I decided to interview my RA, Gianni Martinez, about her experience studying abroad at Oxford University because I have been fascinated by listening to others’ experiences studying abroad and thought she would be a great person to interview.
HC: What would you say to people who feel nervous about being abroad for six weeks?
Gianni: “You may have to go with the right people. Get some friends to go with so you can feel more comfortable.”
She also explained how this can bring fear of being in a different country so far away, but it is a good fear to face.
HC: What was your favorite day/experience in Oxford?
Gianni: “The one night that I always dreamt of happened. I went out at Oxford with one of my best friends from high school and we had so much fun together.”
Gianni also explained how the fun was different over in England, since the drinking age was legal for most students and nobody got too out of hand.
HC: What was your favorite thing about the culture you experienced in London?
Gianni: “They are very open to diversity. One day I was walking down the street to my class and I heard about 17 different languages.”
Gianni enjoyed this because she told me how sometimes she feels that publicly speaking Spanish isn’t seen as acceptable in certain areas. However, in London, you are often hearing a widely diverse range of languages being spoken without others thinking much of it.
HC: Did you feel like you learned a lot in your classes while you were there?
Gianni: “Yes, I definitely did. It also helped that I had very interesting professors.”
Gianni took economics with Prof. Giles Bootheway and found it to be one of the most valuable and interesting classes.
HC: Do you think that Oxford is the best place to study abroad? If so, why?
Gianni: “Yes. Others who have traveled abroad to other countries all thought Oxford was the best. Oxford also opens your eyes to differences in education.”
She also explained to me how with her classes, her professors tended to focus more on celebrating what things students were best at rather than bringing them down on their weaknesses and failures.
HC: If you could go back, is there anything you would change at all about what you did with your time in London?
Gianni: “I wouldn’t change a thing. I would do it all over. Except, maybe try some more restaurants.”
Her tip on getting the best typical British food, which is fish and chips, would be to go to an authentic pub that serves the fish and chips on top of a local newspaper.
HC: Did you make a lot of new friends from St. Bonaventure while studying abroad that you may not have been friends with before?
Gianni: “Yes, I did. A whole ton. For the first time in forever, everyone really had fun together.”
Gianni also informed me that Oxford loves and supports St. Bonaventure so much that they were willing to provide space for more students to have the opportunity to come and actually ended up taking away spots from other schools. The support for St. Bonaventure even in London is tremendous and doesn’t go without recognition.
HC: What is the best advice you would give to someone from St. Bonaventure planning to study abroad at Oxford next summer?
Gianni: “Say ‘yes’ to everything that you are offered.”
This includes places to go, people to meet and any opportunity for a great experience. She also mentioned that the soccer (football) games are a must. If you attend, you should save money by purchasing a ticket far away because they are cheaper and also, more exciting!