Back to SummaryReagan Thompson - Student Profile
As a freshman, Oxford seemed to be the quintessential academic experience that would round out my Stanford experience. I remember sitting down with Lee Dukes to discuss studying abroad and after he explained the program to me, I was set. If I’m being honest, my main motivations for going to Oxford were to perfect my writing skills in advance of my honors thesis and to travel, as I had never been in Europe. While I accomplished both these things, I was able to do so much more and had a fantastic quarter. I made great friends, and was able to immerse myself in the Oxford student culture.
My tutorial subject was on war and my tutor helped me focus on “Past, Present, and Potential Conflicts in World Politics.” Each week I focused on a different hot spot around the world such as the Arab-Israeli situation, the Chinese influence in Africa, and the Kashmir violence. For many of these topics I knew very little about the history of the conflict, but after several hours in the library, I had a good idea of what had occurred. While I did have several late nights at Oxford, I now have little qualms about quickly writing a coherent and persuasive long essay. My other classes on European Union Politics, Soccer and British Society, and Chinese also allowed me to learn about new subjects. Additionally, Oxford attracts a steady stream of very impressive and knowledgeable speakers and I was able to attend several very interesting lectures.
Traveling was awesome. I think part of the abroad experience is getting to see more of the world and I very much tried to see as many places as possible. Before and after the program I went to several European cities such as Berlin, Edinburgh, Paris, and Madrid and got to see how they differed from the U.S. and Oxford. The Bing trip to York was a great time for all the students to be together and spend time getting to know the staff.
I very much wanted to immerse myself in Oxford student culture. Going to the “Freshers Fair” in the fall helped me sign up for groups and I started playing with the Oxford water polo club. I also joined the crew team of Magdalen College and learned to row. I saw several sunrises on the Isis and had a fabulous time rowing in the end-of-term regatta. I found a great church and was able to meet weekly with a group of students as well as attend their Thanksgiving Ball. These activities really helped me get to know Oxford students and I am still in touch with them today. They are the reason that Oxford is such a great institution and I am so thankful towards them.
I had a fabulous fall in Oxford and am looking for ways to get back next year! I especially miss the great ice cream at G&Ds, formal dinners, and studying in grand libraries.