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International Relations Personal Statement

Bolivia is the poorest country in South America and since gaining its independence in 1825,has always been a place of political and military unrest, with huge social and economicdivisions between its Spanish descendants and indigenous people. It remains a country whichrelatively little is known about, despite the rich culture and breathtaking geography.
Because of this, and a curiosity to discover for myself new places, people and ideas, I travelled to Bolivia to live and work there for 7 months, a venture organized entirely by myself. From March until October 2007, I lived in the de facto capital, La Paz. Having gained a TEFL certificate prior to my departure, I worked in a Quaker school on the altiplano, a high, barren plateau, taking classes of around 20 students on my own, to whom I taught English and art. Although I had no prior knowledge of Spanish, my immersion in the country meant I learnt quickly. I also managed to travel to Argentina and Peru, and around Bolivia itself.
I have always had an awareness of current events and followed the news, but it was whilst in Bolivia that I became interested in Latin American politics. It is a country with a highly charged political atmosphere; where blockades and marches occur daily, and lethargy regarding the government does not exist. With Lupita, the bolivian with whom I lived, I would discuss the corrupt administrations which often rise to power in South America, and issues that the world faces as a whole. During this time, I kept a blog for my family and friends and found that I really enjoyed describing and discussing the different aspects of the country, be it social, historical, even geological.
Back as far as I can remember, I have relished employing and understanding syntactic and lexical techniques to effectively convey a message. I enjoy writing informatively, and the element of research that it requires to achieve a concise and factual report. The TEFL course that I undertook to teach English abroad strengthened my grammatical knowledge, putting names to techniques and tenses which I know instinctively. My language skills are something which I wish to hone and use in my future career.
Hailing from a Quaker background, I have been brought up with the anti-conflict ethics and a belief in community and diplomacy typical of Quakerism. In 2003, when troops entered Iraq, I was an active participant in the Stop the War campaign. I have an interest in the potential of international organizations, such as the UN and the EU, and treaties such as the Geneva Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, and in strengthening the international community to prevent conflict, benefit the poorest nations and work collectively on world-wide issues.
I worked towards the Duke of Edinburgh Award, and also in a nursing home and at a summerschool for Children with Learning Disabilities. I read widely, from literature to world history and philosophy and enjoy debating as a means of analysis. Travelling, and seeing the world for myself is another passion.
Despite leaving college after my AS levels and working full time since, I attended evening classes where I completed 2 A levels. I am now doing AS Spanish at night with the intention of continuing to A2. I have an A-level in German and intend to take up further languages when possible.
I plan to return to South America in summer 2008, to visit friends and travel further. My experiences in Bolivia have confirmed my desire to learn more about global politics and concerns and I feel that university will be an opportunity to do so, with the intention of pursuing a related career. For me, university will be a fantastic opportunity to enhance my understanding of the world and a step towards working in international journalism, which is ideally the career path that I wish to travel down.

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This personal statement was written by hanabananallama for application in 2007.

hanabananallama's Comments

This personal statement was used to apply to various international relations/politics courses but the course i ideally wish to do is a joint honours international relations and journalism degree, and i only found one university which offered this, so i have concentrated more on the international relaions side of things. It can be tricky writing personal statements when you are applying for different subjects. Luckily, mine are quite well related. though.

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