Every year, thousands of people all over the world apply the best of themselves to Oxford. Some believe in the distinguished faculties producing groundbreaking research that addresses critical issues facing our academia, while the others believe in the synergy between fundamental and applied research and the “The Lord is my light” approach, which foster intellectual partnerships between faculties and students. As an up-coming graduate in Economics, I yearned to further my postgraduate study for an Oxford master programme in the School of Geography and the Environment because of a passion running deep inside my thought. The passion is rooted from the place where I grew up, and sparked by a practice of enviromental change research I experienced recently. I grew up in Zhongwei, Ningxia, China — a small oasis located in the junction between the Yellow River and Tengri Desert in northwestern China. My feeling on this land has been a complex mixture of love and sigh, as folks are nurtured by this land, but also tortured by frequent sand storms and very dry weather. During my college life in Jiangsu University, I, as a volunteer, participated in a research project to study the environmental changes and the corresponding socio-economic effects around Shapotou. I was impressed by the fresh scene of Shapotou, the place where once engulfed by desert has been covered mostly by vegetation. Because of the success in desert-control, Shapotou is known as a “Miracle in the history of the world’s desertification control”. I was honored to be invited to participate in the field investigation led by Professor A from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Through participating in the research project, I obtained the knowledge on the history of the desert movement and principles governing the desertification control. I have also learned that the achievement of Shapotou desertification control project has attracted the attention of experts and scholars from many parts...
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