[skip to content]

South Asia Department

Studying in India, Bangladesh or Nepal

The Department runs 'Year Abroad' schemes in India, Bangladesh and Nepal for undergraduate students following any of the five Language Pathways through the BA South Asian Studies (4 years) or BA South Asian Studies and... (4 years) degrees.

In all cases, the 'Year Abroad' programme constitutes the entirety of the third year of a four-year degree. In all cases, students spend their time on an intensive language course in the sub-continent from approximately September to May, and return to SOAS in time for the beginning of the following academic year (late September). The main purpose of these programmes is to enable students to develop their spoken skills in the language, while absorbing the culture at first hand.  It also provides the ideal opportunity for students to begin thinking about their Independent Study Project should they intend or be required to undertake one in their fourth year and, if applicable, to gather materials for this piece of writing.

The Bengali Programme

(Details to follow shortly.)

The Hindi Programme

The Hindi programme runs in Jaipur, Rajasthan, beginning in early September and ending in March; there is a Christmas break, and several shorter breaks and public holidays throughout. The course is designed and run for SOAS by the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS); students are housed as paying guests with Hindi-speaking families, and attend a demanding but rewarding course in which they are taught the full range of language skills through Hindi medium. Much use is made of audio-visual materials (especially Hindi films); the course includes the study and analysis of literature, as well as a wide variety of other media, and the AIIS staff also organise trips to local places of interest. The AIIS teachers are happy to respond to individual learning needs, and to help students pursue particular interests as they hone their linguistic skills.

Jaipur, a state capital, is the ideal location for a course of this kind: it is a large and vibrant city with strong artistic traditions and rich historical associations, but its scale is manageable and its climate not too challenging - at least during the months of the SOAS programme. Those who go on this programme find that the months spent in Jaipur, living and working in a Hindi-speaking environment, help them get closer to the language than can ever be managed in a classroom in London. Students begin the programme with a sound knowledge of Hindi from their SOAS courses taken over the previous two years; but they end it with a greatly enhanced fluency and a much-deepened awareness of Indian culture generally - not to mention a whole bagful of travellers' tales.

The Nepali Programme

The Nepali programme is at the Bishwa Bhasa Campus of Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu.  Students take intermediate and advanced courses in Nepali language and literature, and may also study a second language such as Newari or Tibetan.  In consultation with their SOAS tutor they gather materials for their final year Independent Study Project.

The Sanskrit Programme

(Details to follow shortly.)

The Urdu Programme

(Details to follow shortly.)