French & History Personal Statement
Growing up, my aspirations were ever evolving - a lawyer, a doctor, an author- as were my interests. The one thing that stayed is my love for stories. I started off believing that I would end up as an English major, but over the course of my IBHL English literature course, I found that I was more interested in the context that prompted the author's publications.
I wanted to know more - not just about the story that the author was trying to tell, but also about the context that prompted them to produce it. Hence, history was what I turned to for stories.
In the course of exploring my interests in history and writing, I have taken a variety of classes, including two years of journalism and the first year of AP Capstone research programme, developing myself as a writer and honing my ability to select pieces of evidence to support my arguments.
I first joined journalism in 9th grade, and it was a class that I thoroughly enjoyed. It prompted me to go out of my comfort zone as an introvert to learn the stories of others and what they have to say.
My interest in stories, in both the literary and historical sense, prompted me to write my extended essay on the impact of literary publications on the Black Civil Rights Movement, and also to take on the role of co-editor-in-chief of Expression, our school's literary magazine.
I signed up for first year of the AP Capstone research course when I was in 10th grade. The bulk of this class was focused on producing history papers and presenting our papers effectively and efficiently. This class gave me the opportunity to focus on history topics that were of interest to me, including but not limited to women's rights under Stalin, as well as the role of Quakers in the abolition of slavery, honing in on Civil Rights.
The class required me to delve deeper into the topics and produce concise and focused essays through the examination of different historical lenses, such as the economy and politics. Following the capstone programme, I returned to the taking regular history classes, where I learned about the Civil Rights in America through the first year of my IBHL history class.
In pursuit of my interest in history, I participated in my school's first history bowl team, and we managed to place first in the competition against several other schools. In the process of preparing for the competition, my teammates and I spent several of our free periods and lunches looking over the past year questions. We were also assigned various time periods and regions to specialise in, which allowed me deviate from the IB curriculum and learn about the culture and history of regions like South America that were not covered in my courses in school.
I am keen to learn about new cultures, the stories of different places - I grew up in the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural island of Singapore, after which I moved to Taiwan, where I immersed myself in a traditionally Chinese society as I navigated through an American international school.
My interest in cultures probably stemmed from not just my experiences in the 2 countries that I have lived in, but also from French class, which I started from 7th grade in Singapore as a third language. Through the learning of French, I not only learned the grammar rules but also the history and culture of this beautiful language.
Learning French allowed me to tap into the values of another community and appreciate French literature as they were, without the use of translation. As complex as French is, my attachment to French grew gradually over the 6 years that I have spent navigating its complexities. From learning my first numbers to reading French novels like Manon des Sources, French is a language that has fascinated me right from the start.
Through my application for the French and History course, I hope to delve deeper into the stories of different nations and cultures, be it those that are familiar to me or not.
For those who are interested, I applied and got conditional offers for the following schools: - University of Warwick - University of Sheffield - University of Nottingham - University of Leeds - Queen Mary University of London