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History and Spanish Personal Statement Example

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  • Published: 23rd February 2022
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  • Word count: 853 words
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The study of History and Spanish perfectly complement each other. From Columbus’ discovery of the ‘new world’ to the events of the Spanish Civil War, the Spanish-speaking world has had a tremendous impact on world history. I have thoroughly enjoyed studying both subjects at A-level and have found that my language knowledge has enabled me to access a wider range of primary sources which I have been able to use to analyse various historical periods.  I  am excited at the prospect of continuing my studies at university.

The study of Spanish helps to provide a deeper insight into the culture and history of Spain and the Spanish-speaking world.  My flair for Spanish can be demonstrated by my exam results – achieving the highest AS & GCSE Spanish results in my school. Additionally, my desire to immerse myself in Spanish culture has led me to co-found a Spanish Society at school to discuss topical issues and film. I have a particular interest in Franco’s Spain, which was spurred by watching the film ‘El Laberinto del Fauno’. The brutal depiction of Franco’s supporters even after the Civil War led me to delve more into the era. Eager to find out about the impact of fascist ideology in Franco’s regime for my EPQ, I proposed to answer the question ‘How fascist was Franco’s Spain?’. The project has led me to determine the main features of fascism and to assess how prevalent these features were during Franco’s rule. Reading ‘La Sombra del Viento’ informed me about the period in a literary sense, with the citizens of Catalonia trying to live normally whilst the dark shadow of the regime still watched over them.  I have been lucky enough to visit Catalonia and the nationalist sentiment that I observed helped me to understand  Franco’s difficulty in attempting to unite Spain as one nation. My interest in the Spanish-speaking world also extends to Latin America – a region of diverse cultures and histories. The challenging novel ‘Lituma en los Andes’ situated in Peru paints a picture of a region embroiled between centuries old ideas and new political thinking in the form of the Communist offshoot Shining Path and I was later surprised to discover how popular the party became in the Andean countryside . I also enjoyed reading ‘Las venas abiertas de America Latina’ which presented many eye-opening ideas for the continent’s economic inferiority. A particular theory that the pillage of the continent’s resources has resulted in inter-city poverty made me question how different would Latin America’s position in the world be today if the ‘conquistadores’ had left the resources untouched. American history has particularly fascinated me due to the country’s growth from a new country to a world superpower in only 240 years.  In order to expand my knowledge outside the syllabus, I took the opportunity to read ‘A People’s History of the United States.’ Zinn’s focus on how historical events affected the American people rather than the elites gave me a new insight into the death and devastation that Christopher Columbus’ landing caused to the indigenous people and made me question why people still commemorate Columbus Day.  Later in the book, Zinn’s insistence that American intervention in the Arab world had mainly been executed to rid the American people of their post Vietnam anti-war sentiment, led me to read a fascinating book about the Arab world – a region that has interested me since watching the events of the Arab Spring unfold in 2011. “The Arabs A History” shed light upon a region which I had never studied before. The chapter on the French empire in Algeria was of particular interest as it highlighted the irony of the French advocating freedom of thought since their revolution but going to war to deny the Algerian people their desire for independence.

In addition to my academic studies, my extra-curricular activities have enabled me to develop skills which will benefit me both academically and socially. Working at my local Tourist Information Centre has greatly helped to improve my communication skills. When working at the Centre I communicate with people of many different nationalities and I have taken the initiative to translate leaflets about the local area into both German and Spanish. Many visitors also enquire about the history of the local area, which has led me to research  the origins of the Norman castle and the plight of the Pendle witches. As a member of the Talking Languages Together group, I volunteer to visit local primary schools to teach Spanish which I have thoroughly enjoyed. My role as Head Boy and Head of School Council demonstrates my responsibility and my motivation to make the Sixth Form the best that it can be – an attitude which I will also bring to university life.  To enhance my knowledge about Spanish culture, I chose to volunteer for a week at the Instituto Cervantes in Manchester. Speaking Spanish from the moment I walked into the building until my train ride home undoubtedly improved my Spanish and gave me a newfound appreciation for Spanish culture.


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