mimilala
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I've received offers from both Sheffield and SOAS for Chinese, but I'm really split on which one to pick as my firm choice.

I really liked the course at SOAS, and the teaching staff seemed great, however I'm not sure about living in London. The accomodation looked really quite dire and was pretty expensive as well. In addition the careers services there didn't look great, and weren't particularly helpful when talking them at the open day. I also feel a little apprehensive about the political culture at SOAS - it seems intimidating.

I also went to the Sheffield applicants day recently and was pleasantly surprised about how nice the uni was. The careers service seemed great, and the course offered lots of modules I was interested in. Sheffield also has much nicer accomodation. I liked the city and the uni a lot.

Has anyone else applied for these course? Which one are you choosing and why? Is there anyone who is currently on one of these courses that can answer why they picked it?
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Hi, I haven't applied for the course you've applied for but I have applied to SOAS and honestly, I would agree with you that the political culture there seems really intimidating but I guess it's good that they're passionate about speaking up about things they care about and if you're not a fan of getting involved in all the political stuff then you don't have to. From an outsider's point of view, I feel like SOAS really caters towards people who have more of a niche interest in whatever subject they've studying. Maybe 'quirky' and 'artsy' is the right word to use? And since I don't think I'm very 'quirky' or 'artsy' or likely to get involved in any political rallies or protests, I've decided that whilst the course at SOAS is great, the uni unfortunately, is not for me.

SOAS is also a very small uni compared to Sheffield so I feel like it depends on what sort of uni experience you're after.
From what you've said so far, I'd say you're leaning towards Sheffield
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Smoke and Bone
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(Original post by mimilala)
I've received offers from both Sheffield and SOAS for Chinese, but I'm really split on which one to pick as my firm choice.

I really liked the course at SOAS, and the teaching staff seemed great, however I'm not sure about living in London. The accomodation looked really quite dire and was pretty expensive as well. In addition the careers services there didn't look great, and weren't particularly helpful when talking them at the open day. I also feel a little apprehensive about the political culture at SOAS - it seems intimidating.

I also went to the Sheffield applicants day recently and was pleasantly surprised about how nice the uni was. The careers service seemed great, and the course offered lots of modules I was interested in. Sheffield also has much nicer accomodation. I liked the city and the uni a lot.

Has anyone else applied for these course? Which one are you choosing and why? Is there anyone who is currently on one of these courses that can answer why they picked it?
Hey! I'm currently in my third year studying Chinese (and International Relations) at SOAS, and I really like it. First-year has a focus on very intensive language, which was great preparation for our year in Beijing (year abroad is the best part of the course imo). Please let me know any other questions you have about the Chinese course at SOAS!

I'm surprised the careers services didn't come across well - I've used them a lot this year, and they helped me get two internships (one at the China Dialogue Trust, one at Tong Digitial, a social commerce company promoting British brands in China). They helped me find the job adverts, read through and improved my applications, and did a practice interview with me.

The political climate can be a bit intimidating to start off with if it's not what interests you, but it's easy to find friends with similar views to you. What I really like is how it constantly challenges you and makes you aware of issues in the world you may not have been exposed to before.

I personally like the fact SOAS is a small uni - the campus is super small and it means you get to know a lot of people really well.

Please let me know any other questions you have about SOAS!

Lizzie (SOAS Digital Ambassador)
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mimilala
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(Original post by Smoke and Bone)
Hey! I'm currently in my third year studying Chinese (and International Relations) at SOAS, and I really like it. First-year has a focus on very intensive language, which was great preparation for our year in Beijing (year abroad is the best part of the course imo). Please let me know any other questions you have about the Chinese course at SOAS!

I'm surprised the careers services didn't come across well - I've used them a lot this year, and they helped me get two internships (one at the China Dialogue Trust, one at Tong Digitial, a social commerce company promoting British brands in China). They helped me find the job adverts, read through and improved my applications, and did a practice interview with me.

The political climate can be a bit intimidating to start off with if it's not what interests you, but it's easy to find friends with similar views to you. What I really like is how it constantly challenges you and makes you aware of issues in the world you may not have been exposed to before.

I personally like the fact SOAS is a small uni - the campus is super small and it means you get to know a lot of people really well.

Please let me know any other questions you have about SOAS!

