SOAS University of London

Katherine Wycisk, Wake Forest University, Year Abroad

Walk everywhere, and look around while you do. If you don’t find something interesting within five minutes you’re clearly not looking hard enough.

Study Abroad September to December 2012

Which courses did you study at SOAS?

What did you enjoy most about your academic studies?

I feel like a kid in a candy store at SOAS.  Hallways filled with the offices of professors who specialize in development studies, in East Africa, in the politics of developing countries.  Classes with dozens of students who study every country about which I have ever wanted to learn.  A library with an entire corridor of books devoted to Africa, another devoted to development.  After scrounging around for classes that even sounded developmental in nature at home, and months spent haunting the offices of the only two Africa specialists at Wake Forest, the surplus of knowledge and expertise at my fingertips at SOAS, the conversations I have had and the books that I have read, have made this the most rewarding and intellectually fascinating time of my life.

How did you spend your free time?

I have spent a lot of time drinking the city in as I wander, taking in the myriad kinds of architectural styles present in the buildings and marvelling at the ones that are still standing after 600 years.  I love ducking into winding, cobblestone alleyways crammed with second hand clothing stores and the occasional café, going out of my way to walk past King’s Cross or the Houses of Parliament, and walking over every bridge I see to try and get a widescreen view of the city I love so much.  

But I do slightly more purposeful things in this city too...  I frequent the Tate and the V&A museums, where I bring my weekly readings and alternate between them and gaze at paintings by Turner.  I have visited St. Martin-in-the-Fields church for one of their excellent candlelight chamber concerts.  I’ve rode the London Eye and shopped at Covent Garden and snacked in public gardens and I’ve even spent a magical weekend in York.  This city, and the countryside outside it, is full of the grand sights and private secrets that make it so rich and wonderful, and I make it my mission to discover something new every chance I get.