I chose to study Social Anthropology after studying it as an A-Level subject, which I thoroughly enjoyed. SOAS is a unique institution in which to study Anthropology. Not only does the student body include individuals from over 130 different countries, but the staff here are also world-leading experts in the different regions. The diversity of students has helped me develop a more tolerant attitude, and every class offers different perspectives on the topic at hand. This approach to teaching in the Department, in which theory is balanced with real life examples often results in passionate and thought provoking debates. If you miss a class, you miss out on an experience.
The lecturers in the Department of Anthropology accommodate their teaching style to students with a variety of learning styles. They focus on discussion and movement, rather than simply lecturing for two hours straight. As an individual with concentration difficulties, the element of discussion throughout my Middle East and Human Rights classes have been really helpful. I am engaged for the entire two-hour period and get the most out of my classes as a result.
Although the workload can be intense, it is worth it. We are always challenged by our lecturers to think more critically, to read more, and to pursue further questions beyond those that they ask. Ultimately, the workload is justified, as the discussions which follow inside and outside the classroom are applicable to not just our development as critical thinkers, but also to the real world, which the degree equips you to view through a new lens.
The anthropologist Margaret Mead famously asserted that “everything is anthropology”. At SOAS, you get the opportunity to tailor your education in this holistic discipline in line with your own interests. Before starting my degree I was an elected Member of Youth Parliament with a strong interest in Western and Middle Eastern politics, and particularly the issue of representation. My courses this year centre on the Middle Eastern region, human rights, Islam and the politics of identity and diaspora. These areas are clearly pertinent to post-9/11 politics shaping our world today. They are also areas relevant to my own political interests, and learning about them in the Department of Anthropology will help me continue my efforts in getting more youth engaged in politics. The flexibility of my degree is equipping me with the relevant knowledge and skills that will no doubt benefit my career. If you want a challenge, and the opportunity to see the world in a unique way, I highly recommend the Department of Anthropology at SOAS.