SOAS University of London

Nadine Abi Zeid Daou

SOAS was top of my list, a prestigious university with an impeccable reputation, committed to quality education, and famous for its broad-based and diverse programmes. I eventually found SOAS’ reputation well-earned and well-deserved!

MSc in Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice (distance learning student)

It was an ‘amazing journey’, full of knowledge, interaction and innovation.
Originally a translator, I was recruited for a temporary translation post within the United Nations (UN-ESCWA) and more particularly in the social development division. I realised that the significant challenges my region is facing and the way they are being tackled need professionals with multi-disciplinary skills who can provide proper policy advice and social services that meet people’s needs and address the complexity of socio-economic, religious, sectarian and political dynamics.

SOAS was top of my list, a prestigious university with an impeccable reputation, committed to quality education, and famous for its broad-based and diverse programmes. I eventually found SOAS’ reputation well-earned and well-deserved! 

I selected the MSc in Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice because I wanted to gain a multi-disciplinary knowledge and a critical, inter-disciplinary and global perspective on poverty reduction and other inter-related issues. My focus on Development Management was also chosen to help me develop my understanding and skills in the area relevant to my professional experience and interests within the United Nations.

As a working mother of two children, distance learning was my only option to achieve my educational aspirations and to expand my educational opportunity. My capacity to juggle work, children and studying has inspired other women in my workplace and encouraged them to enrol in this program, which is a sheer evidence of the multiplier effect that SOAS distance-learning programme is creating.

It was a rewarding experience and I feel so thankful to the institution and for every professor who put together wonderful, well-structured, and easy to grasp material. I have been frequently asked whether it was worth the effort, staying late and missing out all the fun parties with friends, I now tell them it was intrinsically worth it. Yes, it was challenging and difficult at times, but NOT impossible.

I honestly felt the difference from the very first year of my studies. This specialised programme has substantially improved my substantive, research and analytical skills in the workplace. It taught me how to delve into the information and to question it, to critically appraise the existing literature, and provide arguments. I learned how to think, analyse, synthesize and evaluate in a critical manner.

The impact of my studies on my career will be further felt when passing the UN international competitive examination on social development, which will bring my specialised knowledge to a higher level and further contribute to my professional growth.