Hear O' Followers!
During finals week everything seems to be dominated by the
shadow of looming exams, so to truly relax during winter break I’ve been
recollecting on the blissful days of study abroad.
I think my bio mentions that I studied at Oxford last year.
But, that doesn’t really explain it all. The way I came to apply to Oxford is
Every Colby student is asked to fill out a preliminary
application to the Office of Off-Campus Study (OCS) so that the office can
begin to compile data of who is going abroad where, when, and for how long. To
many people’s astonishment, I wrote that I wanted to study at the University of
Hawai’i. (Yeah, it’s not technically abroad, but I’ve never been there… so it
would be a different experience. That counts, right?) But I received an E-mail
from OCS saying, “Michael, please schedule an appointment with us as soon as
possible.” When I finally met with an OCS representative, I was told that Colby
would let me go to Hawai’i, but not through OCS — i.e., not for credit. So I
said, “I’ll apply to Oxford then.” If anybody at Oxford is reading this: Yes,
you were my second choice to the State University of Hawai’i. (I just think I
can philosophize better on a beach)
But once I got to England, I found out quickly that Oxford
should have been my first choice. The city was beautiful and filled with old
buildings, old statues, and even older history. But walking through the
streets, I couldn’t help by laugh at how more than 80% of the population was
18-25 years old.
But why was abroad “blissful?” First, I didn’t have to take
any exams (or, as the Brits say, “sit exams”). Next, although I was writing at
least an essay every week, the topic was often “write anything on this topic.”
But the ultimate bliss of Oxford was the semester schedule. Oxford is on a
trimester schedule: 8-week terms followed by 8-week breaks. And since I despise
flying, I just took the train to Europe for my breaks. The food, the beer, the
people, the sights, and the travel! Because so many Colby students study abroad,
I traveled from one Colby friend to another: Salamanca, Paris, and Florence.
And when these epic breaks were over, I just returned to the quaint medieval
city with her “dreaming spires,” to study amid the gothic architecture and
Oxford was an intense academic experience, but it’s hard to
concentrate on that part when I had so much fun tramping across Europe.
Snap back to reality. My daily view of the Radcliffe Camera
is now a view of the Chrysler Building. Happy and Sweet New Year.