Human, Social & Political Sciences Personal Statement
During my trip to China in 2006, I discovered a society vastly different from the one I was growing up in. While exploring the outskirts of Shanghai, my family and I were astonished by the levels of poverty and scarcity – I vividly remember watching someone clean a whole chicken in the same river I had just seen another person urinate into.
Travelling back to the wealthy neighborhood of the family we were visiting, I asked my mother about what I had just seen. I wanted to know why those people would not just move to a wealthier area – why not get a job and earn some more money?
Later in life, I have begun to suspect that this exposure to poverty and hardship was what first sparked my interest in the study of society and politics. Though I was too young to understand the complete answer to my question, it was made clear to me that it had something to do with the leadership of the country.
Following this incident, my eagerness to learn more about the world around me has only intensified. In school, I chose to enroll in subjects that allowed me to dive deeper into the areas of social and political sciences. Focusing heavily on international politics and the construction of different societies and forms of government, these courses warranted a sociological approach as well as a political one.
The souring relationship between Russia and the US, and the challenges related to the tribal construction of Afghan society were particularly interesting to me. I have also tried to satisfy my curiosity through extra-curricular activities, combining my interest in this field with a part time job, sporting activities and an active social life.
Constantly studying in my own time, discussing with friends and family, attending voluntary lectures and reading relevant books and articles, social and political sciences have been a major part of my life for many years.
The first book I read on the topic of society in my own time was “World Order” by Henry Kissinger. In it, he discusses the history of international relations, while also touching on how different countries and societies have developed their distinct characters.
This helped me understand the origins of our current international political climate, and revealed the driving forces behind its evolution. Later, when first considering higher education within the field of politics and society, I read Bernard Cricks “Democracy: A Very Short Introduction”, discussing the origins and evolution of democracy, and how the term has come to have so many definitions.
This book offered a more comprehensive study of one of the most frequently discussed topics in school, and deepened my fascination with the history of democracy, both as a political system and as a set of values. Through the reading of several various books on topics relevant to my interests, I believe I have developed a strong foundation for further study.
I have also had the opportunity to experience democracy firsthand. As the elected representative of my class in the student council, I saw both the challenges and virtues of a political system that considers the opinions of all those affected by its decisions.
Though the council operates on a relatively small scale, it captures the essence of democratic leadership – it is committed to considering the views of all students, many with different religions, nationalities and values. As an engaged member, I partook in the democratic process and discovered how deeply interlinked the fields of politics and sociology truly are.
In the years following my visit to Shanghai, my eagerness to further understand how the world works has developed into a true passion. The opportunity to pursue this passion at an elite university, surrounded by driven and ambitious people, would be a dream come true.
A personal statement aimed particularly towards Cambridge - Human, Social, and Political Sciences. Feedback is appreciated. :)