So you heard about the opportunity to study in Canada through the ASEAN scholarship, but you’re left with a challenge: the letter of intent talking about sustainable development. Here are some tips and a breakdown on how to write that letter of intent.
Before You Start
On the bright side, you only need to write one page. But on the downside, you only have one page to write. Do your best to maximize this space. Don’t beat around the bush and get straight to the point. Assume that each of the following major points take their own (short) paragraph. You have a lot to cover.
A general rule of thumb is to approach each part of the letter like answering a question. After you give the simple answer, you must always follow up with demonstrating why it matters. In some cases, you’ll also have to answer how or by what means [your answer] is going to happen.
Before you start typing up your paragraph, it’s important to brainstorm and make notes. Doing this exercise before you start putting something together will help you organize your existing ideas and help you come up with more.
“Explain the nature of studies or research to be undertaken”
This is probably the simplest part of the letter. What faculty or program are you aiming for? Briefly talk about your major and add what about it excites you (and why). You might also want to specify whether you’re going in as an undergraduate or graduate student. Your major doesn’t have to specifically be something like environmental science; it can be anything so long as you can relate it to sustainable development. We’ll get into that shortly.
“Explain how studying in Canada empowers you to apply your learning to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”
Before you even begin writing about this part, you have to understand what the sustainable development agenda is. In short, it’s an agenda implemented by the United Nations, with goals to create better living conditions and standards for people around the globe. Among the challenges that they want to overcome, extreme poverty is one of them. It’s highly recommended that you have some understanding in order to create a proper response to this part of the letter.
You can also take a moment to talk about how and why you chose Canadian education and not the Philippines’. One thing you can expand upon is how sustainable development is not typically offered in the Philippines. LIke a cover letter, bring up a time when Canada practiced sustainable development and say how you want to see the Philippines do that too.
“Explain how your learning can combat poverty and narrow the development gap in [the Philippines] with your future career.”
The previous section had you relate your studies to sustainable development. In this part, you’ll need to talk about how your future career relates. For example, if you’re going to become an engineer, you can talk about how you’re going to create a way to provide clean water for everyone. It would help to talk about why you care about that particular aspect of poverty.
“Which SDG is most applicable to your proposed study?”
The UN has seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), one of them is poverty. It would be better if you chose something other than poverty to relate to your major. For example, if you want to do microbiology, you could probably relate it to Life Below Water or Life on Land.
Then give an example of how it can relate. Think about what microbiology can do for sustainable development. Justify your reasoning by saying why microbiology is the best way to go about this problem.
Don’t be General
If you hardly care about sustainability and everything that comes with it, you’ll have a hard time writing for this scholarship. It’s important to be specific and clear because of the hundreds of applications Canada is going to get.
Research the sustainable goals and look through the agenda to support your own ideas. Don’t write the letter in one night without any background knowledge. It’s important to start this sooner than later.
While it’s important to care about these things, it’s especially important that you say why you care at all. Again, give examples of what caused you to care about certain issues. The people reviewing the applications already know you care (otherwise you wouldn’t be applying through this scholarship at all). You can stand out by giving your own personal experiences and why you want to help your community.
Source: ASEAN Application Requirements