Last week, I officially moved into St. Catherine’s College here in Oxford. As I mentioned in my last post, it was difficult to leave London after so many wonderful memories. Arriving at Oxford, there was a definite shift in pace, and we knew we were here to learn.
When I was planning my study abroad experience, I knew that doing this program would almost feel like starting college all over again. First, we got settled into London and had to learn how to navigate being in London and studying at the same time. Now, we were starting over again, only this time we were fully emersed in the Oxford experience.
Truthfully, it was a somewhat difficult experience beginning life here in Oxford, as I had expected. I had gotten used to life in London, and now I was in another new place. There is always an awkward period where you have to learn how life works when you go somewhere new. We all had to figure out how to navigate our college and the greater Oxford area, where the nearest grocery store was, etc.
After about a week, things started to feel easier. Like any school, after enough time you start to find your rhythm. Very quickly, work for my tutorials piled on and I found myself a very busy man.
Now, I am getting a sense of what an academic challenge these next two months are going to be. If I had to summarize it in a few words, it would have to say it feels like academic boot camp. However, I do not see this as a negative. I know that the pace and intensity of life here will make me a better student. I hope that my time here will make me better prepared to finish my undergraduate and take on any degrees I pursue in the future.
Between moments of studying, I have gotten to see some truly beautiful sights around Oxford. One thought I kept having in London is that most of the buildings I see are older than the country I am from. This is something that feels especially true as I walk around Oxford. Here, I know I am in a truly historic place.
I have already gotten to see some of that history up close. For my first paper, I needed to check out a book. To my surprise and delight, my search for the book led me to the famous Radcliffe Square. I even got to enter the Radcliffe Camera, which is closed off to the public, to check out my book.
Today, I decided to go for a walk in the University Parks. I had seen some of the park last week, and I was surprised to see how vast the park is. I had a wonderful time walking through the park because there were secluded parts where the sounds of the city faded away. It felt wonderful to be surrounded by nature again, and it’s a place I will definitely be returning to.
After some time getting adjusted, it feels good to be settled here at St. Catherine’s. I knew I wanted to see the sights while I was studying abroad, but I also knew I wanted to push myself academically. I know this is something that will happen here, and my hope is that I return home not just a more experienced traveler, but a more capable student, as well.
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My name is Brady Judd. I am from Mill Creek, Washington, and I am a third-year history major at Whitworth University. As a history nerd, I am incredibly excited to be traveling to the UK. I have also long been a fan of British culture, watching shows like "Top Gear" and "Sherlock" as I grew up. I am an avid learner, so I can't wait to share all of the things I will be discovering with you.