SOAS University of London

Henry Ashworth

Burma has a unique harp tradition and, at SOAS, I have been able to start to play Burmese harp. Music at SOAS is incredible. There are so many concerts, workshops, events and extra-curricular activities.

My first introduction to SOAS was at an open day at the British Museum.  I had studied Anthropology for A Level and I come from a background of languages and music, and I found that SOAS matched my interests.  I discovered that studying at SOAS changes the scope of what you think you know.

After my first year at SOAS, I did an internship working for the British Chamber of Commerce in pre-democracy Myanmar.  It has been interesting returning to the country again as part of my year abroad.  There have been many changes: some good; some bad.  The internet and the bus system are much improved, but there is more traffic and pollution.  Tourism has increased, as the border with Thailand has opened to backpackers.  Overall, I still found Myanmar a hopeful place.

Burmese music is still largely unexplored in the West.  The country has a unique harp tradition and, at SOAS, I have been able to start to play Burmese harp.  Music at SOAS is incredible.  There are so many concerts, workshops, events and extra-curricular activities.

After completing my degree, I would love to work in Myanmar either in the field of ethnomusicology or as a translator.  At the moment, there are very few Burmese-English translators.