Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jessica N. - Oxford, England - Spring 2011

Hey everyone! I guess I should start by introducing myself for those of you who do not know me. My name is Jessica and I am a junior at EC. I am currently studying at The Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS) in Oxford, England. Words cannot describe how wonderful my experience has been here thus far. I still can’t believe that I’ve already been here for three months and that I only have one month left here. Time truly does fly when you’re having fun.

First, I will discuss the academic aspect which is probably much different from students who have not attended CMRS. The first nine weeks I had two tutorials; Shakespeare and Romanticism. I met with each tutor for about an hour once a week and was required to write a 2,000 word essay (yes, 4,000 words a week) about what we read each week. I absolutely loved both of my tutorials. I was warned by several people prior to coming here how intense the program would be, and they were right, but it has been a very rewarding experience. I at first was nervous to work one-on-one with a professor, but I’ve discovered that I prefer this approach to learning. On top of my two tutorials I also had a seminar (European Humanism) which was with two other students. We were required to read a different text each week and then would have discussions. Although we were not required to write an essay every week for seminar, we did have a final research paper due. This week marked the end of term for all of the Oxford Uni students, but our program continues with an integral course which consists of lectures, discussion, field trips, and a final research paper. For any future CMRS students, please feel free to ask me more specific questions regarding the academic experience here, however I do not want to bore other students. All in all regarding academics, I feel extremely accomplished and at the same time relieved.

In terms of the social life here in Oxford, I have been having an amazing time. The building I live in consists of 25 other American students. I have been building friendships with these people that I know will last a life time. Our program is affiliated with St. Peter’s College (one of the Oxford Uni colleges) where we had access to their dining hall and library. This has been a great way to meet new and interesting people; however next term CMRS will be affiliated with Keeble College. The night life in Oxford is a lot of fun as well. There are plenty of clubs and bars to go to. I have met a lot of amazing people here so far. I have also traveled to London several times (it’s only an hour train ride away) which has been a great time as well. This weekend I will be going to Paris and the following weekend I will be going to Barcelona with some girls in my program. I leave April 16th and will be staying at my friend’s place in Switzerland for two weeks then I will head back to sweet home Chicago!

As I am someone who has never blogged before, please excuse me and feel free to ask any questions.


Anonymous Matthew Murray said...

Hey Jessica, how did you go about choosing your classes for CMRS? Are you taking classes suited with your major concentration or classes to meet general requirements?

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica,
My question is kind of related to the previous as far as classes. You've said the structure of classes/the academic processes are different in England than in the states. With that do you suggest taking into account the level of difficulty when choosing classes, or just trying to take classes based on interest without taking into account the course load that accompanies them?

Krystal R.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica,

I'm studying at CMRS next Fall, and I know you (and a lot of other people I've talked to) have stressed the rigorous Oxford academic expectations. How have you dealt with these high standards? Did you pick your seminars and tutorials with these things in mind?

I spent a week in Oxford last summer, and seeing your post made me miss it very much-- I can't wait to go back!
~Megan K

7:06 PM  

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