Social Sciences Personal Statement
A trip to Mexico at age twelve sparked my interest in the social sciences. The level of poverty and governmental corruption jarred me whilst there, and thus my determination to understand why social injustice occurs and how to combat it formed. From this, a fascination with politics and society emerged.
As a result, I browsed through texts such as "Globalization and Human Rights" by Alison Brysk, read lectures like Amartya Sen's "Global Inequality and Human Security" and explored books introducing me to political philosophy, sociology and psychology - all of which helped me try to understand the root of world problems.
Brysk's book enabled me to discover the link between globalisation and human rights violations worldwide. I realised that while certain forms of globalisation have had positive effects on developing countries, there's still a strong discrepancy between its so-called "winners and losers".
Watching John Pilger's "War on Democracy" provided gripping evidence of this in Bolivia, where multinational corporations at one point managed to asset strip the country's water supply.
In addition, I found Sen's lecture particularly persuasive,and agreed with him that whilst globalisation has lessened poverty and not made "the poor any poorer", it's still unjust that the impoverished receive only a piece - and not the fair share of -the cumulative benefits of globalisation.
Furthermore, researching the works of political philosophers such as Machiavelli and reading books like "Affluenza" by Oliver James helped me explore the reasons why wealthy nations allow social injustice to take place and, at times,even indirectly encourage it.
Machiavelli's philosophy "the end justifies the means" reflects the attitude rich nations seem to have towards developing countries. "Affluenza" discusses the obsession with materialism in order to provide self-worth,paradoxically at the expense of one's mental health and well-being of others -this being seen in globalisation's effects on developing countries.
My passion for human rights and politics was further supplemented by my participation in humanitarian initiatives such as Amnesty International,as well as in my other extra-curricular activities.
In high school, I was the president and founder of an Amnesty International group.This experience taught me how NGOs work and helped me to understand globalisation's positive effects on third-world countries -NGOs like Amnesty being one of them.
In addition, inspired by a trip to Rwanda two years after its 1994 genocide,I led the group on a campaign to end the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. My interest in Darfur remains, and I'm currently reading "Darfur: A New History of a Long War" to better understand the conflict. Furthermore, we worked on campaigns to end violence against women - initiating my interest in feminism - and ending the use of torture in the War on Terror.
This specific campaign convinced me America shouldn't have entered Iraq as the reasons for doing so were both ambiguous and dubious.Watching Charles Ferguson's "No End in Sight",where those involved in the initial Iraqi occupation authority express disillusionment with the Bush administration, has strengthened this belief.
Finally, I debated for my high school's debate club and wrote for its nationally award-winning newspaper, writing pieces where the topics ranged from mental health issues to terrorism.I received a letter of commendation from a local newspaper reporter for the latter.
I enjoy a variety of activities in my spare time. I love to travel, as is evident from my transatlantic background, and have visited most of the continents.
I like learning languages,and am presently refreshing my Spanish skills in addition to teaching myself some basic Hindi. Literature is a particular passion of mine, having helped form my previous school's literary magazine.I am also interested in social psychology, and am currently researching the psychology behind consumerism.
This personal statement was written by Beluga123 for application in 2009.
I've been told it's good, but I don't really like it - I prefer the unedited, slightly longer version I couldn't paste into my UCAS form.
Universities applied to:
Cambridge: Social and Political Sciences - Jesus College (Interviewed, pooled and then rejected)
LSE: International Relations (Shortlisted - still waiting for a response)
SOAS: Politics and Development Studies (Offer made)
KCL: War Studies (still waiting for a response)
RHUL: Politics and International Relations (Offer made)