When I am asked about my year as a visiting student at St Anne’s College, the first thing I mention is how much I value the opportunity I had to become a member of diverse and impressive community at St Anne’s.
I chose to study abroad at the University of Oxford for the academics, but I chose St Anne’s because of the many people that told me how welcoming and kind the people at St Anne’s were. I was not disappointed. I truly feel that the staff and students at St Anne’s made the effort to get to know visiting students on an individual basis and ease our transition from an American university to the Oxford tradition. The college system also allowed St Anne’s to be a more intimate setting where I felt I was actually able to know a lot of the students really well by the end of the year. The college regularly organized events to help us meet other students and made sure to check in with visiting students throughout the year just to make sure we were still doing alright. It also helped that there was always something fun to do in Oxford, whether it was hanging out in the college bar or exploring the hidden parts of Oxford.
While the friendships I made at St Anne’s were probably the most memorable part of my year at Oxford, a discussion of the university would not be complete without mentioning the tutorial system. At first glance, and all through the first term, the tutorial experience can be described as incredibly intense and intimidating, but once you spend a term preparing two papers a week, you become comfortable with the process. The tutorial system makes you more responsible for the direction of your learning and how much you learn. Your tutors are there to help you think about a line of thought you might have overlooked and provide enlightening comments, but ultimately, your interpretation of the information serves as the basis for your meetings with your tutors. I was able to recognize my own progress at the end of each term and see an overall improvement in my work and an increase in my desire for knowledge by the end of the year.
I have, and will continue to, enthusiastically recommended St Anne’s College for people interested in studying abroad. Even though I was only there for a year, St Anne’s became a home away from home, a place where I felt comfortable and welcome as a valued member of the St Anne’s community.