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Sample Personal Statement for Recreation and Leisure Studies

The Martial Art (wushu) and the Technique of Deep Breathing (qigong) constitute an integral part of Chinese traditional culture and one of the essential cultural legacies of the world civilization. Even now, those two ancient health-building techniques are still indispensable in facilitating people’s health. Yet, it is regretful to notice that they seem to have stopped developing in the modern era. I believe that the best way out of this dilemma is to integrate those two traditional health-building techniques with the latest research achievements of western recreational and leisure studies. I believe that by undertaking a Ph.D. program in recreation and leisure studies at your esteemed university, I will be well positioned to make contributions to this integration.

I completed my undergraduate and postgraduate programs respectively at xxxx Institute of Physical Education and xxxxx Sport University, arguably two first-rate sports universities in China. I first majored in the Chinese martial arts then in Chinese traditional Taiji and health Qigong. This systematic and rigorous educational background has given me a necessary academic foundation for your program. My 7-year education allowed me to not only learn the theories and the skills in my specialties but also gain insights into the essence of the wushu and qigong—the perfect union between the physical and the mental. In two programs, I was particularly fascinated by a number of courses such as Martial Arts Serial Exercise Training, Taiji Boxing, Health Cultivation Qigong, Yoga, Exercise Physiology, Sport Medicine, and Sport Anatomy. I benefited from the martial arts training, taiji boxing and qigong exercises by deriving the spirit of perseverance and the pursuit of an active and balanced life characterized by a tactful aggressive attitude. In this way, I maintained a tranquil state of benign physiological-psychological cycle. Energetic and aggressive, I made efforts to win academic successes one after another.

Entering the xxxx Institute of Physical Education as the third top student in my province in that year’s national university entrance examination, I maintained a leading position in my academic performance, not only winning scholarships (available only to the top 5%) every year but also receiving the honor of Outstanding Student, Outstanding Graduate and Excellent Intern. With top scores in the qualifying examinations for the postgraduate program, I was enrolled intoxxxxSport University. As a postgraduate, I had ample teaching assistant experience. First, I taught taiji boxing and health cultivation qigong to undergraduates. Then, because of my sound English proficiency and interpersonal skills, I worked as a teacher of taiji boxing and health cultivation qigong, on behalf of our university’s Foreign Affairs Section, to foreign students and taiji-qigong fans from France, Canada, the United States, Japan and African countries. In addition, I was a voluntary teacher offering free taiji-qigong trainings to the elderly people at Martial Arts Association of China Academy of Sciences and xxx Ever-Green Geracomium. All those activities helped me accumulate important teaching experience and raise my service awareness.

The research I have done in writing my undergraduate thesis and postgraduate dissertation is closely aligned with the program I am currently applying for. Entitled The National Characteristics of Chinese Martial Arts, my undergraduate thesis demonstrates the underlying cultural features and the healthcare medical effect of the martial arts—their ability to temper one’s psychology and cultivate one’s temperament in addition to their direct health cultivation through physical exercises. My Master’s dissertation focuses on the Philosophical Characteristics of Chinese Traditional Sport Health Cultivation Practices. By an in-depth analysis of the theoretical premises of Chinese traditional sport practices, such as “the supremacy of prevention”, “parallel development of internal and external mechanisms,” and “equal emphasis on mental and physical cultivation”, the dissertation offers an interpretation of the philosophical basis of those practices. I also examined how those philosophical principles are embodied in the actual practices. I applied an interdisciplinary approach in writing this dissertation, soliciting constructive comments from senior professors in Chinese medicine, arts, social sciences, and, of course, sports.

My work experience since the completion of my Master’s program is related to sports administration as I have been working at the Center of Health Qigong Administration, State Administration of Sport. Our center is a governmental organization devoted to providing consultations to elderly citizens concerning sports activities and exercises. Apart from drafting major government policies, I have taken part in important academic activities over the past two years. I have been a member of a research team on two research projects sponsored by the State Administration of Sport and other relevant departments—Creating and Standardizing Certain Health Qigong Practices from Chinese Traditional Health Cultivation Forms and Evaluating their Physical Effect and Research into the Current State of Public Health Qigong Activities. For the first project, I have received the National Award for Sports Science and Technology Advances. In addition, I have co-authored four books published by the People Sports Publishing House, including Tendon Changing Classic of Health Qigong Practices (please refer to my Resume for detail). I have also attended important academic conferences, acted as research assistant and trainer. In this way, I have developed valuable practical experiences, enhancing my teaching, training and research abilities.

In my proposed program, I am deeply interested in studying recreation and leisure. My work experience shows that Chinese traditional health cultivation practices like qigong and martial arts, themselves recreational and leisure events, have sound preventive and therapeutic effects. It is a pity that, without scientific guidelines, we have not made full advantage of those important resources. The underlying reason is that we have not been able to perform systematic and comprehensive research. Another reason is that, even though people now enjoy much more spare time than ever before, they have little idea how to spend their leisure and undertake recreation in an intelligent manner. I hope that I can help people understand the importance of the principle of “LIVE WELL THROUGH HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.” I also hope that, through your program, I can continue to broaden my administrative knowledge so that I can ultimately facilitate recreation and leisure activities through government and community channels.

I would like to apply for admission into the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation of Indiana University. Your program of Recreation and Leisure Studies offers an interdisciplinary study that encompasses a rich variety of subjects ranging from Recreation Management to Leisure Behavior. You have advanced facilities, mature curriculum and effective research methodologies, thereby providing a sound condition for me to carry out my studies and research. I would like to concentrate on Therapeutic Recreation, Recreation Administration, Recreational Sport Management, and Leisure Studies, Leisure and Health, Leisure and Healthy Lifestyles, Leisure and Aging, Sports for Seniors. I am particularly interested in Therapeutic Recreation because I hope to focus on exposing the socially underprivileged people, that is, the weak and the elderly, the patients of chronic and deeline diseases, the handicapped and the mentally retarded, to a satisfying leisure lifestyle by practicing yoga, taiji boxing, qigong, and martial arts.

I wish that your program will develop me into a researcher, administrator, teacher and/or counselor in recreation and leisure who can treat and rehabilitate people in need by using recreational sports and therapeutic recreational services. My undergraduate and postgraduate specializations and my work experiences all point to my qualifications as a worthy candidate for your Ph.D. program. I believe that my Oriental background, especially my understanding of traditional Chinese philosophy and my skills in Yoga, Taiji boxing, Qigong and Martial Arts will be a unique contribution to the diversity of your program.

 


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