Statement of Purpose

- So, where do you come from?
- I'm from Moldova.
Usually, the foreign interlocutor turns very confused and might even ask:
- Is it somewhere in the Pacific?
And I smile.
- No. It's in Europe, between Romania and Ukraine. We used to be a republic within the Soviet Union, and obtained independence in 1991. In the interwar years, though, we were a province in Romania, and...

And my story can go on for hours: coming from Moldova sounds like living a continuous socio-politico-economic-cultural adventure. It is extremely difficult even for the most truly interested outlander to understand, for instance, how can I speak English so well, without having ever visited an English speaking country or any other countries, except Romania and Ukraine. I am asked again:
- Why?
- I would need a visa. It’s expensive and you have to meet a lot of requirements.
- But you speak Romanian as well; you study in Romania, in fact. Aren’t you… Romanian or something?
- No, I’m not. I mean, I am, my family is trying for six years already to recover the citizenship my grandparents lost in 1940. It’s a very long and complicated process and there are a lot of Moldavians in the same situation. Maybe you heard Europe is afraid of a whole million of new European citizens. They’re people from Moldova, when they all get their Romanian passports.
- Of course, Romania’s in the EU now. Would this mean that…
- Yes, I need a visa for Romania, too. Somehow, I need a visa for my country.
- Oh, and you’re supposed to speak Russian; that’s so cool!
- Yes, it is, but it has been a compulsory discipline, which made me slightly hostile towards it and Russia, in general, though I know it’s a subjective matter.
- I see. Do you feel at home in Romania, then?
- Yes and no. Historically, it IS my country, where people speak my language; which means that, yes, I should feel at home. Yet, the Soviet era and the recent governance of the communist party in Moldova, created several gaps between Romania and Moldova, which, in my opinion, are already impossible to surpass. Finally, I’m a stranger, I’m an ‘international student’, as they say, and I can’t borrow books from the library. It’s like in that song, with the Englishman, feeling like an alien in New York.
And we laugh.
- But you said they’re gone now, the communists. Can’t Moldova, I don’t know… unite with Romania?
I smile again.
- I seriously doubt it’s possible. I seriously doubt it’s even necessary or that it would help anyone. This ‘unification’ issue is some kind of a national anguish: a sense of guilt and duty from Romania and, on the other hand, a feeling of injury and boycott from Moldova. And Russia, and the EU… It’s a very delicate matter, I’m not sure you want to know about it.
- I wouldn’t understand it completely, anyway. Thanks for the story, though. So, what do you intend to do? You’re a good debater; you’re about to become a bachelor of philosophy…
- Thank you. I want to continue studying. I’d go for Oxford.
My interlocutor smiles.

Of course, there are also a lot of people who have been told many times about Moldova as a poor country, with even poorer standards of living. Maybe they’ve been told about an enormous inflation rate Moldova has always faced. And these of course are true and cannot be refuted but moreover, what I would like to emphasize, is that the idea of a Moldovan student applying for a prestigious masters programme abroad and for the respective financial aid, is that of a “make myself understood” strategy.
I don’t seek to provoke compassion; neither do I want to convince of how special do I think I am. I am very well aware of the amount of such statements arriving yearly at the University’s Admissions’ Office. Even if my file is an incomplete one, since the application contains a peculiar English Waiver, instead of the proper Language Test certificate, I am very confident about the fact that my application will be considered appropriately. I want to believe, this way, that persons to read this paper have the sense of seizing situations when they can make a difference for a possible student like me.
What do I mean by this difference? Instead of studying at Oxford, I could as well go back home after graduating Babes-Bolyai University. In Chisinau, any diploma obtained in Romania values much more than a local one. I would find a very decent job, given my previous work experience, and then wait for my citizenship to offer me the opportunity of visiting London and Paris, with a small financial effort and the services of a low-cost airline from Bucharest. Most probably, I would be happy. But that would be about it.
Small ‘stories’ like the one above show that sorrowfully or not, political and social issues have always been important to me, as they had a direct and sometimes brutal impact on my personal life. I had craved to be explained, at the age of four, why was my father obliged to take part in the War of Transnistria, in 1992. Now, I keep myself constantly informed with politics all over the world and can argue within serious talks on whether the presidency of Hamid Karzai will face the delicate situation in Afghanistan.
My interest in studying Political Theory at an advanced level is authentically inner, and I’m very conscious of the fact that I have the real opportunity of bringing change in a small country like Moldova. As I have stated in the Weidenfeld Questionnaire, my plans aren’t necessarily connected to becoming an active member of a certain political party from my country. I believe that the political class in Moldova has to surpass the ‘West or East’ dilemma, and rather concentrate on developing efficient public policies, in order to improve peoples’ lives and to equitably administrate the foreign financial aid. Moreover, the communist governance has led, during the past eight years, a very poor diplomatic dialogue with almost all countries and institutions, and the consequences of this failure demand an immediate repair.
I could cooperate and here comes the difference I mentioned earlier: happiness is, above all, a matter of self completion, and this is precisely why I wouldn’t go for the easy way, the one with the decent job and the low-cost airline. Oxford can both change and challenge me for more. The question is: will Oxford do something about this?

2010-01-03 16:10:33


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