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“What is the essential role of economics in a given country’s social life? Why many proven theories of economics have failed to apply to China’s economic conditions?” Those are just some of the questions that I constantly pose to myself during the past few years of my undergraduate program in economics at XX University of China. Economics, as a rigorous system of generalized models that aim to be universally applicable, has repeatedly proved its efficacy in explaining general issues in economic life. But when applied to the specific economic issues in a particular country or region, its value becomes seriously undermined due to the distortions and interventions resulting from such factors as historical tradition, social conventions and political system. As a Chinese student, I have an especially strong feeling about this situation.
In the special and complicated social environment which is China, the lack of an in-depth understanding of the non-economic factors that affect the present social and economic life of the country makes it difficult for me to devote to the study of economics as my lifelong career, even though my academic training is designed to prepare me for such a career. I simply do not see much realistic significance or feel any true motivation. Such a dilemma has led me to considerable confusion, because my initial intention in choosing economics as my major was to gain insights into many fundamental problems of China by applying analysis of economics. It is such a delight for me to find that the University of XX offers Master’s program in East Asian Studies, which is characterized by a wide coverage of research subjects and practical applicability of research findings. I believe this is the very solution to my present dilemma and frustration, hence my determined application for this Master’s program.
As early as my middle school education, I have developed a strong interest in social studies and have demonstrated a correspondingly outstanding academic performance in the relevant subjects — history, political science, and philosophy. When I entered the senior middle school, I chose to concentrate on humanities and with due efforts I succeeded in becoming the top student in my grade. By the time I graduated from the school, I was given the special privilege to enter XX University of China, arguable the best university in China in social sciences, with the exemption from the otherwise requisite national university entrance examination. I chose to major in economics, a subject that I then thought could enable me to make direct contributions to the improvement of social welfare.
In the heavy and competitive coursework, I relied on diligent efforts and effective study strategies to achieve a high overall GPA (4.4)，with particularly satisfactory performance in the specialty-related courses, which can be indicated by the scores in my academic transcript. My solid academic foundation I have laid in economics will definitely serve as a useful stepping stone leading me to an equally outstanding performance in my proposed degree program in East Asian Studies.
While concentrating on economics, I continued with my special love for other subjects of social science and have tried, through self-education, attending optional courses and even auditing, to broaden my overall academic horizon by venturing into sociology, Asian history and philosophy. I also learned how to search for useful information out of a bewildering wealth of technical materials in the library and to make full use of the library resources to carry out some tentative research. In addition, I volunteered to take part in research projects headed by some of my teachers as a way to maintain my persistent interest in broad sociological issues and to improve my ability to perform standard academic research.
Under such circumstances, it is easy to comprehend how excited I am when I discover that the program of East Asian Studies will allow me to combine my professional knowledge of economics with my research interest in broad sociological issues in East Asia. As a student from China, I have a deep understanding of China’s thousands of years of historical and cultural traditions. I have a relatively deep understanding about the social and economic realities of other East Asian countries. My knowledge about the East Asia as a whole will be my unique asset in undertaking this program in East Asian Studies.
While feeling very proud of the rapid social and economic development of China over the past two decades, I am also deeply concerned about some inherent social and economic issues of China such as unemployment, the rich-poor polarity, the failure to fully implement the rule of law, the slow progress in political reform, the unbalanced social and economic development between the eastern and the western regions of the country, the status of ethnic minorities, and loss of traditional values and moral standards, etc. Underneath the increasing material prosperity lie some alarming social problems. I would also like to explore the successes and failures of traditional Eastern Asian culture in the modernization campaigns. I am convinced that it is pointless being simply worried about the existing problems and blame people for those problems. It is more important for me to acquire the necessary academic foundation whereby to search for effective solutions to those problems.
I have long admired your esteemed university for its significant achievements in the teaching and research of East Asian Studies. I believe that in the academic environment of your university, which is at once liberal and rigorous, and under the effective guidance of my prospective supervisor, my interest and research potential will be given the fullest development. In addition, your instructive teaching will allow me to perform creative research concerning the subjects I am interested in. My Oriental background, my experience of the social and economic development of China—the largest East Asian country—over the past decade, and my academic foundation across a diversity of academic fields will all render me a competitive applicant for your well-respected program. My only wish is that my application will be seriously and favorably considered.