Oxford Study Abroad: A Reflection

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” ― Pico Iyer

For the past few years, I’ve had a real sense of wanderlust. I want to go anywhere and everywhere, and this year I was fortunate enough to do just that. This summer I was able to travel to eight countries in three months and it was hands down the best experience I’ve had in life thus far. During the Oxford Study Abroad Program I was able to travel throughout England, Ireland and Paris, France – places I have had on my bucket list for as long as I can remember.

Going to new countries causes you to change – you have to adapt to new surroundings, keep an open mind, and learn to communicate with those around you. The 6-week program at Oxford taught me a lot about myself. I had expected to come home feeling differently – maybe more worldly or independent – but I didn’t expect my viewpoints on the world around me to change and develop as much as they did.

In Oxford I took classes that made me think and dig a little deeper than I normally do. They opened me up to beliefs and values I didn’t even know were out there – causing me to have many small epiphanies about my life throughout the program.

Tour of the city during an Oxford authors class

In Oxford we were taught by professors who were tough – pushing us to improve as writers, students and people in general – but who were also kind and funny, wonderful people. Dr. Addyman pushed me more in his 6-week course than any teacher I’ve ever had before. But, he was also the first one to get out on a boat to teach us how to punt, to play yard games with us, and to start up a big game of extreme Jumbo Jenga.

In Oxford I met friends from all over the world who I now can’t imagine life without. We became a little family over there, most of us experiencing Europe together for the first time. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to spend my summer with.

In Oxford I grew as a person, finding pieces of myself in places I never knew would come to mean so much to me. Ireland became my favorite place in the world after 4 short days. Paris taught me to communicate with people who don’t speak my language. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I had a blast.

Oxford changed me for the better. I have grown to call yet another place home, and I have missed it every day since I’ve returned. If you are looking for a once in a lifetime experience, I urge you to go on the Oxford Study Abroad program – I promise you won’t regret it. Once you make the best decision of your life, remember this advice for when you get there:

  1. Remember to keep an open mind. It will be different than what you are used to, but you will come to love those differences and even miss them later on.
  2. Get a little lost and wander the streets until you find your way back again. Oxford is a cool city with so much to see. Explore it.
  3. Eat some good food: the food trucks and Pret will not disappoint you.
  4. Make some great friends and make memories with them that you will never forget.
  5. Last but not least, have fun. It won’t last forever, so make the most of every moment.

by Taylor Jones, Biology ’16
Off the cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland
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