Many students decide to study abroad in order to have a break from the academic pressure of their home universities– to have a time to relax, travel, and explore. But when one decides to study at Oxford, this is simply not the case. The academic environment at Oxford is challenging and relies on much self discipline.
The basic structure of academic obligations is not classes, but rather ‘tutorials.’ A tutorial is a one on one meeting with a ‘tutor,’ who is about the same as what we would call a professor in the states. I study history and philosophy, and for my tutorials, I am usually assigned around 10 books and asked to write an about 2,500 row paper on them.
Visiting students (like me) take one primary and one secondary tutorial. Primary tutorials meet every week, and secondary tutorials every other week. Last term, I took Ethics as my primary tutorial and ‘The Black Death and Social Change’ as my secondary.
Looking back, it’s hard to describe how much I improved and learned in the tutorials– simply stated, it was immense. I was very overwhelmed at many points during the semester, but it seems that sort of pressure somehow leads to success.
These pictures show some aspects of my academic life. The first is me studying in one of my favorite venues– a pub! I particularly like ‘The Lamb and Flag.’ The third photo depicts the sunrise over Oxford– taken after one of my many all nighters. And the third shows me with my back pack and book bag– when one has to read 20 books a week, two bags are necessary!