Studying Abroad at Oxford
By Alex Busse (as told to Chelsea Anglin)
Editor’s note: Alex Busse ’17 is a Philosophy and Humanities major. He will return from Oxford with three other Bethel students on April 19.
My semester at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England, has been quite an adventure. It’s been wonderful being in a community that is intellectually focused. The conversations are never dull, and the squad that Bethel sent is a great group. Spending time with Taylor Gilliam ’17, Tyler Callahan ’17, and Haleigh Smith ’17 has been a wonderful experience. It has also been exciting to make new friendships.
One of the greatest distinctions between Oxford and Bethel (and one of the greatest challenges for us, as students), is that it is set up as a tutorial system, spread out into terms lasting eight weeks each. In a tutorial class, a student is given a question and must answer it in a week’s time, in the form of a decent-sized essay (most of them run around 2,000-2,500 words). We have two tutorials during term: our primary meets once a week (eight assignments) and our secondary meets once every other week (four assignments).
The beauty of the tutorial system is that if you are interested in the topic you are studying, the research can be enjoyable. I took Introduction to Logic as my primary tutorial and Philosophical Theology as my secondary. Both courses have been amazing experiences, especially Philosophical Theology. The questions were all so fascinating. In all, I’ve enjoyed the tutorial system quite a bit, but I’m looking forward to getting back to the American style of classes.
Beyond the classroom, we enjoyed seeing the sites in the city, which is amazing on so many levels. It’s beautiful — and the architecture is incredible. Each college (there are 38) in Oxford is stunning in its own way. And there are many other manmade beauties, such as various statues, old fences, or the stereotypical red telephone booths and double-decker buses. Along with all of these things, England is riddled with natural beauty: parks, meadows, and the hilly countryside (or at least hillier than Indiana!). Overall, I have to say I’ve been very pleased with the city as a whole, except for the food. English food, in my humble opinion, just isn’t that great. Sometimes you want a greasy slice of pizza, but that never seems to be an option here. More than anything, however, I am excited to come home.
If you’re interested in rigorous academics, exploring a new culture, and eager to learn about yourself, I strongly suggest this trip.
Hear from some of our Bethel students who have studied off campus this semester in Nashville, South Africa and England in the video below. Learn more about Bethel’s cross cultural opportunities at http://www.BethelCollege.edu/MoveBeyond.