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Stable career in Bangladesh. Letter of Motivation for Admission in a masters program

TAhmed 1 / -  
Mar 6, 2017   #1

I am confident, I will prove worthy for it

Hi I am preparing to apply for a masters program in Europe and would really appreciate feedback on how to improve my motivation letter. The following is basically a draft I have prepared. Thanks a lot in advance.

Being the eldest daughter in a doctor's family, I was expected to choose a carrier of stability or something that is not overly adventurous in a country like ours - Bangladesh. My parents' only wish at that time was for me to follow my father's footstep and become a doctor. While I am in no way demeaning doctors or their profession, but I knew this was not for me. Not sure what triggered me later to chose architecture but one incident I always link to my decision. I remember going to the national assembly building in Dhaka with my late grandfather. All the time I was there I was only looking up in awe. Those piercing rays of sunlight streaming in through the perfect geometric apertures, the scale that made me feel so small, the beautiful texture and cool surfaces of concrete- that experience definitely left a mark on me. After completing my A'levels, my wish to be part of one of the best universities of the country took me to visit N University. I was stunned to see the intricate drawings and hand models at the Architecture Week there. As I learned more about architecture, it amazed me how an architect could innovate and work freely by setting up their own firm. This freedom of work and imagination as an architect fascinated me. And finally, I was enrolled in the Bachelor's of Architecture program of N University.

In my third year, I was accepted in an internship program at x in Ahmedabad, India. This was the first time I was heading out of my country alone. I learned immensely - not only by working in the studio but also, and most importantly, the outside of it. Exploring and attempting to understand the complex city was a treat in itself. I was mesmerized by how historical relics and modern contributions blended so well to create the urban life. Not until then did an interest of cities grow in me. I am thankful for the experience that I gained through travelling, visiting Kahn's and Corbusier's works, meeting new people and exchanging views there.

In my final year when my thesis defense was approaching, my grandfather died and in the next 15 days' father passed away too. I was in pieces but seeing my mother and her struggles, I realized I had to prioritize my responsibilities. I needed to support my mother both mentally and financially as much as I could. Hence, I applied to work as a teaching assistant for faculties in design studio at my university. Working +20 hours a week as a teaching assistant at the architecture department and progressing with my thesis at the same time led me to adapt a strict routine and manage my time best while maintaining my interests in writing for student architecture magazines and also art club activities. Organization in addition to mental strength are two of best traits I believe are essential for success, and I am confident, will be required for the completion of this prestigious program.

My undergraduate thesis project was the revitalization of a Buddhist monastery which was subject to an arson attack by extremist religious groups and was destroyed along with a large number of other Buddhist and Hindu temples. I gathered that this project as not only about one single monastery, rather about the community, religion, and their beliefs. At the site and after meeting the Buddhist community - I realized how it has been misinterpreted by the other religious communities in the vicinity. In Bangladesh, a strike on one's religion shakes the person to their roots and this Buddhist community was devastated. My proposal to let people from other races & religions enter to participate in secular and religious activities at the monastery, along with creating spaces and introducing functions that enhanced such engagement and interaction with the Buddhist community was highly appreciated by the jurors. At this point I had decided that, given the opportunity someday, I would like pursue my career further in Urban Design.

Freshly graduated from the university, I joined U - a Dhaka based studio practice of the eminent architect and recently a winner of the Aga Khan Award, KC. In the three years of my involvement with U, I was mostly involved in the design of institutional buildings, public complexes and urban reform projects. One such project was a "club" at the heart of Dhaka city. While the client's initial requirement was only limited to an exclusive members' club, we later on introduced more functions, such as food courts, public health care facilities, swimming pools and a roof garden-park that would engage the everyday people more and not just cater to a certain affluent group of the city. Dhaka being one of the densely-populated cities of the world with limited facilities open to its citizens would vastly benefit from such a function. My dedication in its design and rigorous studies to understand the urban culture and city's needs awarded me with more city based projects. Revitalization of a 50-year-old market place with the introduction of an interactive public plaza and conversion of a dump yard into a public food court were two such prestigious projects I was involved in.

With U's participation in the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016, I was selected to organize and supervise the exhibition at Venice. For the first time, I visited Europe and it was more than I had imagined it to be. With the picturesque urban landscapes, history and cultural richness, it is composed of the most livable, organized and diverse cities. Though it stands among the most urbanized regions on the globe, Europe remains indeed a fascinating and diverse continent and its people still enjoy access to extensive natural or semi-natural landscapes. From my visit to Europe I could feel how nature and history blended in to be incorporated into urban life through design and landscape. It fascinated me and the diversity left me spell bounded.

Being a Muslim girl from a country where females are often expected to live in the shadows and behind the doors, all this did not come as smoothly. In 2015 I got married and as time went by, more restrictions came. I was often reminded that I am meant to stay home, cook and take care of the family. Sometimes it felt like it is time to give up on my dreams to learn and explore. After overcoming the many complications, abuse and limitations, I continued to strive for my dreams to travel, explore and learn. That visit to Europe did indeed trigger a lot of senses in me and encouraged me to take this fight forward. And here I am today applying for the Master in Urban Studies with hopes to learn more and evolve. I believe that I possess all the necessary professional experience, educational background and personal traits that are necessary to excel in the program.

Studying at 6 world class institutions and to explore and learn practically through the analysis of different cities is a once in a lifetime opportunity to further shape myself in pursuing my professional goal of becoming skilled in understanding cities, people and its needs. The Master in Urban Studies is therefore a vital part of my future plans to become a leader in urban design and planning. The scholarship will be a great help and boost for my family. It will establish the fact that my gender is not a weakness and irrespective of it, a person can do much more only if she has the willpower. Although the journey ahead will be rough, I believe I possess the capacity and perseverance not only to withstand the courses' challenges but make the whole journey an interesting and enjoyable story of my life. And who doesn't want to make a beautiful story out of life to be proud of? This prestigious master's program is my key to such a story and I am confident, I will prove worthy and make the best out of it
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 14,249 4652  
Mar 6, 2017   #2
Tabassum, you have confused your personal statement for a letter of motivation. A letter of motivation is just that, a series of paragraphs that discuss the development of your interest in architecture with a specific concentration on architectural education. There are only specific topics to be discussed in a letter of motivation. These topics include:

1. A discussion of your college background in relation to your chosen masters course.
2. A preview of your current experience in this field that has either caught you unaware or has made you realize that there is more to be learned about this topic.

3. What you perceive to be your weakness which has led you to your motivation to enroll in this course.
4. What you hope to achieve by enrolling in the course in terms of academic or practical application.

While you have a very intricate backstory regarding your interest in architecture and urban planning, your letter has a problem when it comes to focusing on the motivation behind your interest in urban planning. The reviewer needs a direct to the point letter that is about a full page long only. Majority of the information that you have in this letter should be set aside for your personal statement and some, for the statement of purpose. I suggest that you revise the letter using the guidelines above so that you can create a more appropriate motivational slant for your letter.

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