Rigorous and fulfilling academic experience! Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/31/2016 to 12/10/2016 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury – CMRS Oxford Humanities Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The Oxford tutorial system treats students like adults. At first it can be challenging to acclimate to the independence and self-discipline of managing your time, and meeting the demanding tutorial system. However, this program and the highly qualified tutors leave you with stronger researching, arguing, and writing skills that are essential to any field and career. Though this program was exhausting and intellectually intensive, in hindsight - it was worth it. Beware that you will have little to no time outside of your tutorial system/library visits to travel. This is definitely a study abroad program not a travel abroad program.

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

Bernard and Emma are fantastic and helpful. Their humor and sarcasm was greatly appreciated, as was their willingness to understand and help. Some students did have an issue with how helpful the administration was in terms of tutor conflicts/flexibility, but my experience was fortunately great!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Center of town - wonderful location, that you'll appreciate more and more throughout the semester!

* Food:

Most students cook in the CMRS kitchen. Our MIIS intern was incredible and led cooking workshops for students that may not have had much prior cooking experience. For those that love to slow down and cook, CMRS is great! Sometimes the kitchen can get hectic/busy/messy with a lot of students cooking, but community guidelines/common sense kept things running smoothly most of the time. Keble College offers dining services but food in Oxford (in and outside of the college) is rather expensive! It's important to set up a budget and buy/cook food communally with other students in order to keep your wallet in check and prevent food waste! There's a fantastic weekly farmer's market right down the street, multiple grocery stores/restaurants/cafes, and even local food co-ops.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Going in to CMRS, I knew that this was the most commonly cited "con" of the program. I also knew that I wanted an academically rigorous semester abroad, so this did not bother me much. That being said, I met wonderful people through Oxford clubs and societies. I especially recommend researching town activities and events, because the university can be a bubble! I found that I enjoyed spending most of my time with town council groups, community farms, and town athletic clubs instead of the university's because it was more important for me to understand Oxford life beyond the university. You will have to be proactive in making sure that you are satisfied with your experience integrating socially and culturally because CMRS students are isolated in a separate building from the rest of the Oxford students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?


* Safety:

Common sense is your friend.

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)

Food is expensive in Oxford! Weekly budgets are your friend!


* 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

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Tutors
  • Independence
* What could be improved?
  • Social integration
  • More study spaces at St. Michael's
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You are going to have to work incredibly hard and it can be exhausting and frustrating during the weeks. However, in hindsight you will realized how far you've come in terms of academic growth. You will not have much time to travel or explore England or Europe if you do not budget your time proactively.

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!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Vikings Archeology

Course Department:
Instructor: Letty Ten Harkel
Instruction Language:
Comments: Letty is not only incredibly engaging and thoughtful in how she approaches the weekly tutorial sessions, but she also provides helpful feedback and challenges students to think and analyze critically. With her guidance, I left CMRS with both breadth and depth of Vikings knowledge and became a much stronger writer.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Gender and History

Course Department:
Instructor: Aurelia Annat
Instruction Language:
Comments: Gender and History is a challenging but phenomenally fulfilling course. Aurelia is extremely knowledgeable and expects a lot out of her students. Her incredibly well thought out syllabus and engaging weekly discussions allowed me to analyze both the history of gender and its current implications with greater scrutiny. This course is a must!
Credit Transfer Issues: