An academically rigorous, culture-filled exercise in independence January 04, 2023

By (Philosophy, Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/05/2022 to 12/03/2022 with

Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford - Visiting Students Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying at Oxford was the best academic experience of my life, and I made several fantastic friends, both locals and other abroad students. I gained a tremendous sense of independence and confidence in myself personally, socially, and academically, which I know will change the remainder of my academic experience for the better.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I had the best educational experience of my academic career at Oxford. It truly felt like I got out what I put into it--my coursework was tailored directly to my interests, and I was able to edit to syllabus to explore new, exciting topics as they arose. My tutors, both PhD students, were kind, empathetic, passionate about their respective subjects, patient, encouraging, and exceedingly well prepared. I looked forward to each and every tutorial.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Andrew and Claire are both lovely, responsive people. They are also both quite busy, and sometimes some communication slipped through the cracks, or it was assumed that we had knowledge of certain full-year student events that we, as international students, did not understand or know of we were invited to.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Toynbee was, while a beautifully placed dorm, falling apart in many places. There were several leaks, some of the floorboards came up, and the heaters often did not work adequately as the weathers got colder. I was placed in a room directly over the college bar, which, while fine and easy enough to adapt to, I would have appreciated warning about ahead of time due to the noise.

* Food:

After arriving for the Extended Michaelmas Term (starting September instead of the typical October), I learned that the dining hall would not be proving us food for the first few weeks, and therefore had to go out and buy cooking supplies and groceries. I was not anticipating this, and would have appreciated notice ahead of time so I might have prepared and packed differently.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The LMH nurse was kind, proactive, and helpful. I was dealing with a medical issue that could not be resolved abroad, but she did her utmost to make sure I was comfortable, was able to see a local doctor, and had prescriptions filled

* Safety:

As a young woman, I never felt unsafe, even walking alone in the city at night. A supremely safe and comfortable college, campus, and city.

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)

Having to cook for myself much more than expected resulted in a higher budget for groceries. I commuted to London often, but there are both affordable ways of doing so (the Oxtube) and less affordable (the train). Travel and groceries were the primary things I needed larger sums of money for.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? It depended on the week. Somewhere between $50-$200


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Other
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Tutorial System
  • Freedom
  • Location
* What could be improved?
  • Integration of international students into full-time student activities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Oxford's system demands self-accountability and discipline in order to succeed. No one is keeping tabs on your work or holding your hand. You are solely accountable for your experience. There is great support and regular check-ins, but your time is entirely your own in daunting but ultimately liberating ways.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!