The Visiting Student Perspective
By Hallie Becker
What people may not know is that Oxford offers study-abroad opportunities that have all the benefits of being an official Oxford student. The application processes are slightly different for each program, but they do not usually include the typical Oxford interview. Instead of the interview process, our programs tend to be an application where you would have to write an essay, give a personal statement, and have a grade point average to prove you can handle the amount of rigorous, academic work.
Students are accepted on a termly or yearly basis and being a visiting student that has access to most of Oxford (including libraries) is amazing by itself but there is so much more than just studying. Taking advantage of opportunities such as networking, meeting students from other colleges, and becoming able to express yourself in a different way than normal can be its own adventure in your abroad experience. Now I can paint a beautiful picture of Oxford because I have been here and am somewhat experienced in the way of the student, but I will attest that Oxford will challenge you in every area. Every single person on my program has gone through a bad tutorial at some point or another which is completely NORMAL. The nerves and expectations are something everyone experiences, and each person handles them differently.
Being a student in a new environment is scary enough but making it international can be extremely nerve wrecking. Adjusting to time changes and expecting everything to be the opposite is true but only to a certain extent. Of course, everyone is nervous coming to a different place and coming to Oxford elevates that. American university courses are completely different than the Oxford tutorial system and that takes a little time to get used to. Tutorials are more personal and—in my opinion—create more confidence in defending your argument. Even though you may be scared to express certain opinions, I believe it helps further conversations within your field of study.
Now, scheduling when to do readings and leaving enough time to complete papers while also having fun in the midst of Oxford is probably the hardest thing to do. As a visiting student, you may want to see everything you can while you are in Oxford and England, but at the same time you don’t want your work to suffer. You might have a primary tutorial on a Monday and a secondary on a Friday so that may mean a weekend is not a weekend anymore for you—that is very typical but taking the time to plan how and where you want to spend time is the key.
Since a visiting student is only here for a term or even a year, make sure you find time to rest, see/do everything you want to do, and make connections that last. And finally remember you deserve to be here because you have worked extremely hard! Embrace the nerves because it actually might start a connection with another student who is experiencing the same types of feelings.