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January 26, 2009

Welcome, Hilary Term

The first three weeks of the Hilary term have flown by!

Our first week was taken up with the OSAP (Oxford Study Abroad Programme) Orientation program, which was very well run. Each day I felt I got a better grasp on what was going to be required for the term, as well as helpful tips for living in Oxford. I appreciated that they gave us an entire weekend off to allow us to explore the city and get our flats situated.

We had several free days between the Orientation Program and our first week of tutorials. During this time we were able to meet at Kevin & Angela's home for a handful of Worldview sessions and meals together. They live in a beautiful house in Enysham, about a 20 minute bus-ride from the center of Oxford. I've found it relaxing to get away from the hustle and noise of the city to their quiet town.

I had my first tutorial last week. I met with my tutor at his house in the northern part of Oxford--what a contrast from what I'm used to. Meeting one-on-one with a teacher seemed intimidating at first, but has proven to be enjoyable, and in a way, freeing. The dons love to work with each student in their particular area of interest, and because they have such a commanding knowledge of the entire field, there are virtually no limits to the quality of the meeting. After we had discussed the topic of my first essay, I was able to ask him specific questions that I had come across during the week of preparation.

One element of the trip I had not anticipated was the degree of independence. Each week during the Oxford term, there are a limited number of events that I must attend--one or two tutorials and a worldview session. Outside of those events, however, I am free to determine my own schedule. And this flexibility works perfect considering the number of optional events that one might wish to attend. There are lectures, church services, social events, museums, and pubs, begging to be explored! Two days ago, Chris & I attended a debate at the world-renown Oxford Union Society, where we got to hear two World-Champion debaters speak. It was a blast. So far, the Summit-Oxford experience has proven to be challenging, but equally exciting and enjoyable.

Colin Johnson
Fellow, Hilary Term '09


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