I know that I haven't written much about Oxford itself, but to be honest, we like just finished our first week of classes. The first week here was Orientation stuff and then we had our Bing trip and classes started last Tuesday. I really like Oxford so far. The town is very quaint and small and antique-looking. Much more historic than Stanford. Architecture is very gothic and they use stone a lot.
Oxford has 30-odd colleges, which is where the students take classes, live, eat, etc. The Stanford kids are affiliated with three of the colleges. I belong to Magdalen, which has a reputation for being a harder college to get into, but it's also very proper and snotty. I've only eaten in the dining hall twice so far, but the food hasn't been great. But we just leave trays at our table, and people come pick them up-- a little different from Stanford. The student culture is also really different. For one thing, people don't smile as much. They're not as approachable, so you feel awkward talking to or sitting with strangers. This means that I haven't really met many of the students. I've had some random conversations, but it's just really hard to approach people you don't know.
The people in the Stanford program are all really friendly. There are 47 of us total-- 32 girls and 15 guys, so... yeah... Unfortunately, there aren't that many opportunities for us to get to know each other. We all eat in different colleges and classes are kinda grouped my majors, so the only time we all interact is when we go out. But only half the group goes out, so that's also a mixed bag. But everyone that I have hung out with is cool, so that's good...
Yesterday, I dragged Veronica to a meeting of the "Oxford Scout and Guide Group"-- basically a college-version of Girl and Boy Scouts. They meet every week to do random activities. Yesterday, we did this quiz event in teams with puzzles, and flags, and drink identifying. It was pretty fun and everyone was really nice, but these were definitely some of the geekiest kids I'd met. In a cute way, of course.
I also tried out a ballroom dance class yesterday. I suck! I didn't realize how complicated it was. I'll probably give it another shot next week, along with Latin dance. Tonight I'm trying out Steet Jazz.
Classes are good so far. We take classes with other Stanford students. Oxford kids don't really have formal classes because they work on a tutorial system, in which they are one-on-one with a professor. We also take a tutorial while we're here. Mine is on American Presidents. I know that's a little weird to be taking in Britain, but this is what I think my thesis will be about, so I'll be getting a head start. And my tutor is awesome-- I talked to him about my concern and he doesn't think it's weird to be studying American stuff here. I'll be getting a new perspective. He's also going to give me a crash course on the British election, which is on May 5. I think it's cool that I was in DC for the American election and now I'm in Britain for the UK one! So political! Anyway, my tutor seems very nice and knowledgeable, so I'm excited and relieved about that.
I am also going to be taking a class on globalization to go to the big Stanford conference in Berlin. I'm also taking a class on comparative British and American constitutions. That professor is awesome. He has a great sense of humor and is super-engaging.
That's all for now... like always, keep those emails coming!