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Access Officer,
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Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

The first lecture of the year started with the declaration that “this course will be tough”, something that has definitely proved to be true. Asian and Middle Eastern Studies will push you to your academic limits and you’ll need to be able to cope with an immense workload. But for those who persevere, the rewards are incredible. You’ll learn some of the hardest languages and most complex histories in the world. And you’ll never be short of dinner table conversation.


Sven Palys
Selwyn College
Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, newly graduated

In practical terms, nearly all your work will be done in the faculty. It’s a small subject, which means that you’re likely to feel more affiliated to your department than your college, and you’ll build really strong allegiances. The ratio of students to lecturers is awesome; you’ll be more than looked after by those who teach your subjects. This personal interaction does have its downside: if you don’t turn up to a lecture, your absence will be noted and you’ll need to explain yourself.

“ You'll learn some of the most complex languages in the world. And you'll never be short of dinner-table conversation! ”

In the first term, you’ll be submerged in vocabulary. Nearly everyone on the course will have no knowledge of the language, but after a few weeks, you’ll be expected to have a grasp of the basics. The language teaching is fairly traditional; whilst you won’t necessarily be verbally fluent by graduation, you will be able to read your language’s equivalent to Shakespeare. This can be frustrating, but the year abroad is flexible and allows you to develop any aspect of your subject (particularly useful if your language isn’t an ancient one).

Best thing? You'll never fail to impress!

Worst thing? Lack of co-ordination within the department