Oxford is hard, but rewarding Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/05/2017 to 04/15/2017 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury – CMRS Oxford Humanities Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from the tutorials I took, great choral music experience, and an appreciation of necking pints at the pub. So yeah, worthwhile.

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.

Incredible, personalized 1-1 tutoring, lots of support from program admin, very high level of study. It's Oxford, after all.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were great, although a bit overbearing to my tastes.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Fairly nice facility with good central location, but sort of a weird, ugly building. Also had almost only double rooms, which was annoying.

* Food:

I rarely ate in the Keble dining hall, so I mainly cooked or had take out. It's Britain, so quality was...variable.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The UK culture is not hard to assimilate to as an American, but I was annoyed that the program felt very disconnected from British oxford students. I had to go out of my way to associate with them and didn't really have enough time to form deep relationships.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

We even got to meet our doctor prior to the program. I had to go to the urgent care once and had 0 problems. Thanks, socialized medicine!

* Safety:

I never really felt unsafe, but the streets could sometimes feel slightly dodgy at night.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would have done a proper abroad year by direct enrolling at an Oxford college, rather than going through Middlebury.


* 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 was expensive, but I could have done everything more cheaply had I tried.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~100 pounds
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook for yourself and resist the urge to only eat take-out


* 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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Individualized Education
  • High level of academics
  • this food truck called Hassan's outside the Bodleian. Seriously.
* What could be improved?
  • work for non medieval and renaissance studies people
  • Workload
  • program is too short, should be two terms
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That oxford terms are realllllly short, and only coming for one is practically a waste of time

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Philosophy
Instructor: Dr. Jordan Bell
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Good introduction to British analytic philosophy and Anglophone philosophy of mind. However, the course was somewhat limited in its scope and interest in other branches of philosophy, or non-Anglophone philosophers (besides Descartes). It was a 1-1 weekly tutorial, and assignments were exclusively reading and writing essays.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.
Course Name/Rating:

International Environmental Policy

Course Department: Geography
Instructor: Liam Saddington
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Probably the best, and one of the most difficult, courses I've ever taken. Liam designed a whole curriculum around my interests, and our discussions were excellent. Again, a tutorial session with just reading and writing. Very provocative material
Credit Transfer Issues: No.
Course Name/Rating:

Medieval Political Philosophy Seminar

Course Department: Philosophy/Poli Sci/History
Instructor: Sophie Nichols
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The professor clearly didn't care about this class very much, and would often cancel or reschedule our class sessions. Her assignments were massive, undifferentiated blocks of reading that were difficult to complete on top of other coursework. However, she did know a lot about her field and readings were occasionally rewarding.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.
Course Name/Rating:

Europe and the World Research Paper Course

Course Department: Humanities
Instructor: Lucy Kaufman
Instruction Language: English
Comments: On the whole, solid advising for a research paper. However, I was annoyed that we couldn't have more freedom in choosing a paper topic, as I would have picked one closer to my actual academic area rather than trying to shoehorn an environmental topic into an unrelated field.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.