Lizzie (SOAS Digital Ambassador)
Thank you so much for your reply!

I do have a few questions:
- How many students are there on the Chinese course?
- How many students drop out in the first year?
- How many students are there on the Korean and Japanese courses?
- What is the accomodation like?
- How much do students at SOAS interact with the students from other London unis?
- What careers do most students on the Chinese course go into after graduation?
- How many opportunities are there to practise Chinese with students from China?
- Is there much essay writing in the course?
- Are there any bursaries to cover the year abroad?
- Does SOAS participate in many events with the Confucius Institute?
- How many Chinese language classes are there, and how many students are in them?
- Are the language classes geared more towards everyday situations, or reading literature and formal texts?
- The course seems intense, how much free time would you say you have for hobbies?
- Are there many societies at SOAS? I really liked the wide range available at Sheffield.
- Is there much of a drinking culture at SOAS?
- Are there any modules on media translation or Chinese art?
- Are there any facilities for arts (i.e. painting) near the uni?
- Most people where I live have never heard of SOAS, is the uni well regarded by employers?
- What is the accomodation in Beijing like?
- What preparation would you advise before going to uni?
- How many people on your course have managed to get internships or work experience?
- How do students get chosen to participate in the Chinese Bridge competition?
- How many hours of language classes are there a week?
- What is the teacher to student ratio?
Last edited by mimilala; 4 weeks ago
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Smoke and Bone
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(Original post by mimilala)
Thank you so much for your reply!

I do have a few questions:
- How many students are there on the Chinese course?
- How many students drop out in the first year?
- How many students are there on the Korean and Japanese courses?
- What is the accomodation like?
- How much do students at SOAS interact with the students from other London unis?
- What careers do most students on the Chinese course go into after graduation?
- How many opportunities are there to practise Chinese with students from China?
- Is there much essay writing in the course?
- Are there any bursaries to cover the year abroad?
- Does SOAS participate in many events with the Confucius Institute?
- How many Chinese language classes are there, and how many students are in them?
- Are the language classes geared more towards everyday situations, or reading literature and formal texts?
- The course seems intense, how much free time would you say you have for hobbies?
- Are there many societies at SOAS? I really liked the wide range available at Sheffield.
- Is there much of a drinking culture at SOAS?
- Are there any modules on media translation or Chinese art?
- Are there any facilities for arts (i.e. painting) near the uni?
- Most people where I live have never heard of SOAS, is the uni well regarded by employers?
- What is the accomodation in Beijing like?
- What preparation would you advise before going to uni?
- How many people on your course have managed to get internships or work experience?
- How do students get chosen to participate in the Chinese Bridge competition?
- How many hours of language classes are there a week?
- What is the teacher to student ratio?
Hey! Sorry, it's been a crazy few weeks. Hope you and yours are safe and well!

- How many students are there on the Chinese course?

In my year there are about 35 students.

- How many students drop out in the first year?

In my year, I think 4 people dropped out in first year. One changed her course in the first week to Hindi, and the others dropped out throughout the year.

- How many students are there on the Korean and Japanese courses?

Not sure exactly, I'll ask some friends and get back to you.

- What is the accomodation like?

Dinwiddy (the SOAS-only hall) is pretty basic, there are flats of about 6 people, everyone has an en-suite and there's a shared bathroom. Good social life though. I stayed in Garden Halls, a University of London (UoL) halls, which was super fancy. There are a lot of options, depending on what your looking for and what you want to pay.

- How much do students at SOAS interact with the students from other London unis?

In my experience, quite a lot. I stayed in an inter-collegiate UoL hall, so loads of my friends are from UCL. There are also a lot of societies that are for all UoL students - for example, I did ballroom dance classes in my first year and met people from other unis. Its also fun to go to the bars of other unis, and you can meet a lot of people there.

- What careers do most students on the Chinese course go into after graduation?

It seems to really depend. Some people go into diplomacy, teaching, business, journalism etc. Others do something completely unrelated.

- How many opportunities are there to practise Chinese with students from China?

In your year abroad, loads! In London, it's really up to you. The SOAS Confucious Institue runs weekly language exchanges, so if you go there you can meet some Chinese students to study with. I've met a few language partners kind of randomly - at society events, and online. Other London unis have a lot of Chinese students, so if you're proactive it's easy to meet people.

