Please give equal weighting to each point:
1) Focusing on your first choice of institution please explain your academic motivations for applying to go on a General Exchange
Applying for a year abroad has always been my intention; when first applying to University, one of my main considerations was whether year abroad options were available. For the past few years I have been set on applying for a place at a University in New Zealand, mainly due to its beautiful landscapes and endearing culture. More recently however, I have begun to look into the Universities on offer and am further encouraged by the outstanding reputation of New Zealand’s oldest University, Otago. I am encouraged by both the university as a whole and their Biomedical teaching and research facilities. Edinburgh is a pioneer of cutting edge research; I would love to gain an insight into the research and teaching of other leading institutions such as Otago. Otago mirrors Edinburgh’s teaching style, as much of it is laboratory based; this is something that many universities do not prioritise, but something I feel is crucial for my fourth-year research project. During our courses this year, we have only touched upon the different honours degree subjects available. Otago offers a broad selection of courses that mirrors those available at Edinburgh, and in addition offers more specialised courses, not offered at Edinburgh until fourth-year, such as Cancer Biology. Alongside excellent academic facilities, Otago has an active student union with an extensive range of societies and sports clubs, offering new opportunities I fully intend on getting involved with.
2) Please elaborate on the qualities you have which would make you a good representative for the University of Edinburgh citing examples from your extracurricular activities
In choosing to study at Edinburgh, the vast number of sports clubs available was a predominant factor in my choice. Joining Edinburgh University Kickboxing club saw me becoming a member of the team, competing for them at national level. The club was a fantastic way to meet new people and keep fit, sport is extremely important for me; I use it to de-stress, and as a way of maintaining a work/social balance. On arrival at Edinburgh, I wanted to make the most of every opportunity and try something completely new; I decided to join the Snow Sports Society, taking up freestyle skiing. Training two or three times a week allowed me to meet lots of new friends. I competed nationally, winning two golds at the British University Alpine Championships. The sport has pushed me, and continues to push me, both physically and mentally every day. I am the current Freestyle Captain for the Snow Sports Club, which involves organizing training, competition entries and team budget for one of the largest Snow Sports Club in the UK; with well over 1000 members. This has led me to make lots of new connections with clubs all over the country, and get an insight into how other universities run their clubs. I would love to have the opportunity to experience how Otago University Snow Sports runs, and gain an insight into positive changes that both our clubs could benefit from in the future. Freestyle skiing at university level is still a majority male dominated sport in the UK, in order to help change this I ran a Girls Freestyle taster session in collaboration with Snow Sports Scotland. I would be interested to see if this is similar at Otago and if a session like that could help benefit their club in the same way. Alongside the sporting side of the club, we have made a huge push this year in raising money for our partner charities, Disabiliy Snowsports UK and Snow-Camp. I would love to take the experience I have gained this year in running events such as film screenings, and Disability Snowsports taster day, to help in setting up similar events at Otago for local charities.
3) Please explain how this opportunity would benefit you from a personal perspective
The aspect I love most about Edinburgh, is its location; a vibrant capital city, in such close proximity to beautiful countryside, the Scottish mountains and beaches- all be it pretty cold and windy. I see a similarity in New Zealand, famous for its varied landscapes within easy reach of one another. Otago lies east of the Southern Alps, and the university itself lies only a few hours’ drive from Queenstown and one of the largest ski areas in New Zealand. I have never had the opportunity to ski outside of the French Alps before and would love to experience skiing and all of the other sports New Zealand has to offer. The year before last I took a year out in order to decide what course suited me best, alongside this I had to work and save money in order to supplement my current living expenses. One of my biggest regrets is that I was unable to travel through that year. Being able to travel to, and live in New Zealand would be an incredible way to meet new people and experience a culture on the other side of the world. It may also open up possibilities for living abroad after I graduate, which is something I am extremely keen on exploring further. Studying at Edinburgh has so far opened up lots of new exciting possibilities for me both academically and socially. I feel a year abroad would only further develop me as a person, with the intention of throwing myself at every possible opportunity, and bringing back new skills and initiatives from New Zealand to Edinburgh.
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