Chapter 6: Professor Rubina Raja


“Classical archaeology was the perfect combination of different spheres of interests for Rubina Raja: the Mediterranean countries’ culture and the material culture as well as all the historical sources. She was attracted to the diversity in the source material that makes it possible to combine elements from different subject traditions in one discipline. Raja is a math student who has studied math, physics, chemistry, and English at a high level; so it wasn’t in the cards that she should study archaeology. She thought that she would study medicine, but she developed an interest in the more historical disciplines in high school. She graduated high school early and used the following two years playing music, among other things in a symphony orchestra, and she considered applying to the conservatory. She took some time to figure out what she wanted the most, and she chose classical archaeology. After her studies in Oxford, she got the opportunity to stay there and work on a project she had developed. Afterwards, she received a research scholarship. In her opinion, she wouldn’t have stayed in research if she hadn’t received those opportunities.”

»It wasn’t love at first sight, and I considered quitting after the first year, but I decided to give it a chance. I later applied to law school but, at the same time, prepared for the concurrent third year in the bachelor’s program where I could go to Rome and study. I studied Italian on the side during my second year at the university, and therefore, I spoke some Italian when I got to Rome. While I was there, I learned a lot; I came back to the essence of the course, and I think that was what made me decide that I wanted to finish my bachelor’s degree and then go abroad and get my master’s degree. Good teachers really mean a lot in terms of your choices and they are a part of forming you from the very first day you start studying. I think it is incredibly inspiring when someone is passionate about what they do and can convey research at a high level. This meant a lot for me when I went to Rome and later Oxford. My guidance counselor in Oxford was very important to me in a different way than you would normally imagine. He was a famous professor and has written a lot about antique portraits. He didn’t guide me that much, but he said two things that, looking back now, really had a big impact on me. He said: »Really…? « – and then you know that you should go home and think about it. And then he said: »You can’t have it both ways«. This meant that you had to be clear about your arguments and not be vague about your conclusions. «

You can read the full portrait of Professor Rubina Raja (in Danish) by downloading the chapter below.

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