Nandini’s Study Abroad Experience at the University of Oxford

iCLA students have been successfully accepted onto the University of Oxford’s Visiting Students program for the previous three years, with the first iCLA student to study abroad at the University of Oxford in 2019. iCLA students who are successful in their application to the Visiting Students program have the opportunity to study the same subjects alongside University of Oxford undergraduate degree students during their study abroad period.

The University of Oxford’s St Edmund Hall only accepts up to 35 Visiting Students at any one time, making it a highly competitive program that requires its applicants to hold a stellar academic record.

Study abroad provides the chance for students to experience academic life outside of their home university, and grow as a citizen of the world. iCLA has 70 partner universities in over 30 countries.

A distinguished iCLA student, Global Business and Economics major Nandini was recommended to apply for the University of Oxford’s Visiting Student program and was successfully accepted for the 2021 – 2022 academic year.

Read Nandini’s experience at the University of Oxford below.

“It was about a year ago that I was losing sleep over my University of Oxford visiting program application and in hindsight, I am glad I was as it has made this experience even more rewarding.”

University of Oxford

By Nandini

3rd year, Global Business and Economics Major

Support and guidance from my advisor and other faculty along with immense emotional support from my friends were perhaps what defined the beginning of my journey to Oxford. It was daunting to think about studying amongst bright minds and to be led by equally amazing mentors. Just like many people who get the opportunity to spend time in an institution like this, I suffered from imposter syndrome. It was surely overwhelming and I did not know if I could ever learn or mingle with people here.

However, now that it has been a few months, I can safely say those feelings have dissipated and I have made myself at home in Oxford. I have the great opportunity to meet wonderful people from across the globe, and learn and grow not just academically but also personally. It is wonderful to see how we pick up little pieces from all the people we meet and how everyone I meet here has a brilliant life story. Luckily, my neighbour is a Japanese student from America so at least I get to keep in touch with my Japanese.

iCLA international student on study abroad with new friends

The academic system at the University of Oxford is very unique and vastly different from the one at iCLA. Visiting students must prepare a study plan at the time of application and choose two courses per term. Learning is guided by a tutor who is also responsible for assignments and grading. However, what and how you learn is very much left up to you. It was definitely a big change from the structured system at iCLA. I have learnt to enjoy and discipline myself to make the most of it.

I would be lying if I said that the academics are the best part about being at Oxford. I think my favourite part has been sitting in the beautiful, historic libraries and all the lovely coffee shops. I believe I have had every cup of coffee the city had to offer.

iCLA student studying in Oxford
Cafe in Oxford

England has also given me the opportunity to elevate myself with high art. I have found that I deeply enjoy Opera and am now fueled to learn some Italian. Going to art galleries, plays and trying new cuisines with friends is what a typical weekend here looks like. Living in Japan for the past few years had made me forget the joy of going into a bookshop and finding books in English, so that is another little joy of being here.

Theatre in Oxford
iCLA student on study abroad in the UK
iCLA student on study abroad in the UK
iCLA international student enjoying Christmas in the UK

The holiday season in the UK is a beautiful time with Christmas markets, mulled wine and lovely mince pies. Unfortunately, it does come with gloomy and wet weather but one can always put on more layers. Traveling around the UK and hearing all the fun accents and trying special lagers and craft beers in local pubs has been another fun experience. In the new year, I hope to learn and grow even more than I did last year and perhaps if regulations are relaxed, to travel around the UK and see a bit more of Europe.

I could go on and on about all the wonderful things there are to do and see in and around Oxford, but I can say for sure that the most rewarding part of being here is the connections I have made with my peers and tutors that I shall cherish forever. I have been very lucky to be learning amongst bright and diverse peers here and back home at iCLA and to have support and guidance from compassionate mentors in both places. I hope I can make the most of my time here, and just as it says on the wall at iCLA, “unleash my potential”.

iCLA encourages students to study abroad and explore diversity in academic thought, identities, and backgrounds, and to become a contributor in building a globally-minded community that is welcoming of change and diversity.

Read more from iCLA Students who have studied abroad at the University of Oxford :

Sao Khue: Visiting Student to the University of Oxford: Phan Xuân Sao Khuê (Oxford Visiting Student from 2019 – 2020)

Hallie: See our social media take over on Instagram with Hallie (Oxford Visiting Student from 2020 – 2021)