SOAS University of London

Kate Van Akin, Harvard University, Law School, Year Abroad

My time flew by in London. I made a lot of wonderful friends at SOAS, and we often attended the various events put on by the Student Union and student societies, which ranged from musical performances to debates to movie screenings.

Study Abroad September to December 2010

Which courses did you study at SOAS?

Why did you choose to study at SOAS?

I decided to study abroad because I wanted to specialize in Middle Eastern and Islamic law, and SOAS was a perfect fit.  SOAS was the only university that offered a wide selection of courses specifically related to my interests, so much so that I had trouble choosing which courses to take.  I also wanted to be part of a community of students who shared my interests and aspirations, and was not disappointed!

What did you enjoy most about your academic studies?

I loved how engaged the professors were with the students – my professors gave me the latitude to explore and research topics that interested me and were always available to discuss my research in more detail outside of class.  I will leave SOAS academically enriched, and with the knowledge I need to pursue further independent research at law school.

How would you describe living in London?

London is one of the best cities in the world in which to live.  Even on a student budget, there are so many neighbourhoods to explore and free events taking place that you will never be bored.  What I love most about London is the mixture of cultures and the individuality of the people living here – it’s easy to explore food, music, and art from any culture here, and there is nothing quite like seeing 100 people dressed as Santa Claus marching through Russell Square.

How did you spend your free time?

In addition to exploring London, I also took the opportunity to travel cheaply (student discounts and discount airlines are wonderful things!) and visited friends studying and working in other parts of the UK and in Europe.  A lot of my friends also volunteered or worked, but I don’t know where they found the time to do so!