Oxford: An Intensive and Beautiful Experience Past Review

By (HISTORY., Carleton College) for

Arcadia: Oxford - University of Oxford

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Oxford was incredible. During my time there, I have fallen even more in love with academia and with England. I am now considering applying there for grad school at some point in the future.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

For my two tutorials, I was given two reading lists: one 16 pages and the other 8 pages long. I wrote a total of twelve essays, which amounted to over 90 pages in 8 weeks. This was quite an intensive study experience as a result. I received comments on my essays when my Tutors gave them back to me, but I did not receive marks to indicate how I was doing until the end of the term. I did intensive reading, wrote an essay, and then discussed the material with my tutor (ie professor) one on one for an hour every week (or every other week), in which I was expected to know the material. This one on one system was different from the seminars I have taken here in the US - it required more confidence and self-assurance, but also inspired that confidence over time, as I gained a better idea of my own abilities. A wonderful experience overall.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The main visiting student coordinator at the college in Oxford where I was studying was very helpful and accessible. After the general Arcadia orientation in London, which was okay but not very organized, she did a further orientation with us. This second orientation was much more applicable, and the various on campus events that accompanied it helped as well. She was happy to answer questions if we went to her office during term, and she understood both the system we were coming from and the one we were joining.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

During the London orientation (Arcadia), we were housed in a very fancy hotel, and after a brief, couple hour orientation, were left to our own devices for a few days. (So we basically oriented ourselves.) During this time, we shared rooms with other American visiting students. At Oxford, I was housed on-campus, along the same corridor as other students in their final year as undergraduates, who were full-time Oxford students. I got to know a few of them fairly well. It was a very beautiful area. I was in a single with my own bathroom, and my room looked out on the Oxford-style quad. It was a safe area - the porter's lodge closed around 9 or 10PM, after which you could only get in if you had a key. The walk to lectures was a bit long (about 20-25 minutes if you were walking quickly), but this was because the college, Lady Margaret Hall, is outside of the city center. I really loved the living arrangements during term-time.

* Food:

The food in hall was quite good, although it took a while to get used to paying for everything a la carte. The prices were good, though, and the food was fairtrade and quite healthy. On the weekend, the dining halls are not open (except for Sunday dinner), so I ate in town or bought food at the grocery, Sainsbury's, and ate in the kitchen. There are a lot of wonderful sandwich shops in town. The weekly formal hall dinners were amazing and very elegant - I definitely recommend them.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My program (Arcadia) didn't really arrange any field trips or special events, unless you paid them extra, which I didn't. However, Oxford itself was amazing. I loved visiting the Ashmolean museum, the Sheldonian theatre, and the Bodleian libraries where I regularly studied. The lecture halls themselves were beautiful. I loved the events for Oxmas (an Oxford Christmas in the beginning of December before the students leave), which included stalls with sweets and roasted chestnuts, a ceremony for lighting the decorations, and a carol concert.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

HTH insurance helped us find a provider in Oxford that accepted them.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Dining in town could get quite expensive, so it was important to buy groceries and eat on-campus as well.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • It was a wonderful academic and personal experience.
* What could be improved?
  • Arcadia could be more responsive during the pre-departure months.