What SOAS means to me: Angelica Baschiera talks about Italy, African Studies and the SOAS Community
Angelica Baschiera is the Manager of the Centre of African Studies (CAS) at SOAS. She has been at the School for 20 years and is also one of a number of staff to study here. This week she shares what attracted her to the School, her passion for African history and what it feels like being part of a wider community.
I came to SOAS in 1995 from Italy as an Erasmus BA student to study Swahili language and East Africa history. Previously, I attended the Istituto Universitario Orientale, in University of Naples, where I was reading BA Swahili and African history.
As soon as I arrived at SOAS I realised how special the place was, and for a student reading African history it felt like the best place to be – especially with the incredibly rich library. Also, when I was in Italy, SOAS had a great reputation among the students and it was fantastic news for me when I was awarded the Erasmus scholarship.
SOAS felt like a special place because of the great variety of subjects that were taught, the amazing academics and their in-depth knowledge and experience, and the international student population which made me feel I was at the centre of the world.
I was lucky to be able to continue my studies at SOAS by undertaking the MA in African studies in 2000 and, subsequently, start working at SOAS; first as a student ambassador and then into the professional services. I was also fortunate to be able to work as research assistant in 2001-2004 on the Swahili manuscripts project which led me to do an MPhil in the same subject area. Since 2005, I have been working at the SOAS Centre of African Studies (CAS), a fantastic opportunity given my educational background.
I had the opportunity over the many years that I have been at SOAS to meet many interesting people that have an open view of the world and its people. No matter where you come from, at SOAS you will always feel part of a great community of people to whom political, cultural, social issues matter a lot; people who are focused on what’s relevant to society and the world at large. This makes you feel enriched as a person and feel that you can contribute to changes for a more equal and tolerant society.
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