ZoZo1770
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EDIT 13/7/2017: Hi all, OP here - just wanted to update this post and say that I decided on SOAS, I'm now in my second year and absolutely loving life. There's another thread on here (linked below) from this time last year in which I said how I was considering leaving as I had a few problems fitting in in first year, but I'm so glad I stayed! By the end of first year I had cemented my friendships and learned to love London, and although the SOAS politics irritate me still, they do loads of people's heads in and I'm not the only one haha - I've learned to laugh at it and to make the most of what the rest of London offers.

The reason I've decided to edit is because I've had a few PMs from prospective SOAS students asking me about my decision as I didn't actually post anything else, and thought I'd just quickly write that I've stayed and, as I said, I now love it. If you want more detail and/or you're interested in studying Japanese please feel free to message me! Best of luck to all uni applicants who happen to read this!

Other thread in which I explain my reasons for wanting to leave (which thankfully I didn't): https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...php?p=62760857

Hi all,

I'm currently in a dilemma about which Uni to put as my firm choice and was wondering if I could get some opinions. I'm currently studying English Lit (Pre-U), Music and Japanese (both A2), want to continue with Japanese at Uni before doing postgrad Music, and I currently hold an AAB (non subject-specific) offer from Durham and an Unconditional from SOAS (but only if I firm). Thing is, I can't decide which to go for, although I'm leaning towards SOAS. Perhaps you could tell me what you think?

Here are the pros and cons of each (in my view):

Durham

Pros
  • World 100 University
  • Top 5 in the UK (according to the Top UK University Guide)
  • Collegiate system for a nice community feel
  • Durham is favoured in terms of future employability
  • Russell group Uni and known for being very prestigious
  • Beautiful campus, river, etc. (I got into the Castle, too, so that's a bonus)
  • Cute little town and convenient in terms of necessities
  • Really nice Music and Drama, which is a must for me
  • It's far away so I can finally escape home (I live in Hertfordshire)

Cons
  • There isn't much to do in Durham, I'm worried I'd get bored after being there for three years
  • I'm honestly worried about meeting my offer. Although I've been predicted A*A*A (A in Japanese) and I need a grade lower than those to get in, Japanese A2 is basically designed for native speakers and the A Level is harder than the first year of degree (according to my teacher). Whereas I can afford to put in 10 or so hours of work a day if I were studying it at Uni, obviously I can't do that at A Level and Japanese is a subject that really does require that.


SOAS

Pros
  • No. 1 institution for Asian languages
  • Unconditional offer which takes off huge amounts of pressure this year
  • Recognised for being very elite and producing loads of heads of state, ambassadors, etc.
  • Has nearly 50% international students and I love the idea of meeting people from such a range of cultures
  • All the world's leading academics for my subject would teach there
  • They're arguably the most left-wing University - I feel like I'd get on with the students there far better for that reason as I'm very liberal (Durham is apparently the opposite - but don't quote me on that. Also, I know these are just generalisations)
  • Year abroad at SOAS has loads more choice in terms of Japanese universities compared to Durham
  • If I'm looking at postgrad Music then London is the place to be when it comes to making contacts
  • There is everything and more in London
  • Massive students union where I'll meet loads of people with the same interests as me and plenty opportunities for Music and Drama

Cons
  • My parents flat-out refuse to let me live in London due to it being expensive and 'not worth the debt' and will make me commute. Trying to convince them otherwise is proving to be very, very difficult.
  • I absolutely refuse to commute.


Thoughts on this?

Thank you!
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[email protected]
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#2
(Original post by ZoZo1770)
Hi all,

I'm currently in a dilemma about which Uni to put as my firm choice and was wondering if I could get some opinions. I'm currently studying English Lit (Pre-U), Music and Japanese (both A2), want to continue with Japanese at Uni before doing postgrad Music, and I currently hold an AAB (non subject-specific) offer from Durham and an Unconditional from SOAS (but only if I firm). Thing is, I can't decide which to go for, although I'm leaning towards SOAS. Perhaps you could tell me what you think?

