CMRS student Kathryn Bloski spent last year as a visiting student at St. Anne’s College, Oxford, and we asked her to tell us about her experience.
My Year Abroad
It has now been a year since I left to begin the adventure of a lifetime as a visiting student at St. Anne’s College at Oxford University in England. Although I am now back home, my year there will no doubt have lasting memories and experiences that I hope to never forget. As a third year CMRS student at the University of Saskatchewan, I saw the opportunity to apply to Oxford as a way to get closer to the rich sources of history through Oxford’s prestigious Museums, world renowned libraries, and distinct tutorial system, and I was not disappointed. My time there was filled with the most rigorous work I have ever done, but I loved every minute of it. I took tutorials on Cicero and Catiline, Ancient Greek and Roman coinage, Latin, and Ancient Roman religion. But these were no ordinary classes. Oxford is based on a tutorial system. I would write one 1,500 word essay each week, and when the mad rush to finish it was over I would have an hour long meeting with my personal tutor to get grilled about the subject on which I wrote. It sounds stressful, and believe me it was, but I have some of the best memories just thinking about walking in to the Dumbledore-like offices of my tutors—some of the top minds in their area of study—and having thought provoking discussion that truly made me think like a historian. For my Greek and Roman coinage tutorials I even had the privilege of having each tutorial in the Heberden Coin Room at the Ashmolean Museum. With every topic we studied, we were able to hold and analyze the ancient coins from a vault inside the Museum, and I had many ‘pinch me’ moments, especially when holding one of the rarest coins, made from a melted down gold statue of Nike. I took my love for the class further by volunteering in the Coin Room, working with a brand new technology that was able to document and photograph coins in order to put them into a brand new database, a definite once in a life time opportunity.
When I wasn’t in the breathtaking libraries of Oxford, walking down the cobblestone streets, or at the Ashmolean Museum, I was playing soccer, or as the British call it, football. While there I was lucky enough to make the University’s Women’s football team as a starting defender. Playing football in England is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. The team bonding allowed me to make some amazing friends that I will truly miss, and the team spirit allowed me to experience the deep seated, but thrilling Oxford rivalry with Cambridge. I also took it upon myself to attend one of Oxford’s many formal black tie events, at the St. Hugh’s ball, where I attempted to fit into the lifestyle of the ‘posh’ English population. Another incredible experience! The guys came dressed in black tie suits, while the girls dressed in their nicest gowns and danced the night away, with other surprising options of bumper cars, cotton candy, carnival swings and a silent disco! Needless to say, my year was jam-packed with amazing days, nights, friends, and memories that I will never forget! I can definitely say that I came home an improved student with a new love for what I am studying, and a great appreciation for the places that CMRS has taken me.
See here for more information on this and other study abroad opportunities at the University of Saskatchewan.