The Oxford Experience August 26, 2021

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/17/2021 to 06/18/2021 with

Oxford Study Abroad Programme (OSAP): Oxford - Study Abroad at Oxford University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was extremely worthwhile! It was a challenge to study abroad during COVID however, the one-on-one tutorial system was very nice to have because it was easy to replicate on zoom. I missed plenty of other things like formals and clubs but the education remained up to par. In all, I was able to meet many people in the program and even a few locals who knew friends from my high school and connected us. Once things opened up, it was such a fun time. Definitely very educationally challenging though.

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.

One-on-one tutorials were extremely valuable! Coming from the American system, this was very foreign to me but it proved to be incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. I was forced to dig into materials and issues in a way that I never had done before.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

OSAP- being the private company that partners with Oxford colleges- has poor leadership. They were very disorganized and every student in the program felt contempt towards them. For example, on many different occasions, they would forget to pay our power and utility bills and everything would shut off. We also experienced a robbery in our house and they wouldn't change our locks or add security cameras. Yet, the relationship they were able to build with Oxford colleges is irreplaceable. I would definitely recommend OSAP because of it being one of the best ways to study at top Oxford colleges, however, I was disappointed with my experiences with OSAP.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It was nice to live with other students studying abroad but the living arrangements were quite poor.

* Food:

Dining halls were mostly closed due to COVID-19, however the few times I was able to go to formal dining halls, the food was amazing.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

OSAP was not as integrated into true college life in the way I was hoping. However, I was able to make friends in the colleges and do it myself. It took more work to make friends outside of the program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Extremely accessible! Amazing experience with the nurses and hospitals nearby. Couldn't be better.

* Safety:

We had a break-in when no one was home and there were a few shootings in the neighborhood that I was living in, but apparently, that was rare. I never felt unsafe but there were a few strange encounters.

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

From what I know, OSAP is the only way to study abroad at top Oxford colleges (New, Magdalen). Because of that, I would use OSAP again. However, they are extremely disorganized and are not the best organization.

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)

Dining halls were closed due to COVID for the majority of my time, so I had to cook three meals a day for myself, which was expensive. However, many things were closed (restaurants, pubs, museums, shops) so I wasn't spending the money that I would have. COVID made for a different experience, so I'm not sure that I have a helpful answer for more normal times.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Track everything! It's fun to follow like a diary, and also helpful to see what habits can be cut.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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?
  • Beautiful city
  • incredible academics
  • lots of young people
* What could be improved?
  • OSAP's role
  • COVID made things difficult
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew exactly how OSAP operated. I was confused that it is a private organization with relationships with the college. I definitely thought it was more legit of a program than it is. However, the education and relationships with Oxford is completely real and strong. OSAP itself is just strange.

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:

Metaphysics Epistemology

Course Department: Philosophy
Instructor: Nick Hughes
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Nick Hughes was a great mentor and help to me coming to Oxford this past winter. He taught me the basics of philosophical discussion and the theory of knowledge. I really enjoyed working through different thought experiments with him and forming my own opinions in my essays.
Credit Transfer Issues: N/A - haven't done yet.
Course Name/Rating:

Philosophy of Mind

Course Department: Philosophy
Instructor: Jordan Bell
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Dr. Bell is extremely knowledgeable. Never have such complex philosophical ideas been so clearly explained. I adored my class with him discussing the mind and body and the issues that arise alongside it. He was incredible and so kind.
Credit Transfer Issues: N/A - haven't done yet.
Course Name/Rating:

Philosophy of Science

Course Department: Philosophy
Instructor: Magaret Yee
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was my second course with Dr. Yee after enjoying my first so much. I continued to enjoy another term filled with extensive essays and deep conversations.
Credit Transfer Issues: N/A
Course Name/Rating:

Practical Ethics

Course Department: Philosophy
Instructor: Margaret Yee
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was a very challenging and engaging course! We discussed many different conversations surrounding morality. It was a great experience forming my own opinion on turbulent matters and having to defend it to Dr. Yee, who is a pioneer in the field herself.
Credit Transfer Issues: N/A