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Edward Allen - Chinese Studies

'I came to St John's in 2007 having studied for the International Baccalaureate in Sixth Form instead of A-Levels. I had started to learn about Chinese language and history during my final three years at school, and was eager to continue my studies at University. St John's provided the perfect environment to make friends with people who were pursuing their own passions in a variety of exciting directions, to study without distractions in some of the most beautiful buildings I had seen, and to be inspired to a new level by my teachers and new friends.

'Looking back, I now appreciate things about College life that I did not fully take in at the time. Not only was I able to happily pursue the questions that I wanted to, but social events, clubs and spontaneous meetings in the common-room and bar (even if I was trying to read in peace) all made for an enjoyable balance of work and play. The College supervision system ensures a relationship with your chosen teacher that, in my case, was and continues to be a huge influence on my thinking, whilst the tutoring system allows for you to feel at home with friendly members of the College who understand the full range of emotions that accompany the move to university. All of these things were important to me at the time, and I appreciate now how rare it is for all to come under one roof. When you consider the Cambridge traditions, the music concerts and variety of other cultural events that you can also become involved with at St John's, the College truly does cater for everybody.

'Anybody who applies for Asian and Middle Eastern Studies should expect an exciting course that requires many hours at the faculty or in the libraries, and in most cases a significant time abroad. This will require combining the connections you will form with the College with those at the Faculty, and means that the relationship with your supervisor may take on special importance. If you feel that you would enjoy the course itself, then St John's is still to my mind the ideal place to start your own journey.'

 - Edward Allen, November 2013