Literature in Oxford
How did you live your study?
As an English major, spending a year abroad in England was a natural choice for me. I studied gothic literature, Modernist poetry, contemporary British fiction, Shakespeare adaptations and more in one-on-one tutorials with professors from several different colleges.
I sat in a pub formerly frequented by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I took a day trip to Canterbury. The history of English literature was all around me, whether I was exploring the Bodleian Library or walking around the city centre.
Reading and writing about literature in Oxford was often surreal; I lived my study simply by being in the amazing, historic town at one of the oldest universities in the world.
How have you changed because of your time abroad?
Studying at Oxford completely changed the way I approach academics.
Either once or twice a week, I would meet with my tutors to discuss my papers and readings. Without other students around, I was accountable for fielding every question, whether I knew the answer or not. As terrifying as tutorials might have seemed at first, it was a truly incredible experience. I learned to ask myself the kinds of questions my tutors would ask, to take thorough notes and read in depth, and, most importantly, to articulate my points in a clear, confident, persuasive way.
The tutorial system was the single most impactful part of my study abroad experience. Getting accustomed to thinking (very quickly) on my feet has greatly increased my confidence in my own insights and abilities, both in the classroom and outside of it.
What extracurricular opportunities did you pursue abroad?
At first, I found it hard to figure out what kinds of extracurricular activities to pursue. Throughout the year, I wound up getting involved with a few different organizations. I joined the Oxford Union and went to their speaker events and socials. I participated in the Junior Common Room (JCR) in my college. I went to a creative writing workshop group. I even wrote an article for the Oxford Student.
Although I didn't find one organization to really immerse myself in, I found amazing opportunities in numerous places and took advantage of as many as I could.