the supposed 'threat of terrorism' is a topic that I would like to deepen my understanding of, particularly after reading 'Human Rights in Global Politics' by Tim Dunne and Nicholas J. Wheeler, and further researching the issue following the resignation of David Davis in June 2008. I feel passionately that the 'relentless erosion of fundamental British freedoms' is something that should be closely monitored, and is a topic that I strongly anticipate studying closely. However my primary interest has, and continues to be, the many aspects of terrorism, largely the 'War on Terror', constriction of civil liberties and its effect upon 'The West' fundamental, democratic principals. This was sparked by my reading of 'Perilous Power' by Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar, within which opinions and statistics were produced which challenged many ideas and theories commonly expressed by the popular media, particularly in regards to US foreign policy.
My choices of A-levels have further reinforced my decision to study international relations at university level, and I have undoubtedly developed many skills which render me well-equipped for the challenges of higher education. I certainly feel that my essay composition skills have advanced significantly, and the increased freedom of topic and structure in A-level essays has allowed me to write in-depth analyses of topics which I could thoroughly research, such as the ethics of religious fundamentalism and terrorism. Furthermore subjects such as geography and business have helped me become more diplomatic when approaching arguments; something which I hope may help to reach desired conclusions in future academic debates.
I believe that my passion for politics and social change is also strongly reflected in my non-academic activities. My shared interest in current affairs and international politics with friends often results in heated debating outside of classes, something that I relish. In addition I have attended several organised debates, including a group discussion with a Tibetan monk on Chinese foreign policy. Additionally, being a senior student has further developed my ambitions for change; a desire underlined by the efforts of myself and a fellow senior student in gathering local politicians to give talks in order to allow students to develop a stronger political compass. Being on a senior student team has also strengthened my teamwork skills, as has my part-time job at Centre Parcs, Longleat, where working in a team is essential to completing assigned tasks. My job has also improved my time-management skills, as balancing academic and non-academic periods is crucial to meeting deadlines, something that I hope will aid me at university. As a questioning, determined and motivated student, the thought of deepening my knowledge and contributing to university life is one that excites me greatly.
This personal statement was written by MH1230 for application in 2009.
International Relations and Modern History at University of St Andrews
The initial draft of this unfortunately poor PS. Any and all feedback welcomed :)