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March 05, 2010

Life So Far

The first week I arrived in the U.K., three feet of snow sent me into cardiac arrest. My toes were in danger of frostbite. And icicles dangled from my eyelashes.

At least that is how it felt to a girl who was born and raised in southern Alabama. Once these symptoms subsided, I waded through flake-flooded streets of Eynsham wowed by thatch-roofed houses and imagining what kind of Englishwoman I would make with the other Summit Oxford guys. Well, I am sure that they were not wondering what kind of Englishwomen they would make, but we did all agree that our first impression of England was breathtakingly enchanting. Not only was this my first time waddling around in goofy snow boots, but in the next few months, I would be immersed into new ways of thinking, living, and yes, even eating. I have already married Nutella.

Since the first week that I moved into Oxford, opportunities have abounded. I have had the privilege of speaking with fascinating people and participating in some phenomenal adventures. This is a place where it is natural to see Richard Dawkins and Anna Popplewell coming out of one of Oxford’s many sandwich shops, not together mind you. I doubt they are friends. And since I have been in Oxford, I have interviewed Mr. Scheuttinger, a Senior Foreign Policy Aid to President Reagan, and Sir Roger Bannister, a knight and the first man to run a sub-four minute mile.

In addition to meeting a circle of accomplished individuals, I visited Stonehenge, London, Cambridge including King’s College Chapel, and Shakespeare’s birthplace at Stratford-upon-Avon. Living here in Oxford has been like living in a museum as I have gotten to appreciate and absorb the history and heritage of this medeival, little university town. I have particularly enjoyed the reverence of the traditional Anglican services at the many college’s gothic cathedrals every evening.

Furthermore, the tutorial system at Oxford University is the most personalized and prestigious program available, because the tutorials provide students with one-on-one time to sit down and discuss ideas with leading experts in their fields of study. I chose international relations and journalism as a precursor to my graduate studies, and not only has the tutorial system directed my interests, but it has also prepared me to apply for graduate schools as a highly competitive candidate. After all, what graduate school isn’t going to be impressed by a recommendation from an Oxford don?

The relationships that I am building here in Oxford are going to be far-reaching, whether they are building lifetime friendships or impacting acquaintances in everyday encounters. And the loyalties that we have built within the Summit Oxford program, including with the entire Bywater family, have enriched my experience with Christian companionship and wisdom for the future. I cannot emphasize the value of the support and counsel that Mr. and Mrs. Bywater offer as a part of Summit Oxford, and I am only half-way through.

Rebekah Redden
Hilary Term, 2010

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  • July 13, 2010 // 12:18 pm //  # 
    Hannah Kouts's avatar Hannah Kouts

    Thanks so much for posting. I appreciate your testimony. I am considering Summit Oxford, but I need to do a lot more praying first.

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