SOAS University of London

Hannah Kang, Georgetown University, Year Abroad

Being a city girl, I thought life in London wouldn’t be too much of a culture shock but it actually was! London is very different from cities like New York or Tokyo. It really is one of a kind.

Study Abroad from January - June 2011

Which courses did you study at SOAS?

What did you enjoy most about your academic studies?

At SOAS, I really learned to take control of my own education. Initially I disliked the openness of the learning style, as I am more used to frequent assessments and professorial oversight back at my home university, but I came to appreciate it and in doing so, I felt I was able to get a lot more out of my education here. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to discuss issues like identity and race with other students who felt as passionate about them as I did, and it was great making new friends from around the world.

How did you spend your free time?

I did a lot of traveling. Literally every weekend my friends and I were always sightseeing somewhere. During the first several months, I took a lot of out-of-London trips, to Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, and Greenwich. I really enjoyed exploring different neighborhoods throughout London—Queensway, Brick Lane, Notting Hill—while seeing all the really touristy sites like Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Parliament, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace. I also loved checking out the street markets. There truly is no other city in the world (in my opinion) where the markets are just another site of their own. I also took a weeklong trip to Paris during Reading Week in February.  During my spring break, I did a monthlong backpacking trip around Europe with a friend. 

Any advice for students thinking about Studying Abroad?

The UK is a completely different country that possesses a distinctive culture and way of life. The people here are very diverse and come from all walks of life. You need to be open-minded to every experience and remind yourself that just because there is no language barrier, doesn’t mean there is no ideological one. Make the most of your time here to explore the UK as well, sometimes it’s easy to just get stuck in the London bubble, but traveling is so much easier than you think!