[skip to content]

Robtel Neajai Pailey

SOAS seems to attract students who are both intellectually engaged with the world around them, and committed to making an impact in that world. I wanted to be a part of that magic. For example my cohort group of MPhil/PhD students represent some of the most humble and committed practitioners, activists, and intellectuals I’ve come across in one setting.

PhD Development Studies

Ever since I was a study abroad student in Ghana and someone mentioned SOAS to me in conversation, I have always wanted to attend the school because of its diversity, alternative approaches to teaching that challenges mainstream academic discourses, focus on perspectives from the global south, and its history of activism.

SOAS seems to attract students who are both intellectually engaged with the world around them, and committed to making an impact in that world. I wanted to be a part of that magic. For example my cohort group of MPhil/PhD students represent some of the most humble and committed practitioners, activists, and intellectuals I’ve come across in one setting.

I got a great first impression of SOAS when I attended the Freshers’ Fair, where every activist cause I could possibly imagine was represented. I realised then that SOAS wasn’t just a specialist in its regional focus but rather an experience in raging against the machinery of corporate social irresponsibility, Eurocentrism, sexism, and neo-liberal domination.

I have been very fortunate to be able to produce and host Africa Regional Spotlights on SOAS Radio, returning to one my many loves, broadcast journalism. SOAS Radio is perhaps the only volunteer student-run radio station that melds the experiences of amateurs with veterans, producing some of the most thought-provoking and entertaining programming this side of the Atlantic.

Coming to SOAS, I have for the first time in a long time focused entirely on my own intellectual journey, surrounded by people who are on the same trajectory. That’s a very affirming feeling.

Above all, being at SOAS is like coming ‘home’. It’s a place where I feel entirely comfortable in my own skin, while also being challenged to question who I am, and what I stand for.