Day in the Life as a Yalie in Oxford

Although I am still studying 24/7, life as an Oxford student has been different from what I’ve grown used to back at Yale. For starters, this term I have two tutorials, one on Monday (Modern British Government and Politics) and one on Friday (Political Sociology).

What’s a tutorial you may be asking? Here at Oxford, classes are classed tutorials and unlike the typical Yale seminar or lecture, a tutorial consists of about 2 to 4 people: you, your tutor, and possibly 1 to 2 other students. And so, while I may only have two tutorials, throughout the week I need to complete all my readings, writing my tutorial essays, and prep talking points.

Besides the weekend when I get to relax a bit and do some more exciting things, most days I pretty much follow the same routine, sprinkling in a few new things every now and then. And so, here’s what a usual day looks like in my life at Oxford.

If there’s one place on Oxford’s campus that I’ve become a regular at, it’s been the Radcliffe Camera (the Rad Cam). On most days - like today - I walk over to the Rad Cam right as it opens at 9:00am since it can get quite busy quite fast. And so, after successfully sitting down on what I like to call “my seat” on the upper level, I begin working on readings and essay prep.

After a couple of hours of work, my friend Brianna (who usually joins me at the library) and I decide to take a break to grab tea at a local tea shop called Bird & Blend. It’s been our routine to grab a tea from the shop every time we’re at the Rad Cam so, it’s no surprise that the last time we went in, the worker already knew our orders. Once we have our tea, we walk back to the library and continue our work.

Once I feel like I’ve gotten a good amount of work done (and usually once I get hungry) I decide to head out and walk back to my college. The dorms in my college have a shared kitchen on every floor and so, most days I usually cook all of my meals. Today, I decided to make pesto pasta with meatballs and sweet potatoes and a side salad.

After eating, I sit down at my desk and begin working again on essay prep. Every week I am assigned two essays, one for each of my two tutorials. And so, since the deadlines for the two of them are close together, I am continually working on establishing my arguments and finding sources to support my thesis.

Wanting to get out of my room for a bit, I walk over to Gail’s Coffee Shop and Bakery for a snack and a chai latte. While I definitely miss my New Haven go-tos, Koffee and Atticus, I’ve loved exploring the many coffee shops around town (there are truly so so many here). After finishing my sausage roll and latte - you probably guessed it - I head to another library on campus to continue work.

Fun fact: The room I decided to go to was used as the Hogwarts Library in the Harry Potter films. Its official name is the Dan Humphries room and it is absolutely as magical as the HP films portray it to be. I work for a few more hours, attempting to get through all my readings before the end of the day.

For late dinner, I meet up with my two friends Jhanay and Gill, who are also studying abroad here at Oxford, and we eat some yummy pizza while watching the British reality show, Love Island. It’s been very nice to meet fellow American students as the culture shock can be quite daunting and it’s comforting to know others who are experiencing the same things as you are.

Once I’m back at my dorm, I quickly go over my readings to make sure I have enough information to begin writing my essay tomorrow. Funny enough, I end up starting and ending most of my days reading. But, despite the challenges that have come with transitioning to a new academic environment, I’ve appreciated being pushed academically. I know that once I come back to Yale for my final semester, I’ll be a better and more confident student than when I left.