A Beautiful and Fulfilling Abroad Experience November 09, 2017

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/28/2016 to 12/14/2016 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury – CMRS Oxford Humanities Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I really improved as a student, especially in my independent abilities. I also have seen a noticeable difference in my academic confidence, especially in discussion. I made amazing friends who I still keep in touch with. Oxford is just also a magical and beautiful place.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academics were challenging and very intense. Be prepared to take on more than the average course load of an Oxford student, due to the seminar, independent study, and lecture portions of the program. Most of the work revolves around reading and writing independently, with a once a week meeting with a tutor. If you are already a structured and independent student, you will thrive here. If not, you will quickly gain the skills to structure your own work schedule. The independent tutorials were challenging and intimidating, but incredibly rewarding. Plus, there are a surplus of academic resources from within the program and Oxford in general.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The director of the program and the senior tutors were incredibly helpful and ran the program well. They were available everyday and ready to help with any issues, academic or otherwise. The program itself was structured well- we had a variety of field trips to cultural heritage sites around England mixed into the academic program, as well as weekly required lectures over a wide range of topics.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The majority of people in the program were given doubles with assigned roommates, with some singles. I luckily had a fantastic roommate. The rooms were pretty standard, but clean and spacious. We were provided linens with a laundry service, which was helpful. My only complaint was the natural lighting in my room, so be sure to request large windows if that is an issue for you.

* Food:

Keble was a 10-15 min walk away, and was available for breakfast/lunch/dinner for a reasonable price. Many of the dinners were formal, which was really lovely and ceremonial- especially the Christmas dinner. Because of the walk and the price, most people cooked at the dorm, myself included. We luckily had a spacious kitchen with a fair amount of storage space (each pair of roommates was given a mini fridge, and there was a larger communal fridge). Lots of people liked to cook, so that made mealtimes fun (if a bit crowded). There were multiple grocery stores within a 5 min walk of the dorm, as well as the covered market that had a farm stand/butcher/fish stand. There was also a farmers market nearby every week. I was able to find many cute cafes for coffee, breakfast, and lunch. There were your standard fast food places/cafes, but also a variety of nicer restaurants.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was difficult to make connections with the local students unless you joined a club or sports team. It was easy to make friends within the program, as they were all from American schools, so that was a reassuring safety net. I made many fantastic friends within the program. Many people in the program made British friends, so if you are willing to put in the effort it is possible.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any health issues, but the healthcare system was clearly explained to us and resources were available.

* Safety:

Oxford is a big town and it is easy to get lost (especially at first) but I felt very safe. Most of the population around the university is students, so I felt safe walking around at night or alone.

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

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 40-50 pounds
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget beforehand and make yourself a strict spending limit per week. Plan any trips beyond Oxford in advance because flights and trains can get expensive.

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

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The personalized tutorials
  • Living at Oxford
  • Great people in the program!
* What could be improved?
  • More/longer break(s)
  • Mental health resources
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I was expecting this to some degree, but it was incredibly difficult to travel. There were virtually no breaks, so travel had to take place on the weekends. I wish I could have travelled more outside of the UK.

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!