Here’s my short biography + letter of motivation

I am applying for the Cross-Disciplinary Strategies studies at die Universität für angewandte Kunst. I had to write a short biography and a letter of motivation and thought it’d be interesting to share it here as well. If my application gets accepted, a personal interview will follow.

About the “Cross-Disciplinary Strategies” studies

The bachelor degree Cross-Disciplinary Strategies: Applied Studies in Art, Science, Philosophy, and Global Challenges (CDS) communicates a broad spectrum of artistic and scientific skills, strategies and principles of artistic and scientific praxis. This is linked with the aspiration to promote a critical approach, collaborative skills, and goal-oriented learning not only in individual areas of knowledge, but also beyond the arts.

The curriculum of the CDS bachelor course is wide in scope, drawing on knowledge from a variety of disciplines and covering basic principles from the arts, philosophy, science, engineering, and the humanities and including strategies in art. A further focus is to explore the foundations and impacts of global challenges and dynamics, such as demographic change, climate change, mass migration, scarcity of resources, violation of human rights, social inequality and poverty, mass unemployment, and the re-definition of human labour in the digital age.

Entrance Requirements and Application Procedure

The applicant provides the examination committee with documents and information about his or her qualifications attesting to general, visual, and linguistic aptitude to successfully complete the degree programme.

The application consists of two parts (both parts are in English):

  1. the applicant submits:
    • a short biography
    • a letter of motivation (600 words / 4000 characters)
    • the cover page
  2. and is given a personal interview.

In the short biography applicants present a written summary of their qualifications and main interests. Please do not send photographs of yourself.
In their letter of motivation (600 words / 4000 characters) applicants outline their expectations about the study programme and how they would apply the skills and competencies gained from this course of studies. 

My short biography

Born and raised in Belgium (10/10/1991), I left for Brazil as an exchange student, to move to Hamburg a few years later, and finally, settle down in Vienna. Up until recently, I was self-employed, working as a consultant and freelancer, contributing to literary projects and marketing campaigns. I am the host of my own podcast, in which I’ve talked to people from a wide range of fields, including astronauts, writers, politicians, art directors, academics, entrepreneurs, artists and people like you and me. These conversations are in- depth and long in form, where I try to satisfy my own curiosity, explained through their life stories. My first book bundled their stories. I am currently writing my second book.

Letter of motivation

As I kid I always thought of talking to people as my major source of learning. I set out the goal to be able to have a five-minute conversation with anyone in the world, forcing myself to develop enough mental and emotional capacity to try and understand the other person. Later, I discovered the extent of typical the Liberal Arts educations, where the goal is not to deliver experts but to shape a broad field of understanding and allow people to draw from different fields and come up with novel solutions.

To grow as a person and become a good citizen is an integral part of that. I find the observation of my own emotions, thoughts, ideas, and reflections fascinating. Not that my thoughts themselves are fascinating, but the observation of yourself and your own behavior, allows you to deeply think about your core values, about who you are, where you make a stand and where not. To enjoy the process of discovery where one learns to think critically, gathering strength as we go (“Vires acquirit eundo.”).

What I enjoy most in the conversations on my podcast is not to necessarily agree with the other person, but to understand their point of view. Also, I find it fascinating to look at the world through different lenses -not simply taking things at face value- ranging from the political, biological, mathematical, psychological or philosophical. I build my own private library to satisfy my curiosity in these wide-ranging fields, from Benjamin Franklin and John Stuart Mill to Thoreau, Wittgenstein or Popper. I follow my curiosity and try and combine different ideas from different fields, which could be medicine today, and a biography on Leonardo Da Vinci tomorrow.

There are two reasons why I apply for the course.
(i) Even though I appreciate my solitary practice, I want to develop and/or strengthen my knowledge through discussion and active study. I want to discover the topics that I find most exciting, and grow my understanding of them in a critical environment. I also think that I do not test my ideas and opinions enough against the bigger reality. Discovering problems for myself is one thing. Thinking about and solving problems that potentially include an entire continent or the entire world, is a level of abstraction that doesn’t come easily to me. Understanding the dynamics of a local economy is very different from the impact of global markets, and I want to expand my knowledge of the latter type of challenges.

(ii) I lack scientific literacy, a field that remains largely unknown. I want to improve my knowledge of scientific tools in order to rely more on my own understanding when researching scientific findings.

I look forward to being a valuable part of a like-minded group of critical thinkers, against the backdrop of Viennese cultural, economic and philosophical history (and future). If given the opportunity for a personal interview, I will gladly supply more examples of my personal qualifications, including my book, recent writings on my blog, and other projects I’m currently working at. Looking forward to hearing from you.