- Is there much essay writing in the course?

Depends on your modules. In language modules no. In culture modules (e.g. Chinese History, cinema etc) there are usually a few coursework essays and the exam is essays. If you do a joint degree, your other subject will probably be mainly essays, unless you choose a language.

- Are there any bursaries to cover the year abroad?

Yeah, Hanban does a scholarship that covers tuition and half of the accommodation costs - you have to do HSK3 and apply. About 15 of my classmates got it.

- Does SOAS participate in many events with the Confucius Institute?

Yes, we have a SOAS Confucius institute. They run a lot of events (language exchanges, cultural events) and also supported the CNY show we ran.

- How many Chinese language classes are there, and how many students are in them?

I'm not really sure what you mean. We have reading, writing, and speaking and listening classes. It depends what year you're in for how many students are in the classes. At the moment I just take reading and writing, there are about 15-20 students in each class.

- Are the language classes geared more towards everyday situations, or reading literature and formal texts?

Depends a lot on the teacher. In my experience, it's more geared towards formal learning. We didn't do that much practice of everyday situations until we got to Beijing.

- The course seems intense, how much free time would you say you have for hobbies?

Personally, I had loads of time for hobbies. Just make sure you manage your time well and don't stress too much.

- Are there many societies at SOAS? I really liked the wide range available at Sheffield.

There is a wide range of societies at SOAS, but some of them are quite niche and small. It's really easy to set up your own though. We don't have particularly big sports teams.

- Is there much of a drinking culture at SOAS?

Yeah, a lot of people (including me) love going to the SOAS bar regularly and going out in London. About half of my friends don't drink though.

- Are there any modules on media translation or Chinese art?

I haven't come across any yet - maybe in fourth year. You can check on the SOAS website. There are modules in cinema and literature though.

- Are there any facilities for arts (i.e. painting) near the uni?

Not that I've come across, although a lot of people at SOAS seem quite artsy.

- Most people where I live have never heard of SOAS, is the uni well regarded by employers?

It's well known by people in the field of sinology - so firms with an interest in China will definitely have heard of it, and it's generally well-regarded in my experience.

- What is the accomodation in Beijing like?

There are a lot of different options. Most people stay in dorms on campus. In the first semester, I stayed in Liyun - pretty nice single-person rooms with an ensuite. Some people stayed in different dorms and had roommates - most people didn't enjoy that. In the second semester, I lived in an apartment off-campus with some friends.

- What preparation would you advise before going to uni?

Enjoy your time with your friends from home. It might be a long time before you're all together again. Learn some characters so you have the basics down before you start uni. Try and develop your confidence so you're not scared in class or when meeting new people.

- How many people on your course have managed to get internships or work experience?

Everyone who has actively applied.

- How do students get chosen to participate in the Chinese Bridge competition?

You self-nominate. I think 1 person from my year and 1 person from the year above were going to do it (I think it's cancelled now though). It's a lot of stress and you need to commit a lot of time so most people aren't interested in participating.

- How many hours of language classes are there a week?

In first year, about 16.
On year abroad, about 18/20.
Third-year, it depends. I only have 4 because I changed to a double honours degree. If you do single honours Chinese, it's about 8 depending on your module choices.

- What is the teacher to student ratio?

Depends on the class. Normally about 1-15.

Hope this was helpful!
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mimilala
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Smoke and Bone)
Hey! Sorry, it's been a crazy few weeks. Hope you and yours are safe and well!

- How many students are there on the Chinese course?

In my year there are about 35 students.

- How many students drop out in the first year?

In my year, I think 4 people dropped out in first year. One changed her course in the first week to Hindi, and the others dropped out throughout the year.

- How many students are there on the Korean and Japanese courses?

Not sure exactly, I'll ask some friends and get back to you.

- What is the accomodation like?

Dinwiddy (the SOAS-only hall) is pretty basic, there are flats of about 6 people, everyone has an en-suite and there's a shared bathroom. Good social life though. I stayed in Garden Halls, a University of London (UoL) halls, which was super fancy. There are a lot of options, depending on what your looking for and what you want to pay.

- How much do students at SOAS interact with the students from other London unis?

