Hey, as you have found SOAS and London indeed have a lot of positives going for them! As someone halfway through the first year of a part-time MA in International Relations and Diplomacy I would highly recommend SOAS. As you pointed out it is a uniquely diverse experience, both in terms of where students are from but also in terms of the ideas and experiences that they can bring to all lectures and seminars. The best of this is brought out by the course conveyors who are really approachable, as you say have fantastic connections and experience in the real world, and also offer a really refreshing perspective on the structures and systems of all things international and diplomatic. There are also so many cool modules available to take or audit as you will be able to see from the website. The field trip is looking unlikely to happen this year, but the staff are very optimistic about 2022.
It is not common for university’s in England to offer one year MA’s in the evening, this is usually the case with part-time. SOAS I found is very accommodating with this, and many professors will adapt around you if you reach out.
You are spot on again about London being the place to be. I did my undergraduate at UCL so can say first-hand that this city offers so much. Covid aside, there are so many events going on and so much on offer entertainment wise. In terms of travel everywhere is super easy to get to, I often travelled to see friends in Reading or Surrey. There are also so many other students from London university’s you will be able to meet, which along with the networking events offered by SOAS will mean you can really create some strong links to support yourself socially and professionally. I actually had a friend who after doing his BA in Bath has moved to London for an MA because he was looking to find more opportunities for work, socialising and genuinely cool events.
In terms of accommodation, I personally have my own flat. But every student I speak to is always grumbling about accommodation, and having stayed over at accommodation in Warwick, Manchester or Newcastle they are never that great.
It is true both studying and living in London is expensive though, and this is one of the trade-offs students have to debate hardest about. Non-corona time I would 1000% say the trade off is worth it, however as the situation stands now, there is not much difference between what you can do in Bath and what you can do here. The changing situation of restrictions will be the main thing to watch out for.
In terms of campus experience, you will find that London becomes your campus. With the transport systems and many Uni’s being in a pretty small area of the city it has the potential to have that campus bubble feel to it.
That being said it is big, and if you are daunted by sheer number of things going on and things being more than walking distance maybe smaller campus works better, but you miss out a lot of the action.