Stanford in Oxford, Spring 2013-14 Major: Electrical Engineering College year while abroad: Junior
Questions and answers with Jai
Why did you choose to study abroad in Oxford?
I wanted to spend my three months abroad in a location steeped in history and tradition. I had a greater desire for an immersive experience in an alternative college environment than for an experience in a foreign town (away from the central university), and wanted to experience the cultures and customs of Oxford University.
What were your expectations before you went and how did those change once you arrived in Oxford?
The program at Oxford has a reputation of being academically grueling and time-consuming. While I definitely had a fair share of coursework, I did find myself with an equal amount of free time to explore and travel which was quite unexpected.
What were some of the academic benefits from studying abroad in Oxford?
Oxford is a world-class university, and it would be easy to draw parallels to Stanford. At the same time, one has access to different facilities and is surrounded by a whole new group of students. You can continue learning the same subject as at home in Palo Alto, or explore a completely new subject – either way you will have a novel experience.
What was the biggest cultural adjustment you had to make?
As Oxford is a University Town, I felt that it was easy to adjust socially. As with any campus, it is easy to find students with similar interests. Otherwise, though Oxford is a small city, it is still very different from suburban Stanford. My biggest adjustment was to living in a complex right off the main street, and having shops, restaurants, and entertainment conveniently available.
What was the most memorable experience you had while you were in Oxford?
I joined my college’s boat club while I was abroad, and trained with them a few times each week. Towards the end of Trinity term, there is a University-wide regatta, the “Summer Eights”. Racing in this unconventional race where insanely expensive racing shells try to crash into each other was a tremendous amount of fun.
What subject did you do your tutorial in?
I completed a tutorial in Architecture, Manufacturing, and Design. I studied various contemporary architects and architectural movements.
What advice would you give to someone who was considering studying abroad in Oxford?
Don’t worry about satisfying specific major requirements and trying to find a tutorial that aligns perfectly with your Stanford coursework. Take this opportunity to explore a new method of learning in a new field.
What was your favorite food you had in Oxford?
At Oxford, Colleges offer a “Formal Hall” dinner up to three times a week. Here students dress up in Black Tie and are served a three-course meal. Each Formal Hall I attended at Magdalen College was fantastic.
Every Stanford undergraduate should give serious consideration to studying overseas.
Regardless of the academic path you choose, you will be enriched by time spent in another country. Achieving cultural literacy and gaining substantive understanding of other perspectives in the world will deepen your awareness of yourself, your educational goals, and your own society. Nearly one-half of each graduating class studies abroad through one of Stanford's overseas programs.