SOAS University of London

SOAS publishes six prizewinning essays from undergraduate Arabic students

23 February 2016

Six BA Arabic students from SOAS University of London have had their prizewinning independent study projects published by the Department of the Near and Middle East in recognition of their achievements.

During their year abroad in the Middle East, undergraduate students studying BA Arabic write an impressive 3500 word piece in Arabic. The essays illustrate what SOAS students can achieve after three years of Arabic instruction and acknowledges their hard work and effort. From the academic year 2014-15, six out of a total of 31 essays were selected for publication.

The prize winning essays are available together with English abstract, under a portal accessible via the BA Arabic page.

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Sumayyah Haleema Bostan, joint first prize winner, on her year abroad in Jordan

Professor Stefan Sperl, Head of the Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East said, “Writing a 3500 word essay in Arabic after three years of teaching is a challenging task. It is all the more impressive to see how well many students manage and how stimulating their choice of topic can be. These essays are interesting, well researched and well-conceived. To illustrate this and acknowledge the work done by the students, we’re delighted to publish these essays.”

Sumayyah Haleema Bostan, who was joint first prize winner, said “I can’t imagine a better place to study Arabic than SOAS. With my year abroad, I feel like I got the full experience of being immersed in the language.”

Joshua Rathbone, an undergraduate student in Arabic and author of one of the published essays, said, “For me, SOAS has been an exciting and unique environment in which to learn languages. I wrote this paper whilst on my year abroad at An-Najah University in Nablus, and the experience of doing research there was really inspiring.”

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SOAS student Joshua Rathbone on his year abroad

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Joseph James Padraic Devine, joint first prize winner, running the Palestine Marathon on his year abroad

To iron out minor errors in the texts, the prize-winning students were paired with six SOAS PhD students who are native speakers of Arabic who helped them go through the essays in preparation for publication.

The joint first prize winners were Sumayyah Haleema Bostan and Joseph James Padraic Devine. The full list of winners and the full text of the prizewinning essays in Arabic, and their English abstracts, can be found here.

For further information on studying Arabic at SOAS see here.