“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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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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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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How one student’s decision to take Indonesian led to greater things

By Ben Murtagh|December 9, 2015|SOAS Students|0 comments

Tavan Dutton is currently in the third year of his BA Chinese Studies at SOAS.  He also studies Indonesian Language as an ‘open option’ and last academic year he took time off from SOAS to spend a year in Indonesia. As is often the case, my decision to learn Indonesian at SOAS was completely unforeseen but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

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A student’s passion for Vietnam

By Ben Murtagh|November 17, 2015|SOAS Students|0 comments

An alumnus of the South East Asia Department, Sebastian Rumsby (BA Vietnamese and Development 2007-2011; MA South East Asian Studies 2013) recollects his time at SOAS and shares his passion for Vietnam. My journey into South East Asian studies started somewhat randomly at SOAS during my undergraduate degree, where I chose to learn Vietnamese language alongside International Development because Vietnamese was on the bottom of a list of what to

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SOAS Student wins Malay Speech Competition

By df9|November 9, 2015|SOAS Students|2 comments

Back in February 2015 I received an e-mail from my Indonesian lecturer Pak Din explaining how every year the Malaysian authorities run a speech competition, and that he’d like to put me in for it. Indonesian and Malay are similar enough to be mutually intelligible, but since I had only just learnt to tell the time, Pak Din aptly ended the e-mail with the words “we shall discuss this further,

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