In this week's post, Katrina shows us around Oxford and talks about how study abroad has really changed her perspective on her future.
One of the best things about studying in the United Kingdom is the ease of getting around the country. The UK itself is a fairly small island, so getting anywhere on it by rail is easy, quick and affordable.
This weekend, I had the pleasure of traveling to Oxford with some friends. We were able to stay with a Rollins graduate who is getting her masters at the University of Oxford. She was our “tour guide” for the weekend. I was blown away by Becky’s generosity and the roots she had planted at Oxford in such a short time. After only a few months, she was involved in several clubs, organizations and social circles, all while completing rigorous coursework and adjusting to a new country.
I loved seeing the stunning architecture of the university and the charming smaller city. It was bustling with tourists and residents, but felt so much more cozy and quaint than the streets of London. Anywhere I looked, I saw historic buildings dating back farther than any I’d seen before. There was even a Pret inside a 15th century building that looked like it was straight out of a story book.
This weekend was also the famous Christ Church regatta, which was really fun to see. Each of Oxford’s colleges has a rowing club, and they faced off over a three-day period. It was a lovely weekend escape from life in London, and so refreshing to see all that Oxford had to offer.
After seeing how well Becky had adapted to life in Oxford, I thought back to my first few months at Rollins College and how difficult it had been for me to adapt. Looking at myself now, I realize how much I’ve grown as a person and how much easier it has been for me to adapt to new things since my time in London. I’m really proud of how many new things I’ve tried and the times I’ve gone outside of my comfort zone.
Pursuing a graduate degree was never really something that’s interested me, but seeing how much I loved Oxford made it a fleeting thought in my mind. I don’t necessarily see myself coming back to Oxford to study, but the thing I realized is that I could. Being abroad has taught me that anything truly is possible. I had always thought that you go to high school, go to college, get a job, start a family, etc. And while all of those things are still goals of mine, this experience has taught me that I don’t have to do the things that seem obvious. I could live and work abroad if I wanted to. I could find a job in London or Oxford or Edinburgh if that’s what I wanted to do. Seeing Europe has shown me a whole world I didn’t even know that I had access to. It’s inspired me to not always choose the “easy” or “safe” option.
Studying abroad was never something that I thought I would do before I got to Rollins. I never understood why someone would voluntarily leave their friends, family, and the comfort of their home university for somewhere entirely new. After my time at CAPA, my perspective has entirely shifted. I feel not intimidated, but excited by the prospect of travel, and not knowing what I’ll be doing after graduation is no longer terrifying, but exciting. Being in Europe has shown me that the entire “world is my oyster.”
Katrina's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.