Here are the pros and cons of each (in my view):

Durham

Pros

  • World 100 University
  • Top 5 in the UK (according to the Top UK University Guide)
  • Collegiate system for a nice community feel
  • Durham is favoured in terms of future employability
  • Russell group Uni and known for being very prestigious
  • Beautiful campus, river, etc. (I got into the Castle, too, so that's a bonus)
  • Cute little town and convenient in terms of necessities
  • Really nice Music and Drama, which is a must for me
  • It's far away so I can finally escape home (I live in Hertfordshire)

Cons
  • There isn't much to do in Durham, I'm worried I'd get bored after being there for three years
  • I'm honestly worried about meeting my offer. Although I've been predicted A*A*A (A in Japanese) and I need a grade lower than those to get in, Japanese A2 is basically designed for native speakers and the A Level is harder than the first year of degree (according to my teacher). Whereas I can afford to put in 10 or so hours of work a day if I were studying it at Uni, obviously I can't do that at A Level and Japanese is a subject that really does require that.


SOAS

Pros
  • No. 1 institution for Asian languages
  • Unconditional offer which takes off huge amounts of pressure this year
  • Recognised for being very elite and producing loads of heads of state, ambassadors, etc.
  • Has nearly 50% international students and I love the idea of meeting people from such a range of cultures
  • All the world's leading academics for my subject would teach there
  • They're arguably the most left-wing University - I feel like I'd get on with the students there far better for that reason as I'm very liberal (Durham is apparently the opposite - but don't quote me on that. Also, I know these are just generalisations)
  • Year abroad at SOAS has loads more choice in terms of Japanese universities compared to Durham
  • If I'm looking at postgrad Music then London is the place to be when it comes to making contacts
  • There is everything and more in London
  • Massive students union where I'll meet loads of people with the same interests as me and plenty opportunities for Music and Drama

Cons
  • My parents flat-out refuse to let me live in London due to it being expensive and 'not worth the debt' and will make me commute. Trying to convince them otherwise is proving to be very, very difficult.
  • I absolutely refuse to commute.


Thoughts on this?

Thank you!
Sounds like you really want to go to SOAS and the only reason you dont is to do with your parents but the decision is yours not theirs, if you live in London your student loan is higher so money shouldn't be too much of problem, student loans arent like a normal loan so explain to your parents that hardly anyone repays their debts and it is erased after 30 years anyway so doesnt matter if it is a lot of money or not
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TheTechN1304
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I've applied for Japanese this year, and also applied to Durham and SOAS. I would definitely choose SOAS over Durham if I were you. Durham's Japanese degree is new (this year is the first), and its reputation is nonexistent.

London is expensive, but it's not as bad as people think. If SOAS is where you want to go, your parents should be a bit more understanding and not hinder you. You still have to pay for accommodation if you go to Durham, so what exactly is their logic in making you commute?
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[email protected]
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#4
(Original post by ZoZo1770)
Hi all,

I'm currently in a dilemma about which Uni to put as my firm choice and was wondering if I could get some opinions. I'm currently studying English Lit (Pre-U), Music and Japanese (both A2), want to continue with Japanese at Uni before doing postgrad Music, and I currently hold an AAB (non subject-specific) offer from Durham and an Unconditional from SOAS (but only if I firm). Thing is, I can't decide which to go for, although I'm leaning towards SOAS. Perhaps you could tell me what you think?

