Oxford Study Abroad Program Reinstated

The Pomona College fall semester study abroad program at University College, Oxford in England, which was cancelled last year, has been replaced with a new program at St. Edmund Hall and Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford. Five Pomona students have applied for this newly established yearlong program.

“We had been affiliated since 1973 with University College, Oxford. We had the program only in the fall term, [but] University College decided to cancel our program,” said Rhoda Borcherding, Director of the Office of Study Abroad. “They wanted international students to be full-time degree students, not students visiting for a semester.”

Last May, Borcherding traveled to Oxford to establish the new Oxford program and the 2013-2014 academic year will be the program’s debut.

Founded in the 12th century, Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Currently, it consists of 39 halls and colleges.

The program at St. Edmund Hall and Lady Margaret Hall consists of three eight-week terms with six-week breaks in between, and the program will run from October to mid-June. Students in the program will be able to participate in music, drama, and a variety of clubs.

“Our students will be totally integrated into the life of colleges at the university. They will live at the colleges. In our old program, students lived in homes in Oxford. We are very happy with this new program because it is a richer, fuller, and more integrated experience,” Borcherding said.

Students will be assigned a personal tutor, the equivalent of a professor, in each subject area and will be taught in one-on-one tutorials or in small groups.

“Each college runs about three to four hundred undergrads, [and] each student belongs to his or her own college. The teaching will take place partially in the college, where students would have an adviser. Depending on the subject, they might get teachers from other colleges,” Borcherding said.

Oxford offers a variety of subjects, from Czech literature to geology, classic archaeology to film studies. A maximum of ten applicants will be accepted each year, five for each hall.

Michael Someck PO ’15 is planning to attend Lady Margaret Hall this upcoming fall.

“I am going to study a combination of math and philosophy there. I originally was going to take math for the first two semesters, but I found out that there were four philosophy classes I wanted to take, and I am really excited about them,” Someck said. 

Although students will only take six classes over the course of the year, eight credits will be counted toward graduation requirements. Borcherding stressed the rigor of the course load.

“Although students meet with tutors of each of their subject areas once a week, the workload is very heavy and the program is very rigorous. Every week you will have to write a paper or complete lab work. It depends a lot on self-motivation,” Borcherding said.

Someck said that he is excited for the program.

“Although this program is new, I am really looking forward to studying at Oxford,” Someck said.

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