I wrote this short essay in a hurry. I'm applying to a unversity in Sweden. The univerity asks for a short essay on our intentions. They dont give any more details about content or page length. Could anyone give me kind constuctive feeback about my essay.
In 2004, I was awarded a bachelor degree in Human and Regional Geography. After completing my university studies, I decided not to immediately pursue graduate studies but instead experience my role as a human geographer in a more tangible and enriching atmosphere. That decision led me to live, work and study in several predominately Muslim countries for nearly the last five years. The Middle East and Muslim peoples were always the main interest of my study and concern during my undergraduate studies. Unfortunately, my university didnít offer a strong emphasis on the Middle East. So to compensate for this, it was necessary for me to travel to my desired region of study. Several years have passed since that decision was made and I feel with my previous education and rich experiences that I now need to further my education. I want to pursue a graduate education in the social sciences, preferably in international relations or geography.
After having lived in the Middle East, as an American, for the last several years, Iíve seen the frustration and skepticism that people have toward the Westís policies and intentions. Also living in the United States, Iíve seen the ignorance and prejudice that my society holds towards foreign cultures. My sincere desire is to help bridge the misunderstanding and misgivings in some small way. This is a large and noble goal, almost seemingly impossible, but many great things start from small sincere intentions. Studying in Sweden, would be able to help me achieve my goals. The advantage of studying in Sweden is obvious to any observer of international relations or human rights. Swedenís policies of non-alliance and neutrality in most major conflicts, their social welfare system and commitment to human rights is respected and renowned the world over. Itís in a country with such a reputation that I can pursue an education to be a part of the better world I want to see.
One of the greatest advantages in helping to build or create better understanding between cultures is to learn their language, literally. Within two months of finishing university, I was off to Cairo, Egypt to study Modern Standard Arabic. My decision to study Arabic was a simple one. Itís estimated that Arabic has over 300 million native speakers, itís one the official languages of the United Nations and the liturgical language for over 1.2 billion Muslims. The Arabic language is growing in importance every day. Europe has a large Arabic speaking minority, birth rates in Arabic countries are skyrocketing compared to the west all these factors lead me to wisely choose studying Arabic. During my time in Egypt, I reached the upper intermediate level in Modern Standard Arabic, with fluency in the local dialect. Learning Arabic, which according to the United States Defense Language Institutive is a class four language, is just one stage for the completion and continuation of my studies.
The second stage of my studies and experience was to learn Turkish. I spent two years in Turkey learning their language, culture and history. The Turkish language doesnít have the prestige and perceived importance as Arabic, but none the less itís a very important language in the affairs of Europe. Turkey is bidding to join the European Union, has a population of nearly 75 million, the only country sitting partially on the European continent with an overwhelming Muslim majority. Many European countries such as Germany and The Netherlands have significant Turkish minorities. At this time in history to neglect the future importance of Turkey and hence the Turkish language in the affairs of Europe is an error without justification. Modern Turkish being a member of the Ural-Altaic language family makes this language easily intelligible for speakers of other Turkish languages such as Azerbaijani, Kazak, Uzbek and other languages native to Central Asia. Learning languages opens the door to understanding and mutual cooperation between people.
Before I attend a graduate program, Iíve started the third stage of my studies and experiences; learning Russian. Currently, Iím living in Baku, Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has an interesting and conflicting history. Itís culturally and religiously connected to the Middle East but was occupied by the Soviet Union for approximately 70 years. Living here is a good chance for me to learn and speak Russian. Russian is surprisingly connected with the Middle East and Muslim cultures in ways that I couldnít have imagines. Russia itself has a large Muslim minority; according to some sources as much at 15-20% of Russia is Muslim. Russian is the official language, or at least the second language of extreme importance in many predominately Muslim countries in Central Asia; such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and AzerbaijanÖ.etc. Russian is also playing a more important role in the affairs of Europe. As the European Union is growing and its borders are encroaching upon the old Soviet Union, Russia is trying to assert some of its old power and glory. This makes learning and understanding Russian, and the Russian people all the more important.
All of this travel and study was for a purpose. It wasnít just a wandering ambition. This has always been part of my plan to apply for graduates studies. I think that such experiences make me a stronger candidate. Too often in the world we have people in positions of power with no direct knowledge or experience of the field in which theyíve been placed. Many times we here about ambassadors appointed to countries where they donít speak the language or familiarize themselves with the local customs and traditions or important policy decisions being made about a locality when the decision makers canít even find that locality on a map. As a Geographer, I want to avoid such embarrassing mistakes and inaccuracies. My travels and experiences have given me a unique opportunity to see and understand the world in a unique way.
With a graduate degree, I want to work in an academic setting. My final goal is to a professor in one of the social science disciplines and also to start and manage my own company. This goal is easily attainable. Iíve seen it with one of my favorite and most profound professors. He was a dedicated professor of Geography and also owned his own consulting firm. My pattern is modeled after him. I plan to pursue a Ph.D. and work in a university; writing and researching about topics on geography, culture, language and international relations. I also plan to use my skills and education in the private sector. Working as a consultant to private companies and non governmental organizations on how best to manage, organize and achieve their desired goals for better understanding and equality among people in a multi-cultural and multi-lingual atmosphere. Being a graduate student in your program will help me realize my goals and ambitions.
There aren't many mistakes (I think). Please space between paragraphs. (Say: "I want to become a professor.")