BA Korean Studies Personal Statement
Submitted by Emma
The way we communicate as a population has always fascinated me. Despite language and cultural barriers, we continue to stay connected through current affairs and ever-evolving social media. Throughout my life, I have devoted countless hours to studying languages and cultures that differ from my own, in order to better my knowledge of the world and learn how ones upbringing has such a colossal impact on the diversity of humanity. This is the root from which grew my love for both Korean and International Relations.
Through sharing my passion with friends and personal interest through social media, what began as a simple interest in culture around the world soon developed into a strong desire to learn more, and I quickly realised that I wanted to immerse myself in this subject area. I have independently devoted myself to becoming fluent in Hangul and Kana, the writing systems of Korea and Japan, which has deepened my knowledge of these cultures and demonstrates my commitment to learning. International relations has been an interest of mine both within and outside of school. Having been a member of my school's Pupil Council for six years, I have worked with students from each year group to ensure the school is a positive environment, committed to self-improvement. This, alongside public speaking at school events, has built on my existing confidence and motivation to exceed the expectations set for me. I have been entrusted with additional responsibilities in school, such as being a prefect alongside my existing commitments within the Pupil Council and Voices of Change, a focused group of 14 pupils who work tirelessly to turn ideas from the Pupil Council into reality.
Achieving the Duke of Edinburgh Award (Bronze) has given me extensive leadership experience, working in schools for my volunteering and skills sections, and has given me the invaluable opportunity to participate in team building expeditions. Last year, I independently created, and now lead a Politics Club for students passionate about political and current affairs. Organising and chairing discussions and debates, while listening to varying views and opinions, has developed my leadership, teamwork and management skills, and taught me how to tackle problems logically. The club has expanded to now include members based in California, Michigan, New York, and Seoul, who join debates via Skype and bringing personal experience and insight to our discussions on culture, current affairs and international relations. Such discussions have broadened my knowledge and understanding of the world due to having such varied sources of information.
My interest in languages has stemmed from travelling around the world. I have attended and spoken at business conferences in Amsterdam and Stockholm, and have had the opportunity to meet many influential and interesting people by doing so. While at conferences in Stockholm, I became intrigued by the writing system, becoming fluent in the span of a few days, and deciding that I also wanted to learn the Russian writing system before travelling there.
This was the beginning of my exploration of writing systems around the world. From 2014, I have become fluent in the writing systems of Russia, Sweden, The Netherlands, Greece, most of Japan, and finally Korea. I am currently also studying the Thai writing system, as this is arguably one of the most difficult writing systems in the world. Through studying writing systems and travelling I have discovered my love for culture and variety in the world, and I believe that learning the language and having the opportunity to experience the country and its culture first-hand would make me have a discernible advantage in the world of work as a translator or as a teacher. I hope I have demonstrated that I am enthusiastic and hard-working student who is passionate about Korean and international relations, and would enjoy contributing to all aspects of university life.