Academically life-changing April 25, 2020

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/02/2019 to 04/16/2020 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury – CMRS Oxford Humanities Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My time in Oxford helped me develop intellectually both within my academic work but also in the personal, interpersonal, and religious parts of my life. I absolutely loved the city and everyone I met in it.

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.

This was one of the most rigorous academics I've ever had. In terms of challenge, it was comparable to Middlebury College courses. The tutorial system is entirely unique (within Oxbridge, that is) and flexes different academic muscles than traditional US college courses.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Administrators and staff were lovely. I can't imagine a more friendly, more supportive group of people.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

St. Michael's Hall is a very nicely maintained building with a fantastic location in city centre. It really can't be beaten. The only downside was its distance from the (in college) accommodations of Oxford University students. That said, there are plenty of ways to get involved with university life and the proximity of St. Michael's Hall to the colleges is superb.

* Food:

Some funding is provided for meals in the Keble dining hall which has rather decent food at affordable prices. I would recommend saving the funding provided for formal halls, especially Oxmas in november/early december. Those are unique cultural experiences not to be missed. That said, the majority of meals will be the responsibility of each student to source. There are lots of restaurants, cafés, and supermarkets (including a weekly farmers market) nearby. The kitchen is also a very nice and well equipped (keeping in mind the heavy use of equipment by undergraduates w/ a range of cooking abilities). Cooking in St. Michael's Hall is often a significant, positive social activity.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Cultural integration can be difficult but is not impossible. It is important to note that Oxford Undergraduates are only in class (and, therefore, in Oxford) for 2/3rds the duration of the M-CMRS term. This leaves only a short, busy period for making relationships. That said, clubs and societies are generally very welcoming, the Keble JCR makes a good effort to engage CMRS students, and there are a myriad of opportunities to engage with community life. I found staying for two semesters made a huge difference to my ability to make connections to Oxforders. Expect to put in effort during 0th and 1st weeks and it will pay off later in the term. The 1/3rd of term w/out oxford undergrads is a great time for travel which is a different but also important cultural experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The NHS can be tricky but the CMRS staff is very generous in helping students get the care they need.

* Safety:

Oxford is generally a very safe and comfortable city. The staff does a great job helping students figure out how to stay safe and healthy.

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)

Budgeting for food was a budget challenge that I don't normally incur at my home institution. That, along with the increased café and restaurant options, put a larger strain on my budget than usual. That said, it was not a significant difficulty for me.


* 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

  • 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/mentorship by academics
  • Other Students
  • The Location
* What could be improved?
  • Connections with the University/student body
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think the emphasis on primary texts is a huge advantage to the program that isn't always communicated beforehand. The whole academic structure is very rigorous, very individual, and a central part of the program. I don't think I realized just how special or how great the academics would be.

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:

Philosophy of History

Course Department: History
Instructor: Audrey Borowski
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was an excellent course! Audrey helped me cater it to my particular interests in theories of history. She helped me understand general trends in European philosophy from the Englightenment through Theodor Adorno. I am particularly obliged for her help in engaging difficult thinkers including Heidegger and Hegel. The course was interesting, engaging, entertaining, and challenging all at once.
Credit Transfer Issues: