International Relations PSWatch
"For me, the decision to study International Relations is rooted in a fascination with the ways in which various, seemingly detached, issues and events in current affairs are subtly linked and related. A seemingly chaotic interplay of a vast multitude of actors, trends and issues are driving change in the contemporary world, and I feel that gaining a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of the international system will be interesting and valuable, enabling me insight ino the ways in which the world is changing, and the eventual outcome of these changes.
A single honours Politics degree would focus too much on the specifics of European, American, and domestic politics for my liking. Whilst I feel that this culturally-specific subject focus is not bad in itself, it is a limitation for someone like me, who wants to examine political concerns beyond the formal functioning of the nation-state. International Relations approaches the issues and structures of the contemporary world from a more appealing, interdisciplinary and holistic perspective.
Taking Government and Politics, Economics, History, and Philosophy for A-level is something that I feel has enabled me to foster a broader understanding of the workings of the human world. In many ways, I feel that studying for a degree in International Relations would be a natural progression from these studies, and would allow me to cultivate more specialised interests in a subject area that I am passionate about. Areas that I am especially interested in include globalisation, political and economic development and political philosophy. Political philosophy particularly interests me; having read Marx and Engels' text, 'The German Ideology', in some depth for AS Philosophy, I am now studying a full spectrum of ideological viewpoints in A2 Government and Politics.
In college, I am actively involved in both the Historical Thinking and Debating Societies, which in the past two years have tackled an eclectic mix of contentious topics. Also, I write for, and help to edit, the college magazine. I have taken part in History and Politics departmental trips to Russia and Ireland, which in addition to widening my horizons, have also helped in establishing an accessible introduction to the cultural contexts of two of my History modules. In addition, I spent one week of the Easter holiday on a highly enjoyable creative writing residential workshop in Devon with the college English department, in which I surprised myself by producing an abundance of actually quite good poetry.
In the last four years I have been involved in my local District Youth Council, representing the interests and views of young people in regular meetings with our District Council. Through this I have been involved in the filming of a video to promote a YMCA affordable housing project for disadvantaged young people in our local area. This included visiting Francis Maude, our local MP, at Westminster and interviewing him about the proposal, canvassing the general public for their opinions, and learning about the technical side of operating a video camera, using sound equipment, and editing. I found this very rewarding, as it gave me an insight into the workings of local government and charitable organisations.
I spent my last year at secondary school and the summer after my GCSE examinations working towards the Duke of Edinburgh Award at Silver level. This included twelve months of conservation work in some local managed woodland, a period singing in the school senior and chamber choirs, and a physically painful three-day hike through the New Forest in July 2003; one of the hottest weekends since records began.
I enjoy reading books on popular science, counter-factual history, philosophy and current affairs, as well as the more accessible works of the science fiction and fantasy genres. My favourite authors are Philip Pullman, Douglas Adams, and Terry Pratchett; three writers whose work, as well as being very engaging, tackles many deep and contentious issues. I also enjoy swimming regularly; something that I originally started as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Award, but with which I have since continued."