I’m studying at OXFORD?!?! | Study Abroad

I’ll be spending the entirety of my junior year of college studying abroad at Oxford University in England.

There. I said it.

I was accepted to study English literature at Mansfield College (one of the many colleges within the Oxford University system) back in late February of this year, yet I’ve put off actually talking about it on this blog until now. Why? There are a few reasons, the first of which being that part of me is afraid that it is too good to be true. What if something happened and I ended up not being able to go after I announced it to everyone? (In reality: nothing would happen. I would just have to explain to everyone that I wouldn’t be going abroad after all). Another part of me recognizes the stigma that can sometimes be associated with Oxford due to its academic and social status as a prestigious English university. But I can’t hold in my excitement any longer: I’ll be studying at OXFORD!!!

To be honest, when I first entered college I highly doubted that I would ever actually study abroad. I’ve always been sort of a home-body, preferring to hang out with friends and family in familiar locations rather than go out exploring and adventuring all of the time. There’s also the added wrinkle of being severely allergic to nuts, since airlines and international programs are sometimes not the most allergy aware organizations. Food allergies complicate everything, and travel is definitely no exception. I also worried about the financial expenses of studying abroad– how on earth would I pay for such an adventure? However, deep down I knew that the biggest thing holding me back was my fear of living on my own for an extended period of time. Living on the Wheaton campus an hour and a half from my childhood home was one thing, but living an entire ocean away?! I wasn’t sure if I could handle that much change all at once.

Then one day during my spring semester of freshman year my English major adviser suggested I think about applying to the Oxford program the following spring. He explained that several of the students he’s advised in the past spent their junior years there and absolutely loved the experience. Still skeptical that I would actually take the leap and apply, I thanked him for the suggestion and then proceeded to tuck it in the back of my mind.

I felt my feelings towards studying abroad slowly change as sophomore year progressed. The more I learned about the Mansfield College program, the more interested I became in the prospects of actually going. To think that I could also study at Oxford!! The idea seemed crazy to me, and in many ways it still feels surreal. As the application date neared I told myself that I would at the very least apply and see what happened– given the high GPA requirement and competitive application process, I highly doubted that I would even be accepted in the first place.

And then I received the acceptance email, and everything changed.

Suddenly it was happening– suddenly it is happening. I’m actually going to study abroad in Oxford, England for an entire academic year!! I cannot even begin to describe how excited (and nervous) I am, especially considering that I’ve never even traveled outside of the United States before. I can’t wait to walk through those Hogwarts-esque halls and visit all of the independent bookshops and drink tea in cute little cafes. Most importantly, though, I am beyond ecstatic to be able to spend an entire year focused solely on studying English literature.

I feel so lucky to have this opportunity and so indebted to everyone who has helped me along the way. This is by far the biggest leap I have ever taken in my twenty years of existence– fingers crossed that it’s the experience of a lifetime!

I wanted to bring this up on this blog because up until this point I’ve felt like I keep avoiding mentioning it, even though it’s constantly on my mind. Get ready for a lot more Oxford/England discussions coming your way!

Have you ever studied abroad or traveled to Oxford or England in general? Have any tips or advice? Let me know in the comments section below!




99 thoughts on “I’m studying at OXFORD?!?! | Study Abroad

  1. Congratulations!! I’m so happy for you. One of my good friends is studying there and she is absolutely loving (and she’s also quite a homebody). Can’t wait to hear about all your exciting Oxford adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my gosh CONGRATULATIONS Holly!!! How exciting, you’ll get to walk the paths in the university where great minds like CS Lewis and Tolkien walked (that’s my dream!) yes you must share pictures with us and your experiences!!! Wishing you best of luck and a wonderful time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!!! ❤ Don't worry, I'll definitely be sharing plenty of photos once I'm there!! I just booked my flights yesterday so it's finally feeling real (ahhh!) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations! Oh gosh I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Oxford and just England! I’m not even in high school yet but it’s always been a dream for me to study in England. Hope you’ll have a great time there!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s awesome!! Congratulations! I spent a month studying in Cambridge, England at Jesus College. My only tip is to go out and explore as much as you can! Whenever I wasn’t in classes, I was wandering around exploring and taking photos, or otherwise just experiencing the town. 🙂 I hope you share some photos with us here!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I’ll definitely be sharing a ton of photos once I get there. Also, thanks so much for the advice! Everyone says to make the most of it while you’re there, so I’m hoping to do plenty of exploring and adventuring. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How exciting! It makes me think of my own experience. I grew up never planning on leaving my home town but after falling in love with a Brit I decided to do my Master’s degree at a UK university and it was one of the best things ever.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an overwhelming experience and there’ll be times when you’re homesick and helpless and all that. There’s no denying it. But when you’re feeling like that just do what you need to do (skype family, watch your favorite movies, etc.) and accept it. I think it’s easy to feel guilty when feeling bad while abroad or to get mad at yourself because you recognize that it’s a one-in-a-lifetime experience and people would kill for the opportunity, but you have to give yourself permission to experience it all – the good and the bad! (I’d also assume you’ll know others who are in the program that you can share experiences with along the way – it’s always nice to have people to talk to who understand!)

