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History and International Relations personal statement

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  • Published: 21st October 2021
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  • History and International Relations personal statement
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My appetite for History and International Relations has flourished over the past four years. As society continues to evolve, and as globalisation takes centre stage, the applied  discipline of the historian offers us a rich resource from which to draw lessons. There is little that mankind has not already experienced and from which we can learn. Tim Marshall’s ‘Prisoners of Geography’ and ‘Worth Dying For’ have informed my perspective on current international politics and the motives behind some of the challenging developments we see on the current world stage, such as the conflicts in Libya and Syria, fuelled by the influence of terrorist organisations and weak democracies. Such hotspots fall into the category of ‘wicked problems’; those that have no straightforward resolution.

Combined, I think the practice of International Relations and the wisdom of history bring to light the challenges and opportunities of globalisation. For example, after studying Imperial Russia I understood how past events influence current global politics. In 1762 Catherine the Great annexed Crimea. Two hundred and fifty-two years on, Putin annexed Crimea. Their motives had much in common across a span of two and a half centuries. My interest in Russia brought me to ‘The Romanovs; 1613 – 1917’ by Simon Sebag Montefiore. This inspired me to evaluate, for my  EPQ, whether Catherine the Great deserves her title. Researching this has refined my source-analysis, essay-writing and ability to think critically; skills required to be an effective and academically independent historian.

In addition to my interest in Imperial Russia, I have enjoyed a range of FutureLearn courses  including Empire, Cooperation in the Contemporary World and Why the European Union? These, delivered by a range of universities, have given me the opportunity to engage in areas of History and International Relations not covered by the school curriculum. Interaction with participants and tutors, along with my commitment to these courses, proves me to be an enthusiastic learner.

As school History Club Captain I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm for history. I have been able to examine the degree to which historical events are sensationalised in books, films and television and the impact this has on an audience’s historical understanding.

My role as International Prefect helped hone my public speaking skills, as I delivered whole school assemblies and took a leading role in our annual International Cultural Fair. Participating in a Japanese exchange in February allowed me to immerse myself in another culture and share my own. I also gained an insight into issues facing Japan, such as the influence of the monarchy. Independent trips to Poland and Croatia have further extended my understanding of the way in which the past is reflected upon in other countries and the effect this has on decision-making and diplomacy today.

My self-confidence has developed through 14 years in Performing Arts and I am working towards my Diploma in Musical Theatre, having achieved my Grade 8 exam. Last summer I also had the joy and privilege of a week ‘Exploring Shakespeare’ at RADA. I enjoy weekly work experience at the Hazlitt Youth Theatre leading drama workshops for children. This has developed my patience and understanding for the unbounded, but sometimes unfocused, enthusiasm of younger people!

Furthermore, as Head Girl I am a role model for younger students, displaying professionalism and perseverance at all times. Through the competitive selection process, I proved myself to be an organised, dedicated and enthusiastic ambassador for my school and my leadership     qualities are evident as I manage a team of Senior Prefects throughout the school year.

As a student of history and politics, I believe you will find me to be an exceptional  candidate, prepared to take on the opportunities of university study – with a smile.

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