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History Personal Statement

Sample History Personal Statement

We are not makers of history. We are made by history. – Martin Luther King

Since the first stories etched in hieroglyphs and drawings, we have sought to understand and preserve our past to inform our future. I have always been fascinated by ancient Egypt: visits to the Valley of the Kings and Luxor impressed upon me its majesty, and I have become fascinated by the wealth of historiography and knowledge surrounding this lost civilisation. Indeed, the first Egyptologists were the ancient Egyptians themselves: it was their restoration of the Sphinx that inspired us to make archaeological discoveries millennia later; proving that preservation of the past is an instinct which underpins humanity. It is my ambition to become an archaeologist or historian, in order to contribute to our understanding of ourselves through our origins, and a degree will be my first step to achieving this goal.

I have always had a love of language, having gained skills in Arabic, Gujarati and Urdu, and I find that delving into other cultures through communication provides unrivalled insights. It is this thirst for knowledge of the world which has inspired me most to pursue the study of the past as a career and my A-Level studies have only deepened this desire. I found grappling with the causes of events such as the Tudor Reformation fascinating; the driving forces of religion, politics and expansion defined the making of the modern world and in studying the religious upheaval of the later Tudor period, I was intrigued by the culture of espionage which surrounded the monarchy, as well as the relationship between England and Spain which helped shape both domestic and foreign policy. It was this turbulent period which gave birth to the Civil War and thereby arguably the formation of parliamentary democracy, and in understanding this pre-modern period I have found an illuminating context for the society in which we live today. This interest was also fed by my study of human Geography: in studying the regeneration of the London Docklands through surveying locals I gained perspective on the past and present ethos of the area, which exemplified the power of historical research. I honed my research skills further on a Geography field trip to Liverpool, where as part of a coastal erosion study I gathered data and attended a tour of the city to examine its development. I attended the SOAS Asia Conference in 2010 to learn more about the role of global conflicts and enjoyed comparing the modern issues facing the Middle East with its rich past, from the gradual deconstruction of Empire to the developing idea of Arab nationalism. I also enjoy visiting the British Museum, particularly the recent Book of the Dead exhibition for its use of digital technology to interpret ancient scrolls.

I have always sought experiences which enhance my teamwork and leadership skills, and have found mentoring year 7 students over the past year extremely rewarding. Through aiding the teachers and helping the younger students, I set an academic and personal example and felt a great sense of pride in giving back to the school community. Alongside my studies I worked at WH Smith and enjoyed communicating daily with different people. I also have a keen interest in business, and took part in the Business Enterprise Day, where my team invented an eco-friendly car engine, as well as the Young Enterprise Scheme which introduced me to financial management and organisation.

The power structures of every great movement, from the ancient Egyptians to the Jacobins of 1789, were forged and moved by their times, and the chance to understand the modern world through the distant past would be extraordinary for me. I am confident that my thirst for knowledge, and sincere passion for the richly diverse peoples of our world, will equip me to make a valuable contribution to our global dialectic in future.

We hope this sample History personal statement has been useful.