I had the chance to study Business Ethics and Public International Law for the Michaelmas term at Oxford and I do not think I will ever approach learning the same. In that time, I wrote 12 essays which equated to around 48,000 words, which is quite amazing looking back now. I gained two key skills: problem-solving 100% on my own and being able to come up with an intelligent answer on the spot.
Prior to my time there, I had never learned a thing about International Law so I was clearly thrown into the deep end. Each topic I was given was completely new to me; I didn’t have classes to attend to explain anything to me – I had a library, full of amazingly helpful books. The feeling when you put together a 3,000-word essay that your tutor is impressed with from scratch and knowing you did it 100% by yourself is an amazing feeling.
The second skill is equally as important. Being able to intelligently debate and respond to your tutor’s questions shows them just how much you deserve and want to be there. This skill taught me to stop, really think about what is being asked and devise a response. The more I practiced in my tutorial meetings, the faster I was able to do it.
Overall, I truly think this is the most beneficial experience I will have in my university career as it has provided me with a unique skill set beyond the norm. For anyone who is determined in their learning, I would highly recommend this extremely demanding program.
As my study abroad experience comes to an end, I am filled with so much gratitude for this incredible experience. In my time at Oxford, I have not only met some incredibly intelligent students but also met super talented and passionate community members. I was provided with the opportunity to be a Director for the Oxford GlobalMUN conference for the Commission on Science and Technology for Development and it was so much fun. I’ve been involved with MUN since high school but in the capacity of a delegate and it was such a cool experience to chair instead! In addition to that, I was selected to be the Campus Director for the Hult Prize competition at the University of Oxford and it was by far the most challenging and yet rewarding event I have organised. For the last three weeks before the competition, my life followed Murphy’s law to the T! Everything that could’ve gone wrong, DID go wrong but I persevered through it all. I have also had some other cool opportunities to evangelise about social entrepreneurship and about my love for Tampa and I even got to speak at the Oxford Union and the Oxford Townhall! The community in Oxford is so supportive and passionate about social impact and that is a mindset I want to further develop in the city of Tampa. I can certainly say that I have had the best study abroad experience EVER and I am eternally grateful to the University of Tampa and the University of Oxford for this opportunity.
While at Oxford, I have studied Anglo-Saxon military and religious history, covering overlordship in the early Middle Ages, kings such as Alfred and Athelstan, saints such as Bede and Hilda of Whitby, and (my favorite) the changes in swords over the course of the six-hundred-year period. I also took the time to make as many friends as I could, whether they be fellow Americans with the WISC program (who dubbed me “Sword Nick” to differentiate me from the other three Nicks) or other Oxford students. I soon joined the pistol club, generally using air pistols but I also learned to use rifles as well. I even managed to get into a Victorian ball! Being here has been an unforgettable experience with some of the best days of my college career.
I am so grateful to the University of Tampa for providing me with the opportunity to study at Oxford University. I had heard great things about this programme but my experience for the last few weeks has exceeded any and all expectations. My housemates are wonderful and we’re from five different countries!
My college is Christ Church and it is more like a castle or a fort than a college – it is massive and gorgeous!
As someone who is very involved on UT’s campus, I had to seek involvement opportunities here and I am so excited about being the Campus Director for Hult Prize at Oxford University along with being involved with the Oxford Union, Oxford GlobalMUN and several other organizations. I have also been able to get involved with the local community and interviewed socially conscious entrepreneurs for my Facebook Live Show and continue making new episodes for that here!
And finally, my tutors are exceptional. They are so incredibly intelligent and insightful. I love being surrounded by people who are nerd-birds like me but are also incredibly fun and share my love for traveling! I couldn’t have asked for a better study abroad opportunity.
Thank you, UT!!! And, I might be slightly biased but Tampa is still my favorite place in the entire world!
Kamakshi Dadhwal spent the Spring term at Oxford. Her term there just ended and she sent the following thoughts about her experience:
My term at Oxford was brilliant and eye-opening. I was forced to be alone more often than I ever have been. I was expected to produce work of a higher quality than I even felt capable of. I was pressured to spend hours of each day in the library reading, organising, writing, rewriting, and reorganising arguments. I was pushed to put more into my essays until I was dreaming about them on, at least, a semi-weekly basis. In all honesty, my term at Oxford felt like the most gruelling and stressful eight weeks of my conscious and unconscious existence. However, not only was I constantly challenged during the term, in hindsight, I was also moulded into a new way of thinking about the work of others and that of my own. I have always been the kind of student who absorbs everything and hopes to learn something through knowing it all. Oxford has helped me understand that the power of questioning can move mountains of well-established and widely-accepted knowledge.
Studying at UT is like being at home; I am among people who push me because they care for me and want me to succeed in life. It is the quiet and comfortable nurturing of a mother and father. In stark contrast, being at Oxford is like being in ninth grade; I was the newest in a competitive environment, surrounded by people who have minds far superior than my own. It made me vulnerable at first but has left me with the strength to humble myself to the experience and expertise of others, while keeping an open mind of my own. In the best way possible, my experience at Oxford has crushed my own egotistical sense of self and, for that alone, I would do it again if given the opportunity.
On Wednesday, April 12th, three Honors students who participated in the Oxford Semester Abroad Program spoke with other students from the Honors Program, describing their experiences at Oxford University. The three students, Nik Lampe, Erin Brosnan, and Maggie Poling, attended Oxford in Fall 2016. Nik graduated from UT in Fall 2016 with a degree in Sociology and is now planning on attending graduate school. Erin Brosnan is a Marine Science/Biology major and Maggie Poling is a Writing major. Both plan to graduate soon and continue their studies.
All three students described the experience as both exhilarating and challenging. They noted that they spent a lot of time reading in the libraries of Oxford. They encouraged students to take writing classes and to practice their debating skills, as being able to write well and defend your views are essential aspects to the experience. They also noted that there are some opportunities to explore England and Europe during the Oxford Semester Abroad Program, but most students stay after the semester is over and travel in Europe.
While the tutorials at Oxford are challenging, there is, occasionally, time to go exploring (which is what the Honors Program is really all about). Two of the students studying at Oxford this semester found some time to see a bit more of England. Here’s what Kamakshi Dadhwal wrote about her travels:
I am very excited to tell you that I have become a part of the Student Switchoff campaign here at Oxford to help conserve energy in an inter-college competition. Also, I gave up on trying to attend lectures in other disciplines of my interest and have started attending lectures on the works of philosophers like Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and Locke. They are quite enjoyable and a wonderful way to find friends.
Katie Stockdale and I went to see the English Lake District last weekend so I could visit Dove Cottage (the house of one of my favourite poets: William Wordsworth) and see the magnificent lake Windermere. We chanced upon the house of Beatrix Potter (the author of the classic Peter Rabbit stories). It was delightful.
Today, we went to Warwick Castle and Stratford Upon Avon. It was so enchanting to see the place where Shakespeare was born. It was even more amazing to see a bust of Shri Rabindranath Tagore (a Bengali playwright and poet of the 19th century who is known as the Shakespeare of India) in Shakespeare’s garden. VERY cool.