A fun, balanced year immersed in a different system July 10, 2019

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 10/01/2019 to 06/21/2019 with

Worcester College, Oxford University - Visiting Students Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Because I've gotten such a strong education at Wellesley, I knew that I wanted my abroad experience to have a solid academic component. Ultimately, the tutorial system wasn't the best for my subject, and I didn't learn as much as I'd hoped, but the rest of the experience more than made up for it. Oxford (the university and town) is vibrant and full of things to do, and I was able to have plenty of time to enjoy myself and take advantage of everything. I had a work-life balance that I really appreciated, and I'm glad I had this experience in college.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The coursework, overall, was not as rigorous as what I am used to at my home institution, and I don't think the tutorial system made sense for my subject. I ended up learning less in my classes than I would have in the equivalent course back home. My tutors were all very helpful during my sessions with them, but I wish we'd had more contact hours since we weren't able to cover very much. I don't think self-study was enough to supplement the short tutorials. Ultimately, a year without rigorous academics felt a little too long.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

All the administration members and staff I met at Worcester were kind and helpful, and I'm grateful for the support they gave us throughout the year.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The rooms were spacious and stocked with bedding, towels, and a fridge. I had an en-suite bathrooms and a scout came every other day to take out the trash and weekly to clean the room (which was very nice but felt a little strange since it's not a US custom!). Having a large communal kitchen made it easy to cook for myself.

* Food:

I didn't ever eat normal meals at hall, but I did attend formal hall fairly regularly. The food was typically very good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The matriculated Oxford students were mostly friendly and welcoming, but it took me a little while to step out of my comfort zone to meet them. I initially was only close to the other visiting students across the university, but by the second half of the year, I felt much more integrated into the regular college social scene.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had to go to the hospital once during the year, and am really thankful for the support I had from the porters and the administration to figure out the unfamiliar healthcare system. Dr. Mayo and the Dean were in contact with my tutors, and I didn't have to worry about anything until I was able to resume work.

* Safety:

The city of Oxford is very safe and I never felt uncomfortable walking in the dark, but still used common sense, of course. I never had to deal with administration/security for anything safety-related, so I can't common on those resources.

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)

This is on me - I cooked most of my meals but I also ate out regularly and had lots of random expenses. My spending wasn't ridiculous, but I know I could have easily cut back if I'd budgeted more prudently.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • the university's programming and opportunities
  • the community
  • work-life balance
* What could be improved?
  • lectures format
  • better accessibility to balls, etc.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I'd known that the tutorial system doesn't make a lot of sense for what I was studying, and that many of the trademark university traditions can get costly.