Geography/Development Studies Personal Statement Example

Ian Golding’s book, ‘A Short Introduction to Development’ expressed how early theories of development drew attention to the need for government intervention in poor countries to enable growth and promote national development. In a multi-polar world, a country can receive a wide range of aid including education, welfare and medical programmes, and most importantly disaster relief. In 2005, Pakistan received tremendous amounts of aid from Non-Governmental Organisations during the earthquake that struck Kashmir. The Red Cross and Red Crescent responded within hours of the disaster by providing short term relief such as re-establishing water supplies and rebuilding roads that were closed due to landslides. The amazing work these organisations have done to eliminate the impact disasters have had on local communities is what fuelled my desire of studying Geography.
Geography has enabled me to have an in-depth understanding about the world around me. One topic that kick-started my interest in Geography was Hazardous Earth, more specifically how countries deal with hydro-meteorological and geophysical hazards through hi-tech strategies to modify the loss. Globalisation highlighted the importance of socio-economic connections and how crucial it is for developing countries to be part of international governmental organisations. Economics provided me with an insight into how countries economically develop around the world. I was interested in how macroeconomic policies such as fiscal and monetary policies work across Europe. In 2018, Romania’s GDP grew by 4%, largely due to a strong fiscal stimulus implemented in the past years. This proved the positive effects policies have in stimulating growth in developing countries. Furthermore, it allowed me to think critically and make value judgements when evaluating the effectiveness of policies. Through Psychology I gained a deeper understanding into how internal and external factors influence the way people think and behave in modern societies. Debates such as Free Will vs Determinism, where we either make conscious choices, which affect the way we act or behaviour is determined by forces beyond our control. Studying these debates strengthened my ability to analyse and evaluate concepts.
To gain a better understanding of hazard management and aid, I attended a lecture by Mark-Giffard Lindsey, the co-founder of Global Action. He addressed the issues Nepal was facing during the 2015 Earthquake and it was the incredible work he has achieved for the communities affected to adapt that hooked me to international aid and development. Attending the Anthropology and Development Studies Summer School at SOAS gave me an insight into what development studies involves. A key idea that sparked my interest was policy response from development stakeholders such as governments and NGOs. This intrigued me as it’s the foundation of dealing with the challenges facing the world today.
In collaboration with the Geography Department, we created The Green Team; an after-school club targeted towards younger students who are dedicated to reducing the amount of plastic waste in the world. Our end goal was to design a range of reusable water bottles and distribute them amongst other students to reduce the environmental footprint of our school. This experience strengthened my leadership skills as I was faced with organising activities and taking responsibility for 15-18 students. I also worked part-time in the hospitality industry, which was a great experience in balancing work life with school life and has shaped me into an organised and prepared individual.
In the future, I want to use my degree to enter the field of International Development and Assistance and gain a real understanding of how developing countries deal with humanitarian disasters. With my strong will and determination, I want to contribute with new and innovative aid policies to effectively modify the loss and vulnerability of these countries.

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