Hello,

I am Richard, a Dutch undergraduate student applying for a Masters programme in London, England.
As a part of the application form, I have to give 'further information' , which I interpreted as roughly analogous to a letter of motivation:

"
9. Further Information
Please state your interest in the subject and give information on any related activities, relevant courses and projects. Continue on a separate sheet if necessary.
"

I have written a first draft, and I was wondering if some of you would be willing to comment on it. I have read several other posts on the forum, and found them most informative.
I welcome comments on any aspects, but especially suspect myself of being a little too enamoured with comma's. Also, the end lacks in zest, I realise I will have to work some more on at least that part , and there is a small bit about some research I am doing at the moment, which I don't know where to place. Comments on any other subjects are also very much appreciated. Thanks!

Dear Sir, Madam,

My enthusiasm for your course in International Studies is engendered both by its specific content and by its method of instruction. The programme is perfectly suited to my aim in pursuing a Masters degree in International Studies, namely acquiring a thorough empirical knowledge of the various social and political structures in East Asia, both at the national and international level. I have already, besides my philosophy studies at the Radboud University Nijmegen, followed a half-year course on contemporary Asia, at the University of Amsterdam. Through its courses, this program gave me some knowledge about various parts of East Asian social and political structures, and it certainly whetted my appetite for a more thorough investigation into East Asian societies. During my philosophy studies, I have focused on political, social and cultural philosophy. Among the topics treated in those courses, two chime especially well with the modules available.

First, there are the various theories concerning political and social practice in democracies, some descriptive but most normative, like the theories of Rawls and Habermas. Their normative character theoretically makes them context-independent, but in practice they seem to be elevating an abstracted version of the political and social systems in contemporary Europe and the USA to the status of ideal political system. Through modules like ‘Politics and History of Japan and East Asia’, ‘The Politics of Culture in Contemporary China’ and ‘Introduction to Contemporary Chinese Cultures and Societies’, I hope to gain an understanding of the structure of civil society in these countries, and to use this knowledge to refine notions about civil society and its role in a democracy, instead of dismissing non-complying structures outright as flawed, as is often done. A possible outcome might be a ‘varieties of democracy’ hypothesis, mirroring the ‘varieties of capitalism’ paradigm which has surfaced in economics these last few decades.

A second set of modules, ‘Asia and Globalisation’, ‘International Relations I: Theoretical Perspectives’ and ‘Nation, Transnationalism and Globalism in East Asia’, could function in very much the same way for political philosophy concerning international relations and globalisation. This field has been burgeoning over the last decades, without, however, yielding a limited number of guiding theories. Here I have no specific research object in mind, but I feel that this is a subject which will see the most interesting new theorizing in years to come. Knowledge about the complex interstate relations, both within the area and between these countries and the world at large, may function as an empirical touchstone and hopefully even illuminate the way in which an understanding of these processes should be sought.

It is not just the content of your modules which appeals to me; your method of instruction, focused on interactive group work following student and staff presentations, mirrors the more fruitful modules I have taken. The Radboud University’s Honours Programme, an extra-curricular programme for selected students, is explicitly centred around thorough student discussions of the literature prepared, guided by the staff. In my experience, this results in a far more nuanced understanding of the subject, and especially its pitfalls, than an ordinary staff lecture. This method of instruction, coupled with assessment by essays, also promotes the development of skill in arguing clearly and succinctly both on paper and verbally, an attribute which can never be honed well enough.

In short, your programme in International Studies chimes perfectly with my research interests, and its method of instruction is a most fruitful one. I look forward to continuing my academic education and research at your institution.

Yours Sincerely,

Richard

Here's the part I want to splice in somewhere:
I am currently writing my Bachelor thesis on the shifts in the intellectual debate in late Tokugawa and early Meiji Japan, and its relation with the vast changes in institutions and governance around the same time.

I could expand a bit on this, make it into its own short paragraph, but it doesn't seem to fit into the current format. I would, however, like to include something about research I've done. So I don't really know what to do with it. Any ideas?

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