Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Alex K - Oxford, England - Fall 2014

Hi! I’m Alex and I am studying in Oxford, England, as part of the CMRS program. Oxford itself is a very interesting town; it’s a motley collection of the medieval and the modern. You have buildings dating back for centuries mixed in with street markets and performers. They’re not all your average performers either. One of the more interesting ones I’ve seen is the Bubble Bunny, a man who wears a bunny suit and blows bubbles as he waves to the people on the street. It’s kind of bizarre, but certainly original. I love the architecture of Oxford too; the buildings that neighbor each other are never from the same time period, as they are in America, but rather from many different time periods, so you may find building from the 17th or 18th centuries right next to one from the 20th. And that doesn’t even include the schools, which are so gorgeous that walking past them without marveling is a feat.

                My fellow students and I are all working on our first major paper, and we’ve all been faced with one of the biggest dilemmas that I think a CMRS student can face: do we devote all our time to our studies, or do we go out and see the country? Focusing on your work here is very important, because that’s what you’re here for; but if I had one piece of advice to you, I would tell you to go out and experience as much as you can in your time here. This is an experience you only get once, so don’t let it pass you by. England has so much to offer in terms of sights and experiences; there are so many incredibly historic places, and it is absolutely nothing like what you’d find in America. Not that I’m suggesting that you blow off you work, but do your best to find a happy medium between studying and traveling, even if that means really exploring Oxford, because Oxford is not short on interesting sights. Make a list of all the things you want to do during your time here, and then tackle as many as you can. You’ll never regret living in the moment!


Anonymous SAstra said...

Wow! That's really awesome :D the Bubble Bunny guys sounds pretty fun. I'm planning on going there next semester so hopefully it turns out just as well as your's is

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Mary D. said...

Oxford sounds amazing! I can see the struggle of seeing the sights and balancing school work. You mentioned a paper you and your fellow classmate were writing and I was wondering if you have had any issues with spelling? Are the professors there expecting you to write with the British spelling or is it acceptable to use the American spelling? I am wondering since I will be in London next semester.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Kristen G said...

Oxford sounds wonderful! How do you try to integrate yourself into local life while still devoting the majority of time to your studies? I'm planning on going next semester and your post makes it sound great!

3:23 PM  
Blogger Alex Kelly said...

Hi guys! Thanks for your comments. Mary- American spelling is acceptable, at least here. I'm not sure what the general rules are for your London institution, but my professors here think it's unnecessary to nitpick like that. Kristen- If there's something around here that you want to do, or you want to take a day trip and travel somewhere, my advice would be to figure out what day you're doing that, and plan your school work around that. The weekends tend to be the best time to do things, because the library closes early on Saturdays and it's closed all day Sunday. So I would pick a day (or days, if you're really social) and plan out how you'll get your work done so that you still have time to do the fun stuff.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Theresa Kolodziej said...

Can't wait for Oxford. Just how intense are the papers? How do courses there compare to here in the States?

3:23 PM  
Anonymous SAstra said...

I'm going to Oxford next semester as well and I just wanted to know how much of your time you spend on research and studying? I know that there are is the big research assignment then the papers ever week but will I be able to chill out and explore London, or will the semester be filled with research and papers? How often do you go out and explore?

Let me know.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Alex Kelly said...

Theresa and Sastra- If you guys are both in the CMRS program, I can tell you that the research paper for the integral course is a bit intense. Your tutors expect a lot from you, and you only have four weeks to get everything done. The tutorial papers are a bit easier, because they're shorter and you only have a week to write them. I think with those they look more for progress from week to week. It can also depend on the tutor; some tutors make things more stressful than others. As for free time, I don't have a lot. As I said in an earlier post, it's best to carve out time for yourself, and plan your work around that. For instance, I just went to London for the day yesterday, and now I'll have to spend today catching up on the stuff I didn't do yesterday. It's manageable, but you have to be careful, because I've seen people struggle with time management. I would take a few weeks adjusting your schedule when you do get here, and then see what you can do.

5:23 AM  
Anonymous SAstra said...

Throughout your time there, have you experienced much culture shock? I realize that England is more similar to America than other countries are but did you have any issues with the culture and differences?

12:24 AM  
Blogger Theresa Kolodziej said...

To bounce off of SAstra's comment on culture shock, how different is the UK compared to the US? Have you been to other countries and how would you compare the transition between multiple cultures?

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Kristen G said...

Also on the theme of culture shock, what was the most shocking difference you have encountered in your time in England?

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also wondering about Culture Shock you may have experienced. Did speaking the same language make it any better?
Jill H

3:44 PM  

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