Work Hard, Play Harder January 03, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 10/01/2017 to 12/01/2017 with

University of Oxford - Visiting Students

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I improved my critical thinking and writing skills by writing 2 essays each week and discussing my argument with a tutor. I learned about other cultures and countries. I learned that food is as much a nourishment activity as a social one. I realized the joy of learning from reading books—in print.

Review Photos

University of Oxford - Visiting Students Photo University of Oxford - Visiting Students Photo University of Oxford - Visiting Students Photo University of Oxford - Visiting Students Photo University of Oxford - Visiting Students Photo

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.

I was academically challenged by tutors who were experts in their field, and the amount of reading and writing I did improved my critical thinking and writing skills and ability to synthesize research.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Visiting students were housed in twin rooms. We had our own bathroom and there was a kitchen on our floor. Our rooms were cleaned once a week. While a single room would've been nice, sharing a room allowed me to get to know another visiting student better.

* Food:

I really enjoyed British food, but the dining hall food doesn't have a lot of variety; it's a lot of peas, potatoes, shepherd's pies, beef stew, etc. The food is subsidized though, so much cheaper to eat in hall than outside. The served three-course meals were definitely a highlight.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The social life is very robust; we had several social events including hanging out at the bar or Entzes (parties on campus) or college dinners. I hung out mostly with international students but got to know a few local students; there are many opportunities to get integrated with the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The college did a good job of communicating information about the college nurse, hosting discussions on mental health awareness, and providing contact information for students available to discuss mental health issues. No vaccines specifically needed for this program.

* Safety:

Oxford is very safe; I didn't encounter any safety issues or ever feel threatened. People don't recommend walking out alone at night, but I did it a few times without any issues.

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

The academic experience was rigorous but very different from Wellesley, Oxford has so much to offer with its history and traditions. The students I met were such friendly and interesting people to talk to; the conversations I had were some of the most interesting conversations I've ever had.

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)

Assuming you eat all meals in hall, you would spend about 10 pounds (~$13.5) a day on food. Other expenses might include a bike, dorm items, and clothing. I spent the bulk of my budget on food. We didn't need to buy books.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 70 pounds
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Things in the town of Oxford is generally expensive, so don't eat out too much and bring essential items such as a fall coat.

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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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 tutorial system: one-on-one discussions
  • We were fully immersed into the college: I was able to join the tennis team and caving club and attend Oxford Union debates and university lectures
  • The social life: the people I met, the conversations we had, and the emphasis on balancing work with play
* What could be improved?
  • Including a tour of Oxford's history during orientation week would be helpful
  • The phone service/Wifi on campus
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You really have to make time to travel, do extracurricular activities, attend lectures, and try new things, otherwise you won't have the time.