Incredibly fun and intellectually challenging July 24, 2018

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 10/02/2017 to 06/16/2018 with

Lincoln College, University of Oxford - Visiting Students Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was so worthwhile. I became a much better writer, editor, and scholar with all of the one-on-one attention of the tutorial system and peer editing, and the independent-learning way of Oxford. I loved how free I was to make up my own schedule for learning - going to whatever lectures I wanted to (I went to LOTS just because they were so good - they were all optional though!), and writing my essays at my own pace. The tutors were incredible and so kind and accessible (they both lived in college), and the topics we covered were so interesting. Oxford itself is such a cool place to study - it's so beautiful and historic. Most of all though, it was the friends I made that made my year. I've made friends for life on my year abroad.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Oxford's administration could be a little better. I was pretty confused what was going on when I first got to Lincoln College due to the lack of accessible help and lack of general infrastructure regarding visiting students. Everything is a bit disorganized, largely because of the college system (there are 35+ separate colleges, all of which run separately, at Oxford), so often times the English Faculty would be out of line with the college which would be out of line with the university, etc.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing was INCREDIBLE. I got a beautiful room (actually 3 rooms: a bedroom, a living room with a balcony, and an en suite bathroom!) overlooking Turl Street that was huge and aesthetic and beautiful. So accessible, so central, so old and beautiful.

* Food:

Really really good food at Lincoln. Cooked fresh by amazing chefs every day and super accommodating for food allergies (I'm gluten free) - couldn't be better. Would've maybe liked more salad options. The dining hall staff could be a bit rude but that's probably just because they were stressed.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I honestly wish I could've stayed at Lincoln! I integrated so much into the community that it was heartbreaking to leave all of my friends and teachers.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Honestly the healthcare system could have been better. The college nurse was hardly ever in, and although she was really nice, there wasn't much she could do in terms of running tests and do physical exams. I only stopped in to chat twice and she basically sent me off to the associated NHS clinic, which also couldn't run physical exams oddly.

* Safety:

Felt totally safe at Oxford! Way safer than America honestly!

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

It was one of the best years of my life - the Lincoln-Middlebury direct enrollment program is so great because you're totally immersed in the Lincoln College community, instead of living outside with other Midd students or Americans. Also I think it's so important to go for a year and not 1 or 2 terms. Oxford works on a trimester system, and you make your friends when you show up at "Freshers Week" in Michaelmas (Autumn) term. If you miss out on that, you've missed the boat to meet people in the same way as other Oxford students do. My other friends at the CMRS Middlebury Program didn't make any Oxford/local friends when they did their program at Oxford for 1.5 terms. I think it's SO SO important to enroll directly to get the full social and academic Oxford University experience.

Finances

* 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)

Oxford is a really expensive place to live and I definitely spent too much money. All of the social events cost money! Nothing is free and things are just generally more expensive there.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Not including the £35 I would spend through my college battels on food in the dining hall, I would probably spent £90 a week on food and other expenses per week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Definitely worth it splurging on a ball ticket (£70-£100) but you only really need to go to one, because you will otherwise spend SO much money. It primarily in the dining hall, because it's way cheaper. I would buy a tub of yogurt and eat that for breakfast every day, then eat lunch and dinner in the dining hall every day but Saturday. Going out clubbing is also expensive, so limiting that to once a week would be best for health, academics, and money.

Language

* 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
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people I met
  • Living in Oxford
  • The independent academic approach
* What could be improved?
  • Disorganized administration at Oxford
  • More infrastructure for confused study abroad students like me
  • Could've been less expensive - visiting students had to pau $60,000 whereas Oxford students only had to pay £9,00!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That although the first week or two will be a rough transition and people might seem a bit standoffish (Brits are generally not as super friendly right off the bat), you WILL find your people and have the time of your life. You will also get used to the workload! Don't stress about collections!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Shakespeare

Course Department: English
Instructor: Dr Benjamin Higgins
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Such an amazing course! I couldn't think of a better place to study Shakespeare than Oxford with a professor as knowledgeable as Ben Higgins. Lighter workload than other modules this year by a long shot because this course is divided over the space of two terms (next year being one of them). So only 2 2,000-word tutorial essays and 2 classes with presentations. The rest was optional lectures (but I went to all of them, multiple a day, just because they were so captivating!).
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Course Name/Rating:

Restoration Literature

Course Department: English
Instructor: Dr Ben Higgins
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Restoration was a great course. I learned so much. Ben Higgins really knows his stuff and would always be engaging and fun in class.
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Course Name/Rating:

Modern Literature

Course Department: English
Instructor: Dr Timothy Michael
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was one of my favourite courses that I took at Oxford - I read some of my favourite authors in the modern period, English and American alike. Instruction was incredible, the one-on-one tutorial system was amazing, and my peers were wonderful as well. Timothy Michael is a great tutor.
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Renaissance Literature

Course Department: English
Instructor: Dr Benjamin Higgins
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Renaissance literature was fascinating and I learned so much about how to write an Oxford essay. Class discussions were engaging and interesting and the tutorials were great.
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Victorian Literature

Course Department: English
Instructor: Dr Timothy Michael
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was incredibly interesting and challenging.
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Romantic Literature

Course Department: English
Instructor: Dr Timothy Michael
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I was definitely more in the swing of things at Oxford by the time Trinity Term came around and I was taking this course. I really enjoyed this course, the classes, the lectures, and the instruction. Oxford has taught me so much!
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