Here are the pros and cons of each (in my view):

Durham

Pros

  • World 100 University
  • Top 5 in the UK (according to the Top UK University Guide)
  • Collegiate system for a nice community feel
  • Durham is favoured in terms of future employability
  • Russell group Uni and known for being very prestigious
  • Beautiful campus, river, etc. (I got into the Castle, too, so that's a bonus)
  • Cute little town and convenient in terms of necessities
  • Really nice Music and Drama, which is a must for me
  • It's far away so I can finally escape home (I live in Hertfordshire)

Cons
  • There isn't much to do in Durham, I'm worried I'd get bored after being there for three years
  • I'm honestly worried about meeting my offer. Although I've been predicted A*A*A (A in Japanese) and I need a grade lower than those to get in, Japanese A2 is basically designed for native speakers and the A Level is harder than the first year of degree (according to my teacher). Whereas I can afford to put in 10 or so hours of work a day if I were studying it at Uni, obviously I can't do that at A Level and Japanese is a subject that really does require that.


SOAS

Pros
  • No. 1 institution for Asian languages
  • Unconditional offer which takes off huge amounts of pressure this year
  • Recognised for being very elite and producing loads of heads of state, ambassadors, etc.
  • Has nearly 50% international students and I love the idea of meeting people from such a range of cultures
  • All the world's leading academics for my subject would teach there
  • They're arguably the most left-wing University - I feel like I'd get on with the students there far better for that reason as I'm very liberal (Durham is apparently the opposite - but don't quote me on that. Also, I know these are just generalisations)
  • Year abroad at SOAS has loads more choice in terms of Japanese universities compared to Durham
  • If I'm looking at postgrad Music then London is the place to be when it comes to making contacts
  • There is everything and more in London
  • Massive students union where I'll meet loads of people with the same interests as me and plenty opportunities for Music and Drama

Cons
  • My parents flat-out refuse to let me live in London due to it being expensive and 'not worth the debt' and will make me commute. Trying to convince them otherwise is proving to be very, very difficult.
  • I absolutely refuse to commute.


Thoughts on this?

Thank you!
Unless you live very close to London commuting will become very expensive and very time consuming
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loperdoper
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As above, it sounds like you want to go to SOAS, but your parents are holding you back. You'll be 18 once you go to uni, and they can't really "make you" do anything.

In terms of debt, most Durham colleges are catered, making them about £6,000 a year in costs. This is pretty much the same as getting a room in London student housing (although you will have to cough up food costs), so your debt won't be much different - especially considering the minimum wage is higher in London, so if you wanted to have a part-time job alongside your studies then that could easily cover food (and possibly bills) for the week.
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mcliz
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#6
(Original post by ZoZo1770)
Hi all,

I'm currently in a dilemma about which Uni to put as my firm choice and was wondering if I could get some opinions. I'm currently studying English Lit (Pre-U), Music and Japanese (both A2), want to continue with Japanese at Uni before doing postgrad Music, and I currently hold an AAB (non subject-specific) offer from Durham and an Unconditional from SOAS (but only if I firm). Thing is, I can't decide which to go for, although I'm leaning towards SOAS. Perhaps you could tell me what you think?

Here are the pros and cons of each (in my view):

Durham

Pros

  • World 100 University
  • Top 5 in the UK (according to the Top UK University Guide)
  • Collegiate system for a nice community feel
  • Durham is favoured in terms of future employability
  • Russell group Uni and known for being very prestigious
  • Beautiful campus, river, etc. (I got into the Castle, too, so that's a bonus)
  • Cute little town and convenient in terms of necessities
  • Really nice Music and Drama, which is a must for me
  • It's far away so I can finally escape home (I live in Hertfordshire)

Cons
  • There isn't much to do in Durham, I'm worried I'd get bored after being there for three years
  • I'm honestly worried about meeting my offer. Although I've been predicted A*A*A (A in Japanese) and I need a grade lower than those to get in, Japanese A2 is basically designed for native speakers and the A Level is harder than the first year of degree (according to my teacher). Whereas I can afford to put in 10 or so hours of work a day if I were studying it at Uni, obviously I can't do that at A Level and Japanese is a subject that really does require that.