    But yes, it is so magical. The architecture is lovely, the language is fun (it’s great that it’s English so you don’t have to learn a different language, but still interesting to see what’s similar/different), and the people-watching is the best. Take lots of pictures and do your best to find a balance between doing what you need to do for school while still allowing yourself the freedom to explore.

    And if you have any questions or want to ever compare study abroad experiences, you know where to find me! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much!!! ❤ Also, thanks for the great advice. Someone once told me that studying abroad is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, which I guess makes sense because so many things are different in both good and bad ways. I think finding a balance between everything– friends, exploring, school, keeping up to date with what's going on back home, etc.– is key, so fingers crossed I can get to that point eventually.

      Thanks again!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my gosh Holly that is absolutely incredible! What an achievement! Congratulations!! I am so, so, SO impressed! I’m sure you’ll have the time of your life! I’m definitely looking forward to your future oxford posts!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations, Holly, this is so, so great, I’m so happy for you! Oxford is such a stunning city, it was is one of my favorite cities in England and seeing the university, the little streets, the life there only for a couple of days made me want to stay forever ahah. I can’t wait to read more about this and hope you’ll share a bit of your adventure with us! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! ❤ I'll definitely be sharing plenty of photos and stories once I get there. I've been looking at so many pictures online and I'm already in love with the city ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. CONGRATULATIONS! As someone who has abandoned her childhood home on several occasions to go adventuring across the pond, I can say with 100% certainty that you will rock this! Always remember why you are going, it’s to do something you love 🙂 And feeling homesick is natural, but as soon as you get to meet all the new people around you, you’ll find a second home with them. I hope you’ll keep us updated on your adventure ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! 🙂 Hopefully I can make my way over to Bath at some point because it seems like such a gorgeous place. I’ll definitely be posting all about my adventures once I get there!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. CONGRATS! Holy crapola, I am officially going to live vicariously through you! In all honesty, one of my biggest regrets in life is never having the guts to try and study abroad. I’m so happy to see people getting out there and doing things even when they’re scary. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and see photos from your adventure. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! 🙂 A lot of people have told me that they regret not studying abroad, which eventually helped me make my decision to go. Once I got accepted into the program I knew that I would seriously regret it later on if I declined. I’ll definitely be posting all about it!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is awesome, congrats!!! I studied in Leeds, England during my junior year of college and before I left it was the most terrified I’d ever been for anything, but once I got there and got settled it became one of the best experiences of my life. Some of my advice is take chances, take advantage of what England has to offer (busses and trains make traveling around the UK so convenient, I traveled all over, even just obscure little villages near where I lived were super delightful), and never feel ashamed to reach out to people (home or there) if you’re having a hard time. And definitely eat the scones!! And tea 🙂

    I hope you have a wonderful time!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! 🙂 Also, thanks for the great advice (I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled for those scones!). I’m hoping to do a lot of traveling within the UK, so hopefully I can make my way over to Leeds at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yay you’re coming to England!! 😄 I studied Spanish at university so I spent a year living in Salamanca in Spain, it was really tough but so rewarding, probably the most important thing I’ve ever done because I learnt to be brave and confident and navigate foreign countries on my own. I haven’t spent much time in Oxford but you’ll love it there, I think some of it was probably used as film locations for the Harry Potter series so find out about tours or locations online so you can walk around and take photos 😃 Well done for getting accepted!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! That’s so cool that you lived in Spain for a year. I study Spanish at school as well and initially thought I would study abroad in Granada, Spain but I think the different language would be a little too much for me. I’m super excited to check out all of the Harry Potter film locations!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Randomly came across this post, but I just have to congratulate you! 😀 That’s so great. I can relate to the whole travel-anxiety situation, especially when you start stressing about all the possible things that could go wrong. But in reality none of that is likely, so just enjoy your time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Holly, I’m so excited for you. Congratulations! I always wanted to do a study abroad program (I would’ve been in Notting Hill), but couldn’t swing it. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wow! Congratulations! I wanted to take a British Studies program with my Master’s degree, but I would have been gone too long from my job and would have had to quit, which I didn’t feel I could do, so alas, no British Studies for me.

