Politics and International Relations
Spending a weekend in Belarus, Europe's last dictatorship; seeing the consequences of a socialist regime in Cuba; visiting the disputed territory in Palestine and Israel and hearing out opinions from each of the opposing sides; following the Arab Spring in the international press were the experiences which awaked my interest and introduced me to the world of global politics.
Reading books, particularly The New Middle East by Paul Danahar describing the Arab Spring beyond headlines and Tim Marshall's Prisoners of Geography explaining how geography affects the choices of world leaders as well as following the Guardian, Al Jazeera, and the BBC considerably extended my general knowledge and broadened my understanding of the complexity of international politics. Furthermore, I learnt how to do my own research on a particular topic.
Regarding my studies, I took extended classes in History, English, Maths, and Social Studies. History helped me to understand past events - why they occurred and what their consequences for a contemporary society are- as I consider historical awareness a crucial part of political debates. My history teacher is an inspiration to me, as she taught me how to see conflicts from both sides and encouraged me to always present my opinion. Thanks to social studies, I managed to learn the basics of law, government, and philosophy. Moreover, I visited the Slovak National Parliament where I had an opportunity to attend political discussions. I am also interested in studying foreign languages; currently, I am studying French at French Institute, where I am finishing the A2 level.
My first diplomatic experience was at the Bratislava Model United Nations with a significant international attendance. Representing Pakistan in the Security Council where the crisis of Korean Peninsula was discussed. I had to study the general standpoint of Pakistan as part of my preparation for the debates. Concluding what its representatives would have done in a similarly conducted debate helped me to learn how to present country's interests in the best way, as well as to negotiate successfully. During BraDraShip, which is a partnership programme with the Norwegian Upper Secondary School of St. Hallvard, I was a part of the organizing
committee. Giving the welcome presentation about my school and a school system in Slovakia, I felt very comfortable as a speaker and a discussion leader. The programme not only increased my confidence in speaking publicly but also improved my presentation skills. Being a part of a national fencing team enabled me to travel all around Europe, as well as to some parts of Asia, the USA, and Cuba where I could see disparate regimes and diverse cultures. Competing in Belarus was different from the others. Despite everything being perfect on the outside, I got frightened after being told not to mention the president in a negative
way as there is still secret police keeping an eye on everyone, thus eliminating all possible threats to the president. Although I had read a lot about how similar regimes work, this was the first time I had a chance to experience one, giving me unique experience and insight of how other regimes work compared with the one I live in. As a Slovak national champion, I have competed in numerous World Cups, European, World and U23 Fencing Championships. Apart from athleticism, I was taught tranquillity, calmness and fairness. I am also an international fencing referee, currently holding the second highest achievable refereeing licence.
Studying international relations will broaden my knowledge about the background of international politics, as it combines logical thinking, languages, history and geography. I would like to represent my country's interests on an international level. Studying in the UK will undoubtedly show me the right direction towards achieving my dreams. In return, I will hopefully contribute to the diverse and stimulating student body.
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