International Relations Personal Statement

My drive to study international relations was ignited by my discovery of the Western narrative that has shaped my view of the world. As a person of Indian heritage living in Scotland, I was largely unaware of the colonial effects of the British Empire, completely overlooking Britain’s involvement in issues such as the partition of India and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Grappling with the complexities of my British/Indian identity and seeing how such significant events in our history can be manipulated by certain narratives has fuelled my interest in understanding the global socio-political relations shaping our world today. My role as a Unicef Rights Respecting Ambassador has encouraged me to approach conflicts from a humanitarian viewpoint and with an International Relations degree I am determined to contribute to international human development. I relish the challenge of studying the subject at a university level and am eager to expand my knowledge in a demanding and invigorating environment.

I am already pursuing my interest in postcolonial theory through my Advanced Higher English dissertation, using Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” to explore divergent perspectives on the historical mistreatment of African people by the West. My work so far has given me a deeper insight into the impact of colonialism on former colonies and their subsequent global interactions in a post-colonial era. Studying Advanced Higher History has taught me to synthesise large amounts of information and analyse sources in order to formulate well-reasoned arguments – skills which I believe are vital for a future in international relations. 

I recently read Wilkinson’s “International Relations: A Very Short Introduction” and became intrigued by his argument concerning the true motivations behind US Intervention in the Middle East. I also find the parallels between British imperialism in India and the spread of neo-conservative American ideology in the Middle East especially profound. This has sparked questions I’d love to explore in greater depth, such as whether or not US Military intervention in the Middle East is a form of neo-imperialism. I am particularly interested in conflict and peace in this region as I wish to pursue diplomacy as a potential career in the future. My experiences of co-running our debate club and my three years of competing in Bar Mock Trials have developed my logical/rational thinking skills and ability to empathise with viewpoints that differ to my own; skills which are vital for a future in diplomacy. 

I further broadened my grasp of international relations during a two-week course I attended in Cambridge this summer on a scholarship. Prior to this I was already intrigued by the emergence of social constructivism in international relations, especially in regard to US Foreign Policy, and the course allowed me to passionately debate my views in tutorial style classes. I also applied my debating and public speaking skills during a Model UN Security Council simulation concerning conflict in the Persian Gulf, which encouraged me to challenge my perceptions of Iran in order to advocate for its political beliefs and motivations. I now enjoy following Iranian political relations through listening to ‘BBC Global News’ and ‘Pod Save the World’ podcasts. Moreover, through studying Higher Politics and Advanced Higher Modern Studies I have developed an understanding of the contemporary political and societal issues, as well as my ability to critically analyse political theory. 

Outside of my studies, my five years as an avid member on my school’s pupil council, combined with my current role as school captain has refined my organisational, team-work and negotiating skills, as well as honing my efficiency when taking an active role in school life, which I believe will allow me to be a successful university student.

For these reasons I look forward to developing my intellectual curiosity through the commitment of an International Relations degree.

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Author's Comments

I was accepted by the University of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh, University of Stirling and University of St Andrews (where I am going). I was rejected by the University of Cambridge.

The statement was for the course International Relations and the course HSPS (Human, Social and Political Sciences – Cambridge).

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