SOAS

Pros
  • No. 1 institution for Asian languages
  • Unconditional offer which takes off huge amounts of pressure this year
  • Recognised for being very elite and producing loads of heads of state, ambassadors, etc.
  • Has nearly 50% international students and I love the idea of meeting people from such a range of cultures
  • All the world's leading academics for my subject would teach there
  • They're arguably the most left-wing University - I feel like I'd get on with the students there far better for that reason as I'm very liberal (Durham is apparently the opposite - but don't quote me on that. Also, I know these are just generalisations)
  • Year abroad at SOAS has loads more choice in terms of Japanese universities compared to Durham
  • If I'm looking at postgrad Music then London is the place to be when it comes to making contacts
  • There is everything and more in London
  • Massive students union where I'll meet loads of people with the same interests as me and plenty opportunities for Music and Drama

Cons
  • My parents flat-out refuse to let me live in London due to it being expensive and 'not worth the debt' and will make me commute. Trying to convince them otherwise is proving to be very, very difficult.
  • I absolutely refuse to commute.


Thoughts on this?

Thank you!
An added benefit of SOAS is the fantastic world music department - they have a great programme of seminars and concerts (just to add to your many good reasons to go to London).

Would you contemplate a part-time job to help top up your finances? It's very difficult when your maintenance loan is assessed on parental income, and they can effectively force your hand by refusing to top up your loan if you go against their wishes. Do you think it would come to that? If so, another option might be to defer a year and get a job while living at home so that you can save. That way you can make an independent decision on where you want to go.
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ZoZo1770
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(Original post by mcliz)
An added benefit of SOAS is the fantastic world music department - they have a great programme of seminars and concerts (just to add to your many good reasons to go to London).

Would you contemplate a part-time job to help top up your finances? It's very difficult when your maintenance loan is assessed on parental income, and they can effectively force your hand by refusing to top up your loan if you go against their wishes. Do you think it would come to that? If so, another option might be to defer a year and get a job while living at home so that you can save. That way you can make an independent decision on where you want to go.
Oh, I'd definitely consider getting a part-time job, no question about that. It's just proving very difficult as it's mainly my dad who is refusing to fund me because he genuinely doesn't see the point of studying languages or going to Uni and he's very difficult person to work with... I clash with him quite a lot, he has a temper, and so I couldn't bear the thought of studying for a degree whilst living at home - it'd be very tense. I have so many of my teachers on my side who are prepared to talk to him but in the event that it doesn't work out, I'm not sure what to do. I suppose it'd have to be Durham, I guess.
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Onoderas
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(Original post by ZoZo1770)
I suppose it'd have to be Durham, I guess.
I can answer any questions you have about Japanese at Durham if you have any
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ZoZo1770
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(Original post by Onoderas)
I can answer any questions you have about Japanese at Durham if you have any
Hi! What's your take on the course and the department? I'm a little wary only because it's a new subject that hasn't been offered at Durham for very long, and when I visited the Insight Day recently I didn't feel like I was given proper info on what the course would entail, only a taster lesson in basic Japanese...

In your view, what the pros and cons of the course? Do you feel you're getting enough out of it?

Thanks!
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Onoderas
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(Original post by ZoZo1770)
Hi! What's your take on the course and the department? I'm a little wary only because it's a new subject that hasn't been offered at Durham for very long, and when I visited the Insight Day recently I didn't feel like I was given proper info on what the course would entail, only a taster lesson in basic Japanese...

In your view, what the pros and cons of the course? Do you feel you're getting enough out of it?

Thanks!
The department itself is the Modern Languages Department which is right at the top of the country so it's nothing to worry about! Durham has also been offering Japanese Language modules for years, and Japanese Studies was also on its programme until 2007, so it's not ENTIRELY new. I think the insight day issue is mainly due to the Japanese section being one of the smallest language departments, and the department having to run induction for about 10 courses so I wouldn't worry about that! I actually didn't attend the insight day so I can't compare sorry .

