Politics & International Relations Personal Statement
My perception of Politics changed when I read the Communist Manifesto. I began to see the world as not a collection of states but a universal society divided by relative beliefs. Humanitarian initiatives, such as Amnesty International, became a large part of my life, and my passion developed from there.
I took a strong extra curricular interest in politics at A-Level, attending debates by political figures such as Tony Benn and Peter Tatchell, reading the works of those such as Chomsky and Machiavelli, giving me two sides of the normative and positivist coin, and participating in protests such as the anti-war march of 2003.
Following A-Levels, my teacher led me to International Relations by Lawson, which drove my interest further, especially the historical aspect.
My interest in history also encompasses international history, such as Lenin and the Russian Revolution and Martin Luther's reform of the church, both of which I find tactically intriguing. I prefer to engage with a problem having an historical awareness of the arguments as, for example, in the Arab-Israeli conflict, a topic I have recently researched.
I wish to use your course not only to provide a basis for a career within international politics but also to immerse myself in the subject for its own sake.
During my school career I sought to experience as wide a variety of subjects as I could. Studying Economics taught me to approach an issue with reasoned argument, and to be cautious when making complex decisions. Certainly the opportunity of investigating Philosophy added to this.
I soon found out that it is near impossible to be single-minded and make sweeping judgements in a philosophical discussion! The study of Film allowed me to pursue another passion from an academic perspective.
This academic diversity has, I hope, led to the open-mindedness that I feel is vital to learning, and was rewarded with a prize for academic achievement from my school. I found another pursuit in my school debating team, where I took opposing positions on such issues as the problems with charity and fair vs. free trade.
I wrote for, and occasionally edited, the school's politics magazine, which allowed me to gauge my peers opinions, helping me to extrapolate my own. I was a school prefect, frequently guiding prospective parents around the grounds, and took an active role in the School Council.
Taking a gap year has enabled me to approach my future university career with more dedication and maturity than was possible even a year ago.
The experience of managing my own finances and planning my travelling is teaching me the blessing and curse of independence. I am currently teaching English as a Foreign Language to German students to finance my travel, and participate in the students extracurricular activities, such as leading guided tours of London.
This has increased my confidence, public-speaking and team-work abilities. I am using my gap year travel to further my interest in the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, and am currently planning my itinerary to follow the path of some of the most important events in the struggle. I am currently scheduled to have work experience at Oxfam while at home, as well as to meet ambassadorial personnel while in the USA.
I enjoy a wide variety of activities outside of my academic life. With a family firmly based within the arts, opera, theatre and music have always been part of my life, both as a participant and an audience member. I have recently developed an interest in modern Islamic art, such as that of Reza Abedini, who transforms Arabic political issues into bold images.
I am a highly motivated student who knows how to balance social and professional commitments, skills which I believe are essential for university life, a challenge for which I know I am ready.
This personal statement was written by JP for application in 2008.
Uni's applied for (Submitted 25th October 2007):-
Manchester (Unconditional - 30th October),
Warwick (Withdrawn Application),
Leeds (Unconditional - 10 November),
SOAS (Withdrawn Application - Unconditional - 7 December).
I withdrew my applications from Warwick and Soas because I have no intention of taking them now I'm into Manchester, and to see if I get into LSE is pure pride.