Wow, what a summer. I left for Oxford, England with zero expectations and returned to the US
with numerous and irreplaceable friends and memories. This trip was one of culture, history, and knowledge that made each of my experiences abroad even more meaningful. The combination of physical immersion and academic study afforded a deeper understanding of Oxford and its environment. From runs in Port Meadow to studying in the Radcliffe Camera and visits to places like Christ Church and the Ashmolean Museum, my trip could have not been more meaningful, special, or wonderful.
I never could have guessed that in only 5 short weeks I would have an experience that made me never want to leave. It was so great to see my family upon my arrival home and now be reunited with my friends in Tuscaloosa, but I’ve spent this past week in the US reflecting on the ways in which Oxford and traveling in the UK have affected me and my outlook on experiences and opportunities.
I didn‘t expect this study abroad experience to affect my mindset and approach to life as much as it did; I definitely learned a lot about myself and what I want in the future. The cultural immersion that I experienced forced me to reflect on the things that I value most, and I decided that I really want to be able to embrace every experience afforded to me and cherish the people in my life. I put 110% into everything that I do, and I find a lot of success in that; however, I have learned that experiences can pass by more quickly than you could think possible, and I want to enjoy life as well as find success in my endeavors.
Additionally, I really enjoyed the more laid back atmosphere that I experienced in the UK and Oxford; Oxford has the tradition of starting classes and meetings five minutes past the publicized start time, something that a very punctual person has to get used to!! I also found a refreshing change of pace during my time in Europe. I am the kind of person that has to do it all, and I have to do it well and in the most efficient manner possible. And that’s awesome most of the time, but sometimes it’s more beneficial to stop and look around and take in the moment. That’s what I learned to do during my short time in Oxford, and it’s something that I’m going to keep with me during the rest of my time at UA. Life is too short not to stop and smell the roses too.
Oxford will always have a special place in my heart. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to recreate the experiences I had with the most wonderful people in the most picture-perfect places, but that’s the beauty of the memories that I’ve gained. As I begin my junior year at UA, I look forward to embracing the lessons learned and continuing the friendships made
on this trip of a lifetime.