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April 21, 2009

A New Experience

Along with the amazing study opportunities here in Oxford, I've had another great learning experience: a different style of life. At home I live in the huge city of Phoenix where cars rule the world. In the morning, I leave my family's home in the suburbs and commute to school. Shopping is done at Costco, and a truckload of groceries is deposited in our two refrigerators. I regularly travel 50 miles a day between going to school, coaching basketball, and running errands. The city is built on this principle of travel, with things spread out and a good highway system to connect everything. Here in Oxford (about 1/30 the number of people as Phoenix), walking and biking rule the world. I leave my six roommates and our four-story flat and walk to the library. Shopping is done every third day at the little Co-op grocery shop, and the two bags of food are placed in our split-into-sections refrigerator. I rarely travel more than five miles a day, but the city is laid out so that everything I need is within reach.

Growing accustomed to the difference took some time. It took a while to get comfortable estimating how long it would take me to get from one place to another. Forgetting necessary items became the mother of all sins. Each time I left the house, it felt like embarking upon an expedition. But now, nearing the end of my stay and looking back on the experience, I can honestly say it has broadened my horizons and given me an appreciation for a different way of living.

Chris Van Egmond
Fellow, Hilary Term '09

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