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International Relations Personal Statement

One of the biggest challenges society faces today is having countries cooperate with each other. Having attended an international school in Shanghai for 8 years, I am very lucky to be in a place where people get along regardless of nationality or background. Sadly, in an increasingly conflicted world, this is not the case everywhere. Friendlier relations between countries benefit the lives of millions of their citizens economically and socially. By studying International Relations, I hope to better understand the core issues that divide individuals, societies and nations, and find concrete solutions to resolve these differences.

I first became interested in International Relations through studying economics. I found it very satisfying to explain real-life situations using theory and diagrams, as though each problem were a puzzle to be solved. For my IB Extended Essay, I analysed the economic impacts of a visa policy aimed at reducing parallel trading in Hong Kong on various stakeholders. By designing my own surveys and interviewing others, I gained the research skills needed for similar academic work at university. I’ve understood since that economics isn’t just numbers and diagrams, but a study of human behavior. The economic way of thinking is down-to-earth, helps people understand the impact of their choices, and is effective in solving problems from the root. I am glad to have acquired these skills and hope to apply them in a wider field.

I was briefly introduced to the political side of IR in Theory of Knowledge, when I watched the TED Talk, “Don’t Ask Where I’m From, Ask Where I’m a Local”. It challenged my perception of a country as a fixed object, and as a Hong Kong citizen born after the handover, I found this very inspiring. The idea of how it could be part of the British Empire one moment and China the next has been very intriguing, and studying IR will satisfy my curiosity for learning more about the rules and governments that define other countries too.

Academics aside, I have participated in Model United Nations since Grade 9. I love lobbying and bantering with other delegates, and hate being the one who has nothing to say in conversations. MUN is a fun way for me to gain a better understanding of world issues and develop my own stance on it. By participating in MUN, I have improved my ability to speak and negotiate. I always associate MUN with fun memories, and am looking forward to more conferences at university.

Last summer, I represented my school at a Global Alliance for Innovative Learning convention in Scotland, where I met students from 8 schools across 5 continents. Through talking to peers from such diverse backgrounds, I was exposed to many different cultures, ideas, and perspectives. Growing up in an international environment, these experiences have taught me to be open-minded, to reserve judgment, and to appreciate the strengths of others – these are invaluable skills needed to be successful in the future.

Additionally, I am a member of my school’s swim team, and play the piano and drums. These hobbies help me relieve stress and keep a positive spirit, but have also taught me commitment and leadership – I plan to complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Gold level this summer.

Starting my education a year early has given me the confidence and motivation to keep pushing myself in school, and has shaped me into an independent student. The UK is a place of academic rigor, and I know I will thrive in this environment. In particular, I want to study in a vibrant and multicultural city like London, and expand my horizons further by taking advantage of the world-class opportunities offered there. A degree in International Relations will help me pursue my goal of learning a fourth language, and becoming a diplomat someday. I hope to bring my international perspective, intellectual curiosity and lively personality to my university, where I prepare myself for the future.

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I'm quite proud of this to be honest. I hope uploading my PS here will help others who are also going through the incredibly stressful university applications season!

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