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Fellowship International Relations, Chinese HK

November 2, 2015

The worth of a subject, among most of the people I know, is measured only in terms of its income-creating potential. My choice of History was met with incredulity, among relatives and friends who could see no way of capitalizing on knowledge of the past. Bright students are expected to study such subjects as business, medicine or the law; they are definitely not expected to study something as apparently useless as History. Consequently my choice was made only after much thought and some obstruction and so demonstrates, I believe, a genuine passion for History grounded in my identity as a young Chinese from Hong Kong.

 My love of history fired a deep interest in politics and in international relations, especially China’s relationships with the rest of the world. Perhaps a Hong Kong Chinese is more attuned to the nuances of the behavior of the Chinese government than many of those who, whether they know it or not, will become more and more affected by its policies and attitudes in the future. As the window of China, Hong Kong’s people have a potentially vital role in helping our compatriots in mainland China to understand other societies and vice versa and in seeking roles that will benignly influence China’s stance in its external relations. I am eager to become involved in research relating to the dynamic nature of contemporary Sino-US relations and the implications of intra-party political struggles to the direction of diplomatic policy.

My long term goal is to become involved in the administration of Hong Kong at a senior level; and perhaps teaching International Relations in major universities as a visiting lecturer. I am especially intrigued with Sino-US relations and the comparative study of the unification processes of Taiwan and Hong Kong. Yet, the materialization of “One China” has many challenges ahead and I wish to prepare myself academically at the University of XXXX because I regard it as the world’s premier institution for the study of international relations. In addition, I hope very much to have the honor of having Professor XXXX—a renowned Sino-US relations expert in the Department of International Relations at the University of XXXX to be my MPhil thesis advisor as my research interests coincide with her area of expertise.

I have been educated in the medium of English throughout my academic career. Almost every course that I took at CUHK was conducted in English and I feel that I am fully prepared, as well as hungry for a complete immersion experience. In order to prepare myself for postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford, I selected courses designated for postgraduate students pursuing the M.A in Comparative Public History at CUHK. I also studied Sociology, Government and Public Administration and was awarded an ‘A’ grade in each, graduating in the top 5% of students. Studying vigorously in several distinct but related disciplines has enriched my understanding and critical edge, helping me to better understand complex issues from a variety of different perspectives.

I was a member of the Social Service Club organized by my secondary school; we visited the elderly and organized activities for them.  I also served as Head Librarian at my secondary school where I led a team of librarians in restructuring the previous system to one which could be more user-friendly. I learned the basics of librarianship and this has been of great value, especially for my research, using primary as well as secondary sources.

After entering the university, I was invited to return to my secondary school to assist as a teacher, helping first year students with their homework and revision. I also counseled students who had anxieties about personal or academic problems. The fact that I had so recently shared many similar and very challenging emotions helped me to be both empathetic and highly effective.

In order to prepare myself for postgraduate studies at the University of XXXX, I chose relevant courses designated for postgraduate students pursuing the M.A in Comparative Public History at CUHK. I also took available courses in Sociology, Government and Public Administration and was awarded ‘A’ grade in each, in the top 5% of students. My explorations into various academic disciplines has enriched my knowledge and inspired me to think from a variety of different perspectives. I feel that my academic success serves to demonstrate my ability to excel at XXXX in the interdisciplinary study of international relations.

I cannot claim to be widely traveled but I am very interested in non-Chinese as well as Chinese cultures. I very much look forward to being exposed to British culture and in studying and socializing with people from a wide variety of cultural and social backgrounds. In 2008, I participated in an exchange program run by the National Education Services Center of Hong Kong and had the privilege to study in Pearl River Delta, exploring economic interaction between Hong Kong and that part of mainland China. The drastic changes taking place in the region make me proud to be from Hong Kong and, therefore, sharing in the contributions being made by Honk Kong to Chinese identity and development.

I am thrilled to see China jumping out from the black hole of incessant class struggle and becoming one of the world’s central players in our global economy.  I have learned that anyone and everyone can be the source of interesting and useful information. For instance, the waiter or taxi driver who boasts about his brother’s growing trucking business and provides details of the change in the kind of goods he transports for export can provide information that is more useful and current than a 6 month old official report on local economic conditions.

I am aware that there will be many other very well qualified applicants to your scholarship program. I do consider myself to be an exceptional candidate, however, because of my maturity for my age and my clear, long term goals concerning how I plan to apply the knowledge and skills that I hope to acquire at XXXX. I have an excellent academic record, a solid grounding in history, modern politics, sociology, government and public administration especially well-suited to the interdisciplinary study of International Relations with a special focus on Chinese issues and the way that our globalizing economy continues to serve as a motor for increasing levels of collaboration between most of its major players, most notably, at least from my perspective, China and the United States. Thank you for considering my application.

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