Dear Sir or Madam,

I wish to apply for Master of Advanced Studies in Public International Law, specialised in International Criminal Law at Leiden University, starting September 2007.

Although my interest for public international law and more precisely for international criminal law is rather recent, it constitutes the outcome of a progressive maturation started when I was a teenager.

When I was fifteen, I had a unexpected and unexplained nervous breakdown, and suffered from eating disorders for a few years. This tough period made me question the sense of my life: at an age where you are virtually expected to have fun, what are you supposed to do when you are too depressed to even go out? These thoughts finally lead me to a deep conviction: to be happy, I needed to feel useful, to help beings around me in a way or another.

I quickly passed my “maturité” (high school diploma), after studying alone at home due to my psychological troubles mentioned earlier. Obtaining this diploma by myself, in one year instead of two if I had stayed at school, made me feel confident again in my study ability and strengthened my determination. At the same time, my pressing need to be useful took the form of a deep commitment to animal welfare, a cause that I had until then been supporting passively, being a vegetarian since childhood. I joined several associations, informed myself assiduously about the theories of various philosophers such as Peter Singer, participated in the organisation of conferences and took part in demonstrations. One of the most satisfying achievements of my life was actually to convince friends and relative to give up eating meat as well.

Regarding my studies, a first year at medical school made me realize that I needed a broader view on the world, which is why I started my studies in international relations in my home city, Geneva, whose cosmopolitan air probably also played a role in my choice. This very enriching interdisciplinary cursus allowed me to develop a deep interest in international law, whose rigour and evolving dimension rapidly appealed to me. These studies also made me more open-minded and aware of the injustices of the world I live in, and provided me with a better understanding of the dynamics between states and inside them. In my opinion, international law is a fundamental element in improving life conditions, especially as it is currently in a phase of considerable evolution.

A conference given by Luis Moreno Ocampo at university during my third year of study represented what I dare to call a “revelation”. International criminal law, although a very young discipline, seems to me full of promises for the future: an international justice for the worst crimes applied on individuals is a necessary complement to the domestic jurisdictions and to the sanction mechanisms of the UN, whose effectiveness is often seriously curbed by the power of the veto of the permanent members of the Security Council. I think international criminal institutions can become very useful tools for fighting impunity.
This decisive choice for international criminal law was strengthened by a stay in Cambodia in last summer, during which I became aware that many difficulties that this country faces today are due to the impunity of former Khmers Rouges, never tried, a large number of whom still occupy posts is the current government. Several persons met there actually told me that it would be very difficult to reach a true peace and to restore people’s confidence in their leaders as long as justice is not administered.

An LLM in international criminal law at the University of Leiden quickly appeared to be an ideal way to deepen my knowledge in this field, especially because of centuries-long tradition of legal scholarship of the Netherlands, the quality of your university and program, as well as the presence of several major international law institutions close to Leiden, in the Hague. After obtaining my LLM, I intend to enrol in internships so as to better work out the possibilities that await me, and also to develop practical skills. I plan to apply for an internship at the International Criminal Court, in the office of the Prosecutor.

Please find enclosed the other documents required for my application. I remain at your disposal for any further information and look forward to your positive response.

Sincerely yours,
This is not a grammar-type issue, but I would strongly suggest you remove any refernce to having a nervous breakdown. Simply say you experienced some medical issues.
Thanx, you're right, passing for a weirdo may not increase my chance of being admitted...
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
But could someone just tell me if there are some mistakes or problems in the formulations ? Thanks a lot !
AnonymousDear Sir or Madam,

I wish to apply for Master of Advanced Studies in Public International Law, specialising in International Criminal Law at Leiden University, starting September 2007.

Although my interest in public international law -- and more precisely in international criminal law -- is rather recent, it constitutes the outcome of a progressive maturation process that started when I was a teenager.

When I was fifteen, I experienced some medical problems that, although now resolved, continued for a few years. This tough period made me question the sense of my life: at an age where you are virtually expected to have fun, what are you supposed to do when your illness makes you are too depressed to even go out? These thoughts finally lead me to a deep conviction: to be happy, I needed to feel useful, to help beings around me in a way or another.

I quickly passed my “maturité” (high school diploma), after studying alone [alone? really? not with tutors or anything else? this implies you had no teachers, etc.] at home due to my medical issues. Obtaining this diploma by myself, in one year instead of two if I had stayed at school, made me feel confident again in my academic ability and strengthened my determination. At the same time, my pressing need to be useful took the form of a deep commitment to animal welfare, a cause that I had until then been supporting passively, being a vegetarian since childhood. I joined several associations, informed myself assiduously about the theories of various philosophers such as Peter Singer, participated in the organisation of conferences and took part in demonstrations. It was always a very satisfying achievements of my life was actually to when I was able to convince a friends or relative to give up eating meat as well.

Regarding my studies, my first year at medical school made me realize that I needed a broader view on the world, which is why I started my studies in international relations in my home city, Geneva, whose cosmopolitan air probably also played a role in my choice. This very enriching interdisciplinary cursus? what word are you looking for here? allowed me to develop a deep interest in international law, whose rigour and evolving dimension rapidly appealed to me. These studies also made me more open-minded and aware of the injustices in the world I live in, and provided me with a better understanding of the dynamics between and within states and inside them. In my opinion, international law is a fundamental element in improving living conditions, especially as it is currently in a phase of considerable evolution.

A conference given by Luis Moreno Ocampo at university during my third year of study represented what I dare to call a “revelation”. There is nothing grammatically wrong with this but it sounds over-inflated. You can say "led to a personal revelation or a personal epiphany. International criminal law, although a very young discipline, seems to me full of promises for the future: an international justice for the worst crimes applied on individuals is a necessary complement to the domestic jurisdictions and to the sanction mechanisms of the UN, whose effectiveness is often seriously curbed by the power of the veto of the permanent members of the Security Council. I think international criminal institutions can become very useful tools for fighting impunity. Be careful with your political opinions. The person reading this may be a great fan of the United Nations.

This decisive choice for international criminal law was strengthened by a stay in Cambodia in last summer, when I became aware that many of the difficulties that this country faces today are due to the impunity of former Khmers Rouges, who were never tried and a large number of whom still occupy posts is the current government. Several persons met there actually told me that it would be very difficult to reach a true peace and to restore people’s confidence in their leaders as long as justice is not administered.

An LLM in international criminal law at the University of Leiden quickly appears to be an ideal way to deepen my knowledge in this field, particularly because of centuries-long tradition of legal scholarship of the Netherlands, the quality of your university and program, and the presence of several major international law institutions close to Leiden, in the Hague. After obtaining my LLM, I intend to enroll in internships so as to better learn about the possibilities that await me, and also to develop practical skills. I plan to apply for an internship at the International Criminal Court, in the office of the Prosecutor.

Please find enclosed the other documents required for my application. I remain at your disposal for any further information and look forward to your positive response.

Sincerely yours,
thanks A LOT barbara, you really saved me, i have to send my application tomorrow and my english cousin was impossible to reach !
Just a last thing if you have 2 minutes : is the CV ok apart from the few remarks you made ?
thanks !
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