SOAS University of London

Mia Barrow-Sullivan, 2nd Year

I was nervous about the prospect of getting back into higher education. But staff and students alike have made the transition a really easy process for me; SOAS feels like home, after only 4 months of study here.

In September 2014 I transferred into the second year of the Anthropology Undergraduate degree at SOAS. After studying my first year at a different University and having a two-year sabbatical it is fair to say I was nervous about the prospect of getting back into higher education. But staff and students alike have made the transition a really easy process for me; SOAS feels like home, after only 4 months of study here. Of course, there is a lot of reading and coursework, and the academic requirements are high, but I’m sure anyone on my course would tell you it is well worth putting the effort in for the benefits you get back.

The variety of courses available to Anthropology students at SOAS is vast. My favourite course so far was the 'Anthropology of Human Rights' as it challenged my normative perspectives in a way that I was not expecting. The option available to all students to take a language course during their time at SOAS further broadens the range of our studies. My friends are learning all sorts of languages, from Korean to Swahili, Nepali to Portuguese!

The experiences I have had with my lecturers and personal tutor has been fantastic. After submitting my first essay, I spoke to the lecturer about specific feedback on my research and writing style long before the actual results were released, so that before I started writing my next essays I had some constructive criticism and a foundation to work from. I don't think that is something that academics at all Universities offer, and it has helped me so much to progress in my analytical writing style.

For me, the opportunity to study at SOAS has been about more than just receiving a top class education. There is also a really wide range of social activities and goings-on at SOAS. The Anthropology department regularly hosts open lectures with prestigious anthropologists coming to discuss their ethnographic work, which has really encouraged me to push myself as hard as I can now that I see what exciting prospects lie ahead. Through these social days and nights at SOAS -- with everything from open mic nights, to the opportunity to maintain the university's bee hives -- I have met so many new and interesting people. I cannot recommend the SOAS experience highly enough.