Bsc International Relations and History Personal Statement
Submitted by Sumrah
Politics and History both trickle down into every aspect of one's life and I think understanding ideology, government, society, and international relations through different perspectives and within both the past and the present is the key to having a more fulfilled outlook on the world around us and perhaps a more proactive approach to change and development whether at a local or an international level. Moreover, I spent 5 months working for Human Appeal, a global charity that aids countries experiencing humanitarian crisis; this experience was exceptionally valuable as it gave me a greater insight into the workings of international relations and the causes and consequences of war and conflict.
My interest in History and politics also thrived when I was accepted into the Pembroke North Humanities Programme, which consisted of a summer school to Oxford and 6 seminars. I was introduced to readings and had to write an essay on inner qur'anic chronology; this programme encapsulated the intense discussions and work load of a university student which whilst daunting was also immensely enjoyable and rewarding. Likewise, I attended a pre-university global politics course at Manchester University which was extremely enlightening and spurred on my interest to study international politics.
My love for politics really began to spark during the 2015 election with the rise of the milifandom and the involvement social media had on the election; and ever since it seems the political world has never been more alight- Brexit, the rise of Trump, the death of Castro, an unforeseen snap election. The return of the left has also kept me enthused in politics; I am one of the many young people who have been inspired by Corbyn and encouraged to become a member of Labour and get involved, which I did during the 2017 election as I spoke to members of the community as well as campaigned via social media. Additionally, journalists such as Owen Jones have enlightened me on issues such as the class divide and the elite, especially when reading his book 'Chavs'; with the tragedy of Grenfell tower and the worsening Refugee crisis these ideas have really resonated with me. However, after attending the 2017 Conservative Conference I am keen to explore opposing views of political and historic events to widen my knowledge on an academic level. To look back on our past has never been as integral as now, as nuclear threats, genocides, and racial violence unravel on our TV screens.
Studying history- particularly when it comes to the civil rights movement and causes of war and conflict- has always felt like it came with an extra sort of significance unlike other subjects. As if I owed it to the many amazing figures (Queen Victoria to Muhammed Ali to Coco Chanel) to have existed and contributed to the world and attitudes we know today. More recently- on the 70th anniversary of Pakistan's partition from India I watched a BBC documentary on the experiences of those involved and am keen to explore the History of Asia and the Middle East where both my culture and religion is rooted. Furthermore, I am intrigued by the relationship between the East and West and how it has evolved; colonisation and assimilation, trade and resources, religion and tradition.
My EPQ focuses on aspects of this as I am exploring how western beauty standards have affected women of colour, and how imperialism and a history of white supremacy has left a deep scar on our mindset as even our subconscious is wired to favour a Eurocentric outlook. This also extends to my interest in the modern-day relationship between nations, I tend to keep up to date on international politics through both BBC News and Al Jazeera and try to get a broader view on current world affairs, since to acknowledge differing viewpoints of events is crucial when studying History and Politics. Overall, I know my enthusiasm, drive, and appreciation of these subjects will be a valuable addition to your university.