    I hope you thoroughly enjoy your experience!


  15. First of all, congratulations! I’m sure you’ll have an awesome experience over there.

    Since my home college in America (Georgia specifically) had ties with Oxford, I went over there with a small group as part of a short summer course. Each student in the course had a chance to select their own topic sand write a huge paper about it.

    I chose to write about stone circles.

    Throughout the course, we had a chance to travel to several locations in England like Stonehenge and London then we took a 36 hour excursion around Paris.

    A few of my classmates planned to take a short trip to Ireland and back but didn’t have the chance! LOL

    I recommend taking advantage of the cheap travels during your Oxford stay AND stay focused on your studies. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!! 🙂

      That’s so cool that you went over there for a summer course. That sounds like an awesome program! (And stone circles sound like an interesting topic to study, especially historical ones.)

      Thanks for the advice, too! I’m hoping to travel a lot around the UK in particular. Are there any specific places you would recommend going or things you would recommend checking out?

      Liked by 1 person

  16. CONGRATULATIONS!! I’m so excited to hear all about it!! It will certainly be an experience you won’t forget! I did a semester in London and my biggest regret was not going traveling by myself. I had the money saved up but I let my parent’s fears of traveling alone keep me from going to places the other people didn’t want to go or the places that fell through (Scotland, Switzerland, Sweeden etc).
    Make sure you get a converter that has the three prongs on the American side because I completely forgot about my laptop and left that one at home because I was thinking I didn’t need two (spoiler: you do) Also I flew into Heathrow and they had a SIM card vending machine so if you can change the SIM phone you won’t have to pay for a new phone, just the minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!! Also, thanks so much for the advice about the converter and the SIM card. I feel like there are so many little details that I’m going to totally look over until I get there and realize that I’m missing stuff. Any advice is REALLY appreciated! ❤


      1. Haha yeah, there were some things I just completely overlooked because it was more comfort than anything. And if you download one of the texting apps do it before you leave, I had trouble with getting one when I was over there. I’ll let you know if I think of anything else 😃

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m so excited for you!! Study abroad is definitely something you’ll be glad you did. I studied abroad in Germany, so the focus was a little different, but my advice would be to experience as much as possible. Yes, your studies are important, but there are other important things during study abroad, too. Learning a new culture, meeting people from around the world, and TRAVELING! As much as you can, try to see Europe (or even Africa) while you’re there. And please let me know if you’re even in Germany. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so cool that you studied in Germany!! I actually have family that lives in Germany (in a town called Pleinfeld so I’m definitely hoping to hop over there at some point 🙂


  18. Awesome, congratulations. I have some friends in Oxford so I’ve visited a few times. The Pitt Rivers museum is pretty good, and I recommend Blackwells bookshop. There are some great little independent shops as well. I’d say try to see a bit more of the UK too, as a book lover I would definitely recommend Stratford (Shakespeare’s town) and Hay (for all the second-hand bookshops).


  19. I’m so excited for you! Congratulations! I was always a bit too much of a homebody to make the commitment to studying abroad for an entire year or semester by myself, but I did do a two week travel course over winter break my senior year (it was Harry Potter themed!) and we spent an entire day at and around Oxford and it was AMAZING. You’re going to have an amazing time, I can’t wait to hear about your experiences there!!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. WOAH WOAH CONGRATULATIONS ❤ ❤ ❤ That's so cool! My aunt and uncle live in Oxford and I visited them a few years ago. And my cousin just graduated from Oxford and my other cousin is about to start! In fact, I'm planning to visit there in September! Maybe we should meet up (I don't know when you're actually going to be there?)

    Liked by 1 person

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