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Berkay Gulen, MSc International Politics, 1st Year

If you are looking for alternative approaches and think that “another way is possible”, SOAS can be the right choice.

Berkay Gülen
Nationality: Turkish
Course: MSc International Politics, 2011-12

Why did you choose SOAS?

Before coming to SOAS, my main aim was to be a part of an academic atmosphere which deals with the Middle East and regional studies. I believed that SOAS would be a perfect venue to realize all my goals due to its diversified curriculum and multinational academic staff.

What did you enjoy most about your academic studies at SOAS?

Discussions with Professors before starting to write assignments and their feedback on students’ viewpoints throughout the tutorials were very helpful on the way of learning. Moreover, analyses on daily political events in lectures which are related with the historical background of Middle East politics encouraged me to link up theoretical perspective with “real politics”.

How would you describe the experience of living in London?

It was wonderful! Meeting up with the people coming from different backgrounds and hearing different viewpoints about events were a great opportunity for me. It was also a new experience in terms of re-thinking my ideas about the world and future plans. On the other hand, London streets, its museums and its events on every corner as well as academic organizations around Bloomsbury made this year perfect. I should also mention the relaxed atmosphere around St. James Park and Angel.

How did you spend your time outside of the classroom?

Mostly in the library! Throughout the semesters, travelling around England, Scotland and Northern Ireland was the best way to not to think about responsibilities of the courses.

Any advice for students thinking about studying at SOAS?

Specifically for students coming from Turkey, SOAS is an interesting experience that you cannot compare any university in Turkey. If you are looking for alternative approaches and think that “another way is possible”, SOAS can be the right choice. For international students, I think, SOAS is one of the best schools that you can be the witness of meeting of the West and the East. Please do not restrict your expectations with the content of the courses or academic stuff. SOAS is also a “breathing area” with its lively debates, parties at SOAS Bar and free organizations.

What are your future plans?

After a gap year, I would like to come back to the UK for doing my PhD on foreign policy analysis and Middle East politics.