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Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa

Study Abroad (Junior Year Abroad)

The Department of African Languages and Cultures is unique in the UK (and Europe), and specialises in teaching sub-Saharan languages, in addition to African literatures (oral and written), cultures, religions, film and performance, and (African/Caribbean) diaspora studies. It welcomes Study Abroad/JYA students from the USA (and other countries), whether for one or more terms, and you will find a relaxed atmosphere and a close-knit community committed to the highest teaching (and research) standards.

SOAS is a designated Centre of Excellence in the Teaching and Learning of Languages of the Wider World. In the BA programme we teach six major African languages at various levels: Amharic, Hausa, Somali, Swahili, Yoruba, and Zulu. Other courses include:

  • Contemporary African literature
  • African language literatures
  • Culture in Africa
  • Language in Africa
  • Structure of Bantu languages
  • Introduction to Pan-Africanism
  • Narrative and poetic strategies in contemporary African literature
  • South African film and drama
  • Perspectives on African experience

Classes tend to be small-scale and the system is very flexible, allowing you to take courses in other departments, e.g., Art and Archaeology, Development Studies, Economics, Geography, History, Law, Music, Politics, Social Anthropology, and Religions.
SOAS is the hub of the African Studies network in the UK. In addition to the Department, it houses the Centre of African Studies and the Royal African Society. Between them, they coordinate a range of Africa-related activities and play a key role in promoting African Studies by organizing lectures, workshops and conferences.

You will soon realise that SOAS is a truly diverse environment, with students from over 100 different countries, attracted by its international reputation and location (the great Paul Robeson studied African languages here in 1934!). As one of the most exciting and interesting cities in the world, London also offers access to an astonishing range of rich cultural experiences.

For enquiries about Study Abroad at SOAS, contact Anja Funston, Study Abroad Coordinator: