Ellen Cope, your fellow Wolverine who studied Medieval Studies at Oxford last summer shares her unforgettable experiences:
This past summer, I studied at Oxford University for five weeks. These five weeks were the busiest, most stressful, yet most rewarding and fun of my life. Although I was able to travel around the United Kingdom, I truly think it was my academic experience in Oxford that impacted me the most. When I studied abroad, I was about to enter my senior year here at U of M, and honestly, I was burned out. I had started to loathe my classes and being in school, a feeling that was the complete opposite of how I had felt my first two years here when I couldn’t get enough of school and loved every single second of my experience and work.
I think that my renewed interest and love for academic work came from the class structure at Oxford that was so different from Michigan. Each class at Oxford had no more than six students in it and met once or twice a week. These intense seminars forced me to read, write, and analyze at a level I hadn’t made myself achieve in a long time. I had to care about school so I didn’t look like a complete idiot in front of my tutor and my peers. I wrote nine papers and gave three presentations over the course of my five weeks while also traveling and experiencing all that Oxford had to offer with the friends I made there. This drive to work and complete so much work in so little time completely changed my will to read and write. My tutors knew my background, my wants and my abilities and pushed me in a way that most UM professors aren’t able to in larger lectures or even seminars. We went on field trips to see medieval manuscripts and to study them instead of just looking at photographs and translated texts. We had to write creative material that matched the work we were reading at the time. We had to present on topics we couldn’t even read without a translation. We went to the sites and churches we were studying in books and had only dreamed about. And I even made an OkCupid account for King Arthur.
The complete immersion into my medieval studies courses at Oxford, and even just being in such a historic city, really impacted my ability to push through senior year and enjoy my academic work once again. It renewed a love of school and literature that I was previously afraid I had lost forever and turned me back into a bright-eyed freshman for one last year. I am so sincerely thankful to CGIS for allowing me to study in Oxford and regain my love of school while experiencing one of the most beautiful cities I’ve been to.