Returning to Oxford | Holly Goes Abroad

I’m so excited to bring back the Holly Goes Abroad feature! If you’ve stuck around this blog for a while then you might know that I spent my junior year of college studying abroad at Mansfield College in the University of Oxford in England. Recently I was lucky enough to return to Oxford for a week to visit some friends finishing up their degrees and to see some of my old favorite places. Some of you requested that I bring this feature back to share a few of my new adventures, so here we are! Today I’d like to talk about my experience returning to Oxford in general.

Oxford itself is a city that is slow to change. Not only is this reluctance evident in the centuries-old spires reaching up to the sky and the cobblestone streets with their winding passages, but it is also visible in the unchanging structure of terms and even social events for students. Oxford’s reliability in this way made booking and planning a trip several months in advance quite easy: we knew which number week it would be, and therefor could predict what social events we could expect there to be. As someone who thrives on order and reliability, I love Oxford for these qualities.

Mansfield College, Oxford

However, when I arrived in Oxford I found that the city’s unchanging nature also led to a deceiving sense of sameness and familiarity. I recognized everything around me–the same shops, cafes, and signs–but the people were different. Although I obviously knew the friends I had gone over to stay with, there were so many unfamiliar faces around the tiny Mansfield College quad that I didn’t know. A new round of visiting students had studied there the past year, following in our footsteps as they too experienced Oxford for the first time. It was both disorientating and comforting to see firsthand how Oxford had moved on in this way: disorientating because I hadn’t expected to feel so removed, but comforting in the sense that I had moved on, too.

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to return to Oxford and spend time with friends who I didn’t know if I would ever see again. And while Oxford will always feel like a sort of home, it’s nice to know that it isn’t as static as one might think. This realization simultaneously means that there are always new things to experience and that my year abroad there can never be replicated. And I think this trip has finally made me at peace with that reality.

I’m excited to share some of my adventures with you over the course of the summer. Are there any specific things about either this trip or my year abroad that you would like to hear about? Let me know in the comments section below!




19 responses to “Returning to Oxford | Holly Goes Abroad”

  1. Oh so nice that you got to go back!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was such a lovely time! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always love travel posts like this. It’s a bit surreal, journeying back to a place that was home only to find you’re not quite sure where you fit now. I love the positive light you put on it, too. 😊 Looking forward to more of these!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! Glad you enjoyed it! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. YAY for the continuation of this blog series! Very exciting ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *cue confetti* wooo!!! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your series about your experience at Oxford was definitely an interesting series of yours that I loved to read and I can tell it was one you loved to experience and soak in, so I am glad that you’re able to go back! Have fun! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! It was incredible–can’t wait to share more about it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Welcome, I can’t wait to hear about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay I’m so excited to see this back! 😍 If that would interest you as well, I’d love to read a post with tips on how to study abroad – I’m going to Germany next semester and I’m scared, to say the least πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! Omg that sounds like such a fun post to write–will do!! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahhh I’m so excited to see this feature coming back, I always love reading about your adventures, Holly ❀ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Marie!! I have so much fun making these posts, can’t wait to share them! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] Returning to Oxford | Holly Goes Abroad […]


  8. […] turn downhill. However, I did my best to regain my footing by turning to books and friends, taking a trip back to Oxford for the first time since studying abroad there to visit friends (and some lovely bookshops). I […]


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