It’s 11:18 PM on a Thursday night. I’m actually a bit exhausted (did a lot of walking today, more so than usual), but I remembered to start a blog for my journey at Oxford, so well, here goes.
Today officially marks 1 week since my arrival in the UK. In all honesty, I cannot believe one full week has passed me by. This city is so magical, and time seems to fly by quicker than they do at home. I presume the first week flies by when one travels— especially since there are so many new discoveries to be made, and everything is, well, new. All in all, the past week has been wonderful.
Let me try my best to recap: I arrived at Heathrow International Airport at around 6:30 AM on 3 Jan 2013, with three other girls from GMU. A friend of mine and I was bumped up to First Class via Virgin Atlantic, so the flight across the Atlantic was quite lovely. The journey to Oxford after getting off the plane? Well… That’s a different story. Oy!
I had brought one too many luggage bags with me. I know I was advised to “pack light,” but hey, I’m a girl— need I say more? It was nice to have a little cart to place my luggage bags around upon claiming my baggage from the Baggage Claim area, and the bus ride (The Airline Bus) was not bad at all, either (Free WiFi on-board!)… But getting off of Gloucester Green Station and having no idea where to go to get a cab (with the massive amount of luggage I had with me) was a pain. Needless to say, I encountered my first Asian-Brit, which was quite interesting. She directed me as to where I should go for a cab, and off I went… Wandering the streets of Oxfordshire for the first time.
After a 15-minute cab ride, there I was, standing in front of my school (Hertford College)’s Porter’s Lodge. Picked up my housing packet, and arrived at my new home for the next 3 months. It was quite lovely - and cute, if I might add…
51 Walton Crescent Oxford, Oxfordshire. I live with 5 other flatmates (they are pretty awesome), and I must say: I lucked out with housing, as I believe the Walton Crescent housing is the closest to Oxford’s “city centre” (downtown, in American terms), the amazing Bodleian Libraries, and the closest to my school (Hertford College). 10-15 minute walking distance to everywhere. Need I say more?
I’ve created this blog to write about my Oxford journey for the next 3 months. I’m pretty excited (who wouldn’t be!) to study abroad in the UK, and Oxford, at that. I purchased the Virgin Atlantic flight, and will be leaving out of Dulles International Airport (IAD) at 6:30 PM, arriving at Heathrow International Airport (LHR) in London at 6:50 AM. Before I go any further, let me just begin by talking about what prompted me to apply to this program via Mason (aka the best school ever), and a little about what I will be studying at Oxford:
For those of you that may not know, I had a rough time adjusting to Mason upon finishing up my A.S. in Social Sciences at Northern Virginia CC. I had a bit of personal struggles that inevitably affected my academic studies, leading to taking a year and a half off from pursuing my bachelor’s. Spring 2012 was my first semester going back to school from that year and a half break, and I was more motivated than ever to prove to myself that I can rebuild what seemed a very messy, distorted life at the time. I took 12 credits that semester all the while working full-time as a Banker at Citi, and though it was extremely stressful trying to manage my work life + academic life… I fared well, and made Dean’s List.
Summer came by, and I decided to pursue 18 credits (…), and practically had no life that summer. I was super busy, but loved the feeling of ‘making everyday count’ - and practically stayed on campus all day, everyday, writing papers, reading - and of course, studying for exams. Summer came and went by in a blink of an eye; I had completed what was by far the most challenging semester of all of my college life with a 3.64 GPA.
I recall sitting at the Johnson Center one day, browsing through Mason’s website while waiting to meet my sister. Out of sheer boredom I decided to look up Study Abroad Programs via Center for Global Education at Mason. Upon browsing a potential list of Study Abroad Programs, the Oxford Honors Program (“Mason’s most prestigious study abroad program”) caught my eyes. Eager to do more, and to test my potential for bigger and better, I decided to apply; and apply, I did.
Two writing samples (my best work in Dr. Thomas Rustici’s Economic Problems and Public Policies class), two recommendation letters (Dr. Thomas Rustici & Professor Alex Schibuola), a copy of my most recent transcript, and a completed application later (along with a few administrative paperwork), I was done. I waited… And eventually was accepted into the program (provisional approval by Associate Dean Jamie Cooper, contingent with a minimum 3.5 GPA for my Spring 2013 grades).
Long story short (if I could even call it that), I received my OPUS (Oxford Programme for Undergraduate Studies) letter, and was accepted in.
Here are the details about my program:
Associate Student at the Heartford College, University of Oxford
Will be studying:
Equivalent Courses at Mason:
I will be receiving Greek letters via my OPUS professors (“tutors”), which would be translated to American letter grades at Mason, for a total of 15 credits (in about a 3-month time, if I might add!). It’s going to be one very intense, exciting, and perhaps a nerve-wrecking (?) semester, but all in all, I am sure studying abroad in and of itself alone will change my perspectives forever… And surely, it will surely be an experience of a lifetime!