AMY THOMPSON University of Cape Town Faculty of Humanities Undergraduate First Year Bachelor of Social Science Majors
University of Cape Town
Faculty of Humanities
Undergraduate First Year Bachelor of Social Science
Majors: Psychology and Organisational Psychology
To whom it may concern,
I am writing this letter to express my deep interest in participating in the 2019 second semester Student Exchange Programme. One of my main goals for my life as a student is studying abroad. I find it clear that this international semester abroad programme of academic mobility would give me a unique opportunity to achieve this goal.
Gaining experience in the area of psychology on an international and global scale would mean a great deal for my professional aspirations. I could develop transferable skills to use in different environments, become more of a critical thinker from experiencing a foreign educational system, improve my communication skills in teamwork settings, and become more of a systematic thinker through interacting in varying cultural fields. This international student experience would consciously and subconsciously help teach and solidify these skills to the extent that they would involuntarily become a part of me and complete my professional profile.
Being exposed to other cultures and developing my university degree in a foreign country would aid in the development of these qualities to give me access to more professional opportunities in the working world. This exchange would advance and expand my global citizenship in becoming an individual who accepts the opinions of others, understands different ways of achieving similar goals, and could give me the ability to explain a world that is becoming more complex and faster moving.
One of the reasons for taking psychology as a major was my fascination for different cultures and meeting people with different perspectives, hence, my love of travel. Cross-cultural issues within psychology that we can discuss in an introductory classroom is quite interesting, demanding some critical thought. However, when you immerse yourself in another culture and see those differences in behaviours up close, the way that people interpret situations and, of course, how many commonalities exist across the world, analysis and understanding of the human mind and behaviour becomes a natural talent.
Another interest that I hold in high regard in my academic career is that of people-management, hence my second major being Organisational Psychology. Where, hopefully, I can both use and transfer skills developed for my professional profile to those needing assistance in a workplace environment. Emotional Intelligence is a skill I have been developing not only through past high school exchanges, but through my experiences with people, communicating and collaborating on projects and general interactions. Having social and self-awareness and the ability to manage myself and my relationships has greatly added to the way I live my life and my intercommunication with those I surround myself with. I strongly believe that I could have a professional advantage in the workplace when analyzing and characterizing individuals if I gain a stronger and broader understanding of all the complex individuals that exist in our global community.
As well as gaining personal experiences and developing a richer character, I aim to bridge the gap between a foreign university and the UCT Enactus programmes to exchange ideas and motivation in hopes of building a rapport to make a global difference. Once a year, the most innovative and influential projects around the globe are put on display at the Enactus World Cup. While one of the main aspects of this event is competition, perhaps two universities could be the first to present collaboration, not with global business leaders alone, but with competing universities, on sustainable change as a new and potentially prosperous aspect. The strong alliances of global universities could plausibly be what pushes young entrepreneurs to fast track the achievement of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Whenever I see the word ‘exchange’ I immediately think ‘change’ because that is exactly what happens. Through receiving an education at an international school I was able to partake in two international exchanges that completely altered my way of life and improved my ways of interacting and working. All of these opportunities have made me more independent, resilient, responsible, and have helped me to live life to the fullest. Once I left my country and embarked on my international exchanges, I saw the immense pride that all cultures and nations felt for their homes. This made me realise the importance of opening my eyes and taking my South African centric view that was so innately a part of who I was and incorporating the ideas and values of these different cultures in order to truly gain an enriched global perspective. I would be honoured to participate in this semester abroad in hopes of sharing my bicultural experience as a global citizen with as many people as I can.
Instead of viewing exchanges as fun vacation getaways or high speed learning opportunities, I see them as the most natural thing a young person can do. They nourish those who are hungry for living, who are curious and want to get out of their comfort zone. I don’t simply want to grow at my university, but flourish as a global citizen. Viewing varied values, manners, environments and cultures has, as I have experienced it, aided in completing me as a person and a global citizen. Not only could I transfer my South African culture to foreign education settings to share my heritage and multicultural experiences, but this opportunity could help me in building a more solidified cultural and ethical community for my nation in as many ways as I can. Although we are in a post-apartheid era, there are still evident divisions of culture and race that I see on campus every day and, through an international exchange; I aim to start closing this cultural and racial gap.
Thank you in advance for this opportunity and for considering my application. I strongly believe that I, as well as a foreign university, will benefit from my engagement in this programme. Given my skills and experience, I know that I will thrive from activities anticipated by a foreign university as well as adjust to their courses and facilities.