“When I retire, I’m going back to SOAS!”

By Ben Murtagh|July 10, 2017|Indonesia, SOAS Students|0 comments

“When I retire, I’m going back to SOAS!” This phrase became something of a mantra for me during my final years of teaching. However, as the time to apply grew closer and this aspiration looked like becoming a reality, I started to become nervous. After all, I had left SOAS in 1982 with a BA in Anthropology and Southeast Asian Studies and an unfinished doctoral thesis and much water had passed

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Vietnam, a place full of opportunities

By Ben Murtagh|April 25, 2017|SOAS Students, SOAS teachers|0 comments

Mrs Thu Trang Tran is our Senior Teaching Fellow in Vietnamese – here she talks about her experiences teaching Vietnamese at SOAS Coming to London 7 years ago, I never imagined that I would become a language teacher here, yet this job has given me 6 amazing years as member of the Department of South East Asia at, a unique and beautifully integrated environment. Not only am I inspired by

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A Year Abroad in Vietnam

By Ben Murtagh|October 25, 2016|SOAS Students, Year Abroad|0 comments

With a Vietnamese mother and a Jewish father, I was always intrigued by different cultures and languages – in being different in general. Initially accepted to study French and Hispanic studies at Bath University, it all changed when I accompanied a friend to a talk at SOAS. Despite never having heard of SOAS, from the moment I stepped into the JCR and realised that it was possible to study Vietnam

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Teaching and Learning Thai Language at SOAS

By Ben Murtagh|September 23, 2016|SOAS Students, SOAS teachers|0 comments

I have had an enjoyable time as a teacher for Thai language at SOAS for the past fourteen years. Year after year, different groups of students walk into my classes. Some are complete beginners, whilst others are inspired by their holidays or a short stay in Thailand and want to learn more about its language and culture. Regardless of their different backgrounds, these eager students have one thing in common;

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One Year on into a Degree in Vietnamese and International Relations

By Ben Murtagh|August 3, 2016|SOAS Students, Uncategorized, Year Abroad|1 comments

I originally applied to SOAS for Politics and International Relations, with the intention of perhaps taking a language as part of the Language Entitlement Programme. I had chosen SOAS because of its unique non-Eurocentric perspective among UK universities on global affairs. Other universities I had submitted applications to for the same course had almost identical syllabuses to each other so picking SOAS was an obvious choice with its specialised regional modules

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How did studying at SOAS result in me spending three years and counting in Thai prisons?

By Ben Murtagh|March 29, 2016|SEA Careers, SOAS Students, Year Abroad|2 comments

My first thought upon stepping inside the Central Prison of one of Thailand’s troubled Deep South provinces, was to question how I had ended up there. Which were the choices that had led me from a SOAS classroom studying BA Thai and Development Studies to standing there, my sparsely thatched head baking in the hot sun, blinking at the light as I stooped to step from the gloomy antechamber, through

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From an MA at SOAS to a Career at Cornell

By Ben Murtagh|February 12, 2016|SEA Careers, SOAS Students|0 comments

Dr Chiara Formichi  completed her MA in South East Asian Studies at SOAS back in 2005. She then continued at SOAS to write her doctoral thesis in the Department of History.  After holding positions in Singapore (post-doctoral fellow at the Asia Research Institute), Leiden (research fellow at the KITLV), and at the City University of Hong Kong, Dr Formichi is now Assist. Prof. in Southeast Asian Studies at Cornell University. Her monograph

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Looking Back on a Degree in Indonesian

By Ben Murtagh|February 2, 2016|SOAS Students, Year Abroad|0 comments

Lukas Fort graduated with a 1st class degree in BA Indonesian and Social Anthropology in 2015. Here he reflects on his time in the South East Asia Department and his year abroad in Indonesia. My six-month stay in Indonesia in 2002 first sparked my interest and intrigue in Indonesian cultures. And it was this personal curiosity about South East Asia and Indonesia in particular that subsequently led me to SOAS, where

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A Career in Travel and Journalism in Vietnam

By Ben Murtagh|December 29, 2015|SEA Careers, SOAS Students|0 comments

Joshua Zukas has a BA degree in Linguistics and South East Asian Studies from SOAS. He now lives and works in Hanoi (Vietnam) where he runs a website called hanoihideaway.com.   I was initially drawn to Vietnam not only for its severe beauty and engaging history, but also for its incredible dynamism and the vast array of opportunities the country has to offer. I studied Linguistics and Southeast Asian studies at SOAS

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A year abroad in Indonesia and Myanmar

By Ben Murtagh|December 24, 2015|SOAS Students, Year Abroad|4 comments

Sarah Watt is in the 4th year of her BA South East Asian Studies (with a year abroad). As a student of both Indonesian and Burmese she chose the best of both worlds during her year abroad, spending one semester in Yogyakarta and one semester in Yangon. I was told it would be the most memorable, unique year of my life. It probably was. As part of my degree in

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