International Relations and History Personal Statement Example

One of my favorite places on earth is the Field Museum in Chicago. I’ve gone there every summer since I was a little kid. Even though the change in exhibits is limited, I’ve always been fascinated by the numerous exhibits on natural and human history exposed there.

One exhibit that particularly marked me was a reconstruction of a Pawnee Indian lodge: the exhibit showed where the people would gather together, and make decisions regarding their future.

Seeing this exhibit more recently, I found myself wondering how the global decisions of today are made, and how different (or, perhaps, how similar) they are to those made by the generations before ours. Returning to this exhibit helped me understand that I’d be interested in pursuing an education in my main areas of interest: history and international relations.

An activity that served to cement my interest in IR was my membership of my high school’s MUN club for four years. This club allowed me to become familiar with some of the topics and lingo of current global affairs, allowed me to practice both my speaking skills (which I also honed as part of a Toastmasters youth club for two years) and my leadership skills (by leading and moderating debates, and by helping organise and run a MUN conference at my school).

As part of this group, I was also able to attend several international conferences (one of which was held at the UN headquarters), which allowed me to share ideas and dialogue with politically interested youth from across the globe.

My interest in IR was also confirmed by my experience volunteering at the 2019 One Young World summit. Through this experience, I was able to sit in on speeches given by major actors of our globalised world (including economist Mohammed Yunus and Amnesty International leader Kumi Naidoo) and interact with volunteers from all over the world. This experience heightened my interest in being more knowledgeable and involved in global affairs.

History has always been a subject that has been of particular interest to me. I’ve been fascinated by books on the subject (like Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens” and Paul Morland’s “Human Tide”), I have had the privilege of visiting such fascinating historical sites as the Somme battlefields, the D-Day beaches, the World Trade Center, and the Auschwitz and Terezin concentration camps as part of school trips, and I’ve held a profound interest in history and related subjects (anthropology, theology...) for the past few years.

I am currently undertaking a gap year. I chose to take a gap year between the end of my high school education and starting my time in university for several reasons. Firstly, I wanted to be certain of the education path I’d be embarking on, due to my various areas of interests: I am for example fascinated by zoology and animal behavior, and was seriously considering it as the topic of my further studies for several years (even attending the 2019 Animal Behavior Society conference in Chicago).

I also chose to take a year off before college to try and gain some experience volunteering: I’ve been volunteering at the front desk of an English-language library since the summer, I recently started volunteering with the “Serve the City” refugee aid organization, and I’ll be doing some volunteer work abroad in the early months of 2020, namely with a refugee aid organization in Rome.

I hope to be able to study in the UK because of my bicultural upbringing (I’m half French and half American, and am generally more comfortable in English), and because I want to live and study in an English speaking country.

I feel that my high school education in the American OIB section of the French lycée, my interest and high marks in relevant school subjects (English and History in particular) and my experience in taking proactive roles in school projects (such as essentially completing my TPE project singlehandedly and being a part of my school’s first ever yearbook team) would qualify me for a place in your program.

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Author's Comments

Don't know how to present this right, but I got accepted into Royal Holloway (IR, Politics, and History), Queen Mary (IR), Sussex (IR and History), Essex (IR), and Reading (IR and History).


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