In my experience, quite a lot. I stayed in an inter-collegiate UoL hall, so loads of my friends are from UCL. There are also a lot of societies that are for all UoL students - for example, I did ballroom dance classes in my first year and met people from other unis. Its also fun to go to the bars of other unis, and you can meet a lot of people there.

- What careers do most students on the Chinese course go into after graduation?

It seems to really depend. Some people go into diplomacy, teaching, business, journalism etc. Others do something completely unrelated.

- How many opportunities are there to practise Chinese with students from China?

In your year abroad, loads! In London, it's really up to you. The SOAS Confucious Institue runs weekly language exchanges, so if you go there you can meet some Chinese students to study with. I've met a few language partners kind of randomly - at society events, and online. Other London unis have a lot of Chinese students, so if you're proactive it's easy to meet people.

- Is there much essay writing in the course?

Depends on your modules. In language modules no. In culture modules (e.g. Chinese History, cinema etc) there are usually a few coursework essays and the exam is essays. If you do a joint degree, your other subject will probably be mainly essays, unless you choose a language.

- Are there any bursaries to cover the year abroad?

Yeah, Hanban does a scholarship that covers tuition and half of the accommodation costs - you have to do HSK3 and apply. About 15 of my classmates got it.

- Does SOAS participate in many events with the Confucius Institute?

Yes, we have a SOAS Confucius institute. They run a lot of events (language exchanges, cultural events) and also supported the CNY show we ran.

- How many Chinese language classes are there, and how many students are in them?

I'm not really sure what you mean. We have reading, writing, and speaking and listening classes. It depends what year you're in for how many students are in the classes. At the moment I just take reading and writing, there are about 15-20 students in each class.

- Are the language classes geared more towards everyday situations, or reading literature and formal texts?

Depends a lot on the teacher. In my experience, it's more geared towards formal learning. We didn't do that much practice of everyday situations until we got to Beijing.

- The course seems intense, how much free time would you say you have for hobbies?

Personally, I had loads of time for hobbies. Just make sure you manage your time well and don't stress too much.

- Are there many societies at SOAS? I really liked the wide range available at Sheffield.

There is a wide range of societies at SOAS, but some of them are quite niche and small. It's really easy to set up your own though. We don't have particularly big sports teams.

- Is there much of a drinking culture at SOAS?

Yeah, a lot of people (including me) love going to the SOAS bar regularly and going out in London. About half of my friends don't drink though.

- Are there any modules on media translation or Chinese art?

I haven't come across any yet - maybe in fourth year. You can check on the SOAS website. There are modules in cinema and literature though.

- Are there any facilities for arts (i.e. painting) near the uni?

Not that I've come across, although a lot of people at SOAS seem quite artsy.

- Most people where I live have never heard of SOAS, is the uni well regarded by employers?

It's well known by people in the field of sinology - so firms with an interest in China will definitely have heard of it, and it's generally well-regarded in my experience.

- What is the accomodation in Beijing like?

There are a lot of different options. Most people stay in dorms on campus. In the first semester, I stayed in Liyun - pretty nice single-person rooms with an ensuite. Some people stayed in different dorms and had roommates - most people didn't enjoy that. In the second semester, I lived in an apartment off-campus with some friends.

- What preparation would you advise before going to uni?

Enjoy your time with your friends from home. It might be a long time before you're all together again. Learn some characters so you have the basics down before you start uni. Try and develop your confidence so you're not scared in class or when meeting new people.

- How many people on your course have managed to get internships or work experience?

Everyone who has actively applied.

- How do students get chosen to participate in the Chinese Bridge competition?

You self-nominate. I think 1 person from my year and 1 person from the year above were going to do it (I think it's cancelled now though). It's a lot of stress and you need to commit a lot of time so most people aren't interested in participating.

- How many hours of language classes are there a week?

In first year, about 16.
On year abroad, about 18/20.
Third-year, it depends. I only have 4 because I changed to a double honours degree. If you do single honours Chinese, it's about 8 depending on your module choices.

- What is the teacher to student ratio?

Depends on the class. Normally about 1-15.

Hope this was helpful!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions

The only other things I want to ask are:
- How many students start the course with prior Chinese language experience?
- What kinds of vocab do you learn in the first year? Is it more general vocab (i.e. food, jobs, places etc.) or vocab geared towards formal texts?
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