What I Did in Oxford
Past Oxford Student Ambassadors
Komal Kumar (Political Science)
I wanted to supplement my studies of South Asia through the Oxford tutorial system. To further develop my ideas and writing about modern South Asian history and politics, I wanted to challenge myself with enriching academic engagements with an expert in the field. I am also deeply interested in understanding the South Asian diasporas across the globe and hoped to engage in South Asian cultural and political spaces in the UK. I am fascinated by historical cities, so I was excited about exploring Oxford and understanding its culture and positionality through time.
Natassia Walley (History)
Oxford's tutorial-based learning format really appealed to me, as I had been craving the chance to explore and contemplate the nuances of a given historical period, instead of balancing 3-4 demanding classes. The humanities-focused culture I had heard was quintessentially “Oxford” also excited me, as Stanford can feel very STEM dominated at times. I was (and still am) very interested in histories of colonialism and was excited to engage with the scholarship on British colonialism in the country from which it originated.
One of the benefits of the Oxford program is the flexibility of the tutorial system. Each student is paired with a tutor who specializes in the field they are interested in studying. At the start of the quarter, I had the chance to sit down with my tutor to craft a reading list and curriculum that encompassed a lot of the topics I wanted to cover during my time at Oxford.
You get a chance to dedicate yourself to the questions, issues, and ideas you care most about. The tutorial you choose becomes your entire life- you study it, live it, breathe it.
Josh Cobler - Winter and Spring 2018-19
The most meaningful part of my Oxford experience was making friends at Oxford, many of whom I still keep up with on a daily or weekly basis. It's especially exciting to know that I have life-long friends all over England and Scotland who I'll always feel comfortable reaching out to when our paths cross again.
Melodie Liu - Autumn 2018-19
Spending less time sitting in class and more time doing changed my preferred learning style for good. I've done Directed Readings back on campus every quarter since. I learned a different set of skills for time management and short/long-term planning that is super necessary for when you have a lot of unguided time, which will apply a lot to life beyond Stanford.
Jayaram Ravi- Autumn 2017-18
Frankly, I don't know what I expected with regard to the tutorial system. However, I did not anticipate the kind of work I did (a lot hours spent reading and writing in the library with a stack of books next to me), how close I would get to my cohort of Stanford students, and how much fun I found the tutorial process to be. I have been stressed/exhausted writing a paper but never once hated doing it. I enjoyed approaching my topic from a variety of angles.
Hope Schroeder (Symbolic Systems) - Autumn 2017-18
At Oxford, I quickly learned to manage my unstructured time so that I was ready for my tutorial each week. I filled in the other time with meaningful things like time at the Oxford Union and other clubs, weekend trips, and sports.
Jen Ren (Human Biology) - Winter 2016-17
I chose to study abroad in Oxford because I sought its unique academic experience. As someone whose primary coursework for my major happens in large lectures, I valued the tutorial system because it provided me an opportunity to have a close, one-on-one relationship in a way that I haven’t found at Stanford.
Alyssa Liew (International Relations) - Fall 2016-17
Having a one-on-one mentorship allowed me to explore my own interests; my tutor was so supportive in feedback given and also in what we wanted to work on in the next week. It was also a great way to connect with an academic expert about a topic you are truly passionate about and to learn as much as possible!
Suraj Bulchand (Management Science and Engineering) - Winter 2016-17
It was at Oxford where I truly internalized the wisdom of self-directed learning, realizing that I had the opportunity to craft discussions on what I hypothesized, what I disagreed with, and what mattered to me.
Alinna Brown (Mathematical and Computational Science) - Winter 2015-16
At Oxford, surrounded by beautiful libraries and thousands of resources, I felt like I was a part of a larger academic tradition, and grew to realize that my education wasn’t about the final product, but rather about the process of learning.
Jessica Zhao (Computer Science) - Spring 2014-15
Being in a new place for 10 weeks adds so much more spontaneity than being in a new place for a few days. Adventure is constant and it’s exciting to always have tons of events, places to explore and people to explore them with.
Alexandra Nutkiewicz (Individually Designed Major) - Spring 2014-15
I valued a more immersive experience in a smaller college town than one in a major European city in order to better experience the culture and customs of the University while having the chance to meet foreign students.
Jai Sajnani (Electrical Engineering) - Spring 2013-14
I wanted to spend my three months abroad in a location steeped in history and tradition. I had a greater desire for an immersive experience in an alternative college environment than for an experience in a foreign town (away from the central university), and wanted to experience the cultures and customs of Oxford University.