Environmental Science Personal Statement Example (International Student)

The first time I really thought about climate change occurred when I spent a holiday week in a cycling camp organised by the WWF. We cycled through Switzerland and I experienced the transcendence of the Alps for the first time.

The guides introduced us to the concepts of sustainability and global warming, things that I had read about before, but just dismissed as scaremongering. But when I saw the consequences of this change, for example dwindling glaciers and solar power plants, I realised that this was real and not just an abstract danger made up by nerdy scientists and left wing do-gooders.

I joined the local green party and have been involved in a campaign against urban sprawl, which is a serious issue in Switzerland due to the small amount of flat land available. This summer I volunteered for the WWF, being responsible for a camp for young people to sensitise them for environmental issues, just like I got drawn in this movement after the week of bicycle touring.

In addition to that, I did a fair amount of reading about climate change, for example "This changes everything" by Naomi Klein and "Silent spring" by Rachel Carson do I consider to be very good books about environmental issues and their impact on societies.

Recently, I also started taking online courses on FutureLearn. I completed a course about the "causes of climate change" and another one called "preparing for university". Currently I am working on a course about data analysis.

The thought of studying abroad and therefore broaden my horizon has always appealed to me, and after a family holiday in Scotland in the autumn of 2014, I decided that this would be my country of choice.

Especially the beauty of the Scottish landscape and the open-mindedness of its people inspired me. I felt that there was a spirit of political awaking after the independence referendum as compared to the desire of self-isolation, which currently seems to be the prevailing political narrative in Switzerland.

I have liked the English language since I first encountered it in secondary school, during grammar school I started reading English books and after a language learning stay in Bournemouth I really got into it. I wrote my final paper at grammar school in English, and started learning for the CPE exam, which I successfully passed in June 2016

I have always been curious and eager to learn new things. That led to taking Russian language as a specific option at grammar school. I found literature and language studies not to be my subject of choice, but nonetheless I gained some valuable insights into a foreign culture and the basic language skills (European level B1) I acquired could be of benefit in the future.

Another passion of mine is cycling. I have been doing it for 5 years now. As a junior, I raced quite competitively, winning a district championship in road cycling and placing 5th at the national championships in long distance mountain biking were my biggest successes. Upon entering the adult's category, I backed it off a bit, striving rather for personal bests than wins.

I find that endurance sport and studying share some common skills that those pursuing these activities must have. You have, for example, to be well organised and learn to set goals and priorities. Aside from the competitive aspect, sport enables me to relieve stress and spend time with my friends.

Envisioning myself in 10 years, I see two possible fields in which I would like to work, politics with focus on environmental issues or doing research about this topic.

One area of research that stands out for me is the effect of climate change and resource exploitation on the ecosystems in the Arctic region, where I could presumably make use of my Russian language skills. I reckon that a degree in environmental sciences would be an ideal starting point to further pursue one or both of these career paths.

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Author's Comments

I applied for Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling. I got conditional offers from all of them.

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