I would say that the Japanese Language lessons are of amazing quality, they move fast but not at a pace where you get left behind, and you make astounding progress. Help is also available whenever, so if you're stuck you can always get assistance. Also, around October/November time students from Teikyo university in Japan come on an exchange, and you get the opportunity to meet with them and make friends/language partners to practice!

If you're looking for JUST a language based degree though I would look elsewhere. Whilst language will be your biggest module (double credits) you'll also do culture and history. I think it may be different for freshers next year as they're employing new professors however. This year culture went right back to the beginnings of Japanese civilisation with things such as the Jomon, Heian period etc, then worked through Genji Monogatari, Manyoshu, Nihon Shoki, to Murakami, Soseki, Manga and so on. History was run by the History department, which is challenging if you don't have the A level but I think it'll be by the language department this coming year so it won't be an issue.

Overall though I'd say I'm getting more than enough out of it, especially in terms of language!
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ZoZo1770
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(Original post by Onoderas)
The department itself is the Modern Languages Department which is right at the top of the country so it's nothing to worry about! Durham has also been offering Japanese Language modules for years, and Japanese Studies was also on its programme until 2007, so it's not ENTIRELY new. I think the insight day issue is mainly due to the Japanese section being one of the smallest language departments, and the department having to run induction for about 10 courses so I wouldn't worry about that! I actually didn't attend the insight day so I can't compare sorry .

I would say that the Japanese Language lessons are of amazing quality, they move fast but not at a pace where you get left behind, and you make astounding progress. Help is also available whenever, so if you're stuck you can always get assistance. Also, around October/November time students from Teikyo university in Japan come on an exchange, and you get the opportunity to meet with them and make friends/language partners to practice!

If you're looking for JUST a language based degree though I would look elsewhere. Whilst language will be your biggest module (double credits) you'll also do culture and history. I think it may be different for freshers next year as they're employing new professors however. This year culture went right back to the beginnings of Japanese civilisation with things such as the Jomon, Heian period etc, then worked through Genji Monogatari, Manyoshu, Nihon Shoki, to Murakami, Soseki, Manga and so on. History was run by the History department, which is challenging if you don't have the A level but I think it'll be by the language department this coming year so it won't be an issue.

Overall though I'd say I'm getting more than enough out of it, especially in terms of language!
Thanks, that was really useful! Definitely sounds reassuring - also, how many contact hours per week are there? And do you feel that the workload is manageable if you wanted time for a social life/job?
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Onoderas
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(Original post by ZoZo1770)
Thanks, that was really useful! Definitely sounds reassuring - also, how many contact hours per week are there? And do you feel that the workload is manageable if you wanted time for a social life/job?
Sorry for a late reply! For language we have 6 hours a week. One 2 hour session and then one hour sessions for the rest of the week, so there isn't a day that we don't have language classes. The others are less, just lectures/seminars but that's the same with every arts degree. So overall I'd say about 10/14 hours (depending on whether or not seminars are in the same week). But of course! It's just down to you to manage it all effectively and if you achieve that you can do anything with your spare time . When do you have to make your UCAS decision by?
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ZoZo1770
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(Original post by Onoderas)
Sorry for a late reply! For language we have 6 hours a week. One 2 hour session and then one hour sessions for the rest of the week, so there isn't a day that we don't have language classes. The others are less, just lectures/seminars but that's the same with every arts degree. So overall I'd say about 10/14 hours (depending on whether or not seminars are in the same week). But of course! It's just down to you to manage it all effectively and if you achieve that you can do anything with your spare time . When do you have to make your UCAS decision by?
I don't have to make my decision until 6 May, so I've got a bit of time left. Thanks for all the info, you've been very helpful!
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saschaisdead
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im a year late lol but which one did you pick in the end and why? Trying to decide between the two.
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TheTechN1304
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(Original post by saschaisdead)
im a year late lol but which one did you pick in the end and why? Trying to decide between the two.
OP went for SOAS in the end but didn't like it and wanted to change

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=3895055
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