SOAS University of London

Jacob Mardell

I took Dr Yuka Kobayashi’s modules on International Politics, and I did my dissertation on the Belt and Road Initiative, which has led on directly to my current research.

I spent a year in China on a British Council scholarship, which allowed me time to immerse myself in the Chinese language, but I have always been interested in politics and writing about politics, and when it came to studying and finding out more about China and its political systems, the SOAS course seemed like the obvious choice.

I took Dr Yuka Kobayashi’s modules on International Politics, and I did my dissertation on the Belt and Road Initiative, which has led on directly to my current research.  My time at SOAS was the first step on this journey.

Since graduating, I have set up the China Road Project, and in 2019 I plan to embark on a year-long, 50,000km journey from London to Jakarta and back, by road, rail and cargo ship, following the route of the Belt and Road Initiative.  I’m on the road to conduct research on infrastructure projects, but I’m also there to learn from the places I visit.  I’ll be filming en route, and running a daily Instagram feed with videos and photos, documenting this process and sharing the adventure with friends and followers back home.