Hello blog! It’s good to be back. Sorry for the neglect…I’ve been a bit busy 🙂
As I return from my summer term at Oxford, I thought I’d reflect on what I derived from the experience. Apart from (finally) arriving at the medieval university town of my childhood dreams, I ended up learning so much about myself, and what I want out of life. And although I’m now quite sad to have left Oxford and already miss it incredibly, my time there instilled in me a fresh desire to continue chasing those kinds of experiences and to figure out how I can make traveling a more integral part of my adult life.
- I figured out that I like England most in the summer months and during Christmas.
- Being in England in July and August meant, with the exception of a couple of hot weeks, I enjoyed one of the most pleasant summers weather-wise in probably my entire life. Spring and autumn in the UK are a bit too cold for my taste, but Christmas-time I think is still festive enough to merit a visit. Overall though, I’m not sure I could live there year-round as I once thought I could…
- I learned how to travel on the London and Paris metros, buy bus and train tickets, book hotels, navigate airports, and essentially be a self-sufficient traveler.
- Mama Maini finally let me fly from the nest. Possibly one of the most empowering things a young woman can go through, I think.
- I finally got my quintessential education in English literature, and learned how to read critically.
- Was exposed (in some cases for the first time) to the classic works of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Blake and Keats in my Romanticism class, to Woolf, Eliot, Hemingway, Orwell in my Modernism class, to much, much more. I suppose I’ve probably read enough poetry in the last 6 weeks to last me an entire year, and all with an expert in her field (my tutor was from Cambridge).
- I learned that I personally prefer to travel to one place and really settle there than to tour around.
- Many of my peers would spend each of the weekends (which were free) travelling all across Europe. Although I did go to Paris for three days, I’m glad I stayed local for the most part and got settled in Oxford and in England in general. When I make travel plans in the future I’ll know to just focus on one place or area.
- I met some really lovely people and made some important new friendships.
- Almost always, the best part about living abroad is the people you meet while you’re there. To my fellow Wahoos studying abroad with me, to my tutor Anna, to Ropita, Andrew, and of course George (all of whom I will probably discuss more extensively in a separate post) – all of them enriched my summer more than I can express.
- And lastly (and perhaps most importantly), studying at Oxford gave me a better sense of what I want out of life.
- Spending so much time in a world-renowned university put me in constant contact, in one way or another, with brilliance. I realized that I don’t want to be doing anything that (a) isn’t 110% intellectually stimulating, and (b) keeps me in one place. After this summer, I think I very much would like to be one of those academics (like the ones who were employed by the program) who moves around from university to university.
I’m sure there are things I have missed, or will think of later on. I should also mention how incredibly grateful and lucky I am to have had this truly wonderful experience.
Now that I’m back I should be posting more!