A Great Time in Oxford Past Review

By (Amherst College) - abroad from 01/04/2018 to 04/14/2018 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury – CMRS Oxford Humanities Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was definitely worthwhile. I pushed myself to my academic limits while adapting to a new country and having a good time. It was thrilling.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was always friendly and helpful throughout my stay at Oxford.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very happy with my living arrangements. My room was surprisingly spacious and I had no problems using our dorm's common rooms and kitchen. My only complaints are that the showers were a tad small and that the walls were very thin. This was especially problematic for me as my room was located right next to the common room.

* Food:

The CMRS is located right next to Cornmarket Street, one of Oxford's commercial hubs. Plenty of restaurants and pubs are within walking distance, as well as two supermarkets.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was living in a dorm populated entirely by CMRS students and would not have had interaction with the local culture if I hadn't sought it out. It should be said that the CMRS staff is very upfront about this and several staff members checked in with me to see if I was integrating well on my own. I was able to get in contact with a local Oxford theatre group and participated in the play that they were putting on that term. I also attended a few meals at Keeble College's dining hall, enabling me to interact with Oxford students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally had no issues with my health, but I understand that other students' health issues were treated well.

* Safety:

Oxford is a very safe city overall and I had no problems while living there.

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

I feel as if this program was a great fit for me.


* 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? $30-$50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take advantage of nearby supermarkets.


* 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
  • 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?
  • The courses
  • My fellow program students
  • Oxford and it's students
* What could be improved?
  • Some housing issues.
  • The Seminar Series
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Jimbob's has the best sandwiches in Oxford.

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:

20th Century British History

Course Department: History
Instructor: Dr. Tudor Jones
Instruction Language: English
Comments: espite the title, this class mainly focused on post World War II British History, with only two classes dedicated to anything before 1945. However, the class only took this direction after I had met with my professor and he had asked if that would be acceptable. This would be a good time to point out that this class was one of my tutorials, so it was conducted one-on-one with an Oxford professor. My professor, Dr. Tudor Jones, was very helpful and engaging throughout. As is typical with most tutorials, I had to prepare a 6-8 page essay before each class, so there was always plenty of discussion material. As with all Oxford classes, there was a tremendous amount of reading from a variety of sources, some of which I found more interesting than others. As a History major, this was one of the courses I was looking forward to the most and I was not disappointed. The material was engaging, the course was challenging, and the professor was excellent.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues
Course Name/Rating:

European Politics

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Gjovalin Macaj
Instruction Language: English
Comments: As you might have guessed from the title, this Political Science course centered around the political landscape of Europe, particularly the changes and challenges brought about by the European Union. I sometimes found the material to be interesting, but as a non-Political Science major who had previously only taken one political science course, this was not the basic-level course I was expecting. I frequently had to play catchup, looking up terms or concepts that experienced political students have memorized. This was one of my two tutorial classes, conducted one-on-one with an Oxford professor, in this case, Professor Gjovalin Macaj. This led to plenty of personalized discussions with my professor, which is a style of teaching that I generally enjoy. While this class did possess the academic vigor expected of an Oxford course, the reading amount was far more manageable than I expected. Additionally, while most tutorials require eight weekly essays, Professor Macaj assigned three essays and five presentations, as he preferred to hear us elaborate on our takeaways from the material in person. As someone who is comfortable with public speaking, this was great for me, but others might experience difficulties. While there were moments that I enjoyed my time with Professor Macaj, I was not very satisfied overall. I frequently felt that he was not very engaging during our class sessions and seemed like he didn't want to be there. He would often type on his laptop or draw doodles during my presentation and the other students in this class reported the same problem. I enjoyed this course, but it definitely did not meet my expectations overall. Experienced political science students might appreciate it more than I did, but Professor Macaj's teaching style still leaves much to be desired.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues
Course Name/Rating:

Vikings, Saxons, and Heroic Culture

Course Department: English
Instructor: Dr. Antje Frotscher
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This English course revolved around the heroic literature of the Saxon cultures, ranging from the earliest Icelandic sagas to the post-Christianity depiction of heroic saints. I've always enjoyed the various English classes that I've taken and I thought this would be a good choice of course to enhance my studies as a History major. I'm happy to say that I was correct. This was my seminar course, meaning that I shared the class with four other students (though numbers may vary). The small class size meant that everyone was able to be heard and get their own perspectives out during the conversations we had. By extension, everyone was expected to participate. Additionally, while there was certainly plenty of assigned reading, this was my easiest class at Oxford because there were no weekly essay assignments. Instead, there was a single 10 page paper at the end of the course. I'd have to say that the head of this course, Dr. Antje Frotscher, was my favorite professor at Oxford. She was constantly energetic and engaging, with a clear passion for the material that we were covering. She was also very helpful throughout our discussions and was happy to brainstorm with us on topics for the final paper. I highly enjoyed this course and would recommend it to anyone with any interest in heroic literature.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issue.
Course Name/Rating:

Europe and the New World

Course Department: N/A
Instructor: Various
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course came in two parts. The first was a weekly lecture series in which various Oxford professors, CMRS staff, and CMRS alumni would present lectures on various topics every week, all centering around the topic of "Europe and the New World." This was the only course that I was required to take at Oxford and I wouldn't say that it was a positive experience. While I enjoyed some lectures, I found others to be incredibly uninteresting. One of them didn't even seem to fit the main topic. This is especially problematic when considering that the main function of these lecture is to serve as inspiration for the next part. The second part was a full length research paper based on a topic of my choice under the umbrella of "Europe and the New World." I enjoyed writing this paper far more than the lecture series, as I was actually invested in my topic of choice. Additionally, each student received a "research mentor" to advise and assist us throughout the writing process. My mentor was Dr. Paul Monod, the head of CMRS, who was very helpful in this capacity. However, he has since retired from his position as head of CMRS and has returned to Middlebuty.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues