SOAS University of London

Nancy Wang, Williams College, Year Abroad

One of the most memorable things I did outside of SOAS was to sign up for a homestay – it’s free through SOAS, it’s just for the weekend, and it gives you a taste of English life outside of London.

Study Abroad from September 2010 - June 2011

Which courses did you study at SOAS?

  • Chinese 401: Advanced Modern Chinese Language
  • Government and Politics of China
  • Taiwan’s Political and Economic Development
  • Tigers and Dragons: Issues in East Asian Development Revisited
  • Art and Archaeology of Ancient China

What did you enjoy most about your academic studies?

With SOAS being a university tailored to studies in South, Southeast, East Asia, and Africa, it was really nice to be able to find classes specifically devoted to one country, instead of a general area. For example, one of my favourite courses at SOAS has been my Taiwan’s Political and Economic Development; back home, you normally wouldn’t find a course specifically focused on Taiwan because there wouldn’t be enough student interest or funding for the course to exist. 

How would you describe living in London?

Simply put, living in London has been a thrilling experience. 
The culture, the people, the food – those are the things I will think of when I think back to my time in London; there is always something to do when you’re bored (markets, festivals, house parties), someone to listen to (shows, open mic night, Speakers’ Corner), and some amazing food to eat (Indian, Pakistani, Lebanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Korean, and good ol’ English food), etc.

Any advice for students thinking about Studying Abroad?

Be open to new experiences and bring your appetite. Seriously. London has so much to offer and just because the UK and the US share a common language doesn’t mean that the two countries are the same – they are extremely different. Once you move away from the American pubs and the tourist areas, you’ll get to experience London as a real Londoner does. Go to the markets (Borough, Camden, Portobello, etc), the open concerts, and the awesome parks. Try the fish and chips with salt and vinegar, not ketchup, and if you’re feeling adventurous, try the haggis when you go to Scotland! Overall, just keep in mind that when you’re studying abroad, you’re out to have adventures. Make sure you’re not just in the library or around campus – be out and about, having fun, making memories. Then you’ll have an awesome time!