The Catholic University of America

Rebecca Hoffman - CUA Oxford Program


Top Reasons to Select the Program 

  1. Oxford's tutorial system is incredibly different from traditional American lecture courses, which I found most important because it really requires a lot of effort on your part to hone research and writing skills.
  2. If you don't have time or space to spend an entire semester abroad (like me), then a summer allows you to take a couple of courses while still getting an exciting study abroad experience.
  3. Oxford is one of the most wonderful places in the world - it's incredibly historic, it has some of the world's best museums, and has been home to some of the most brilliant people in the English-speaking world.


What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Went

  • The course-load - while I didn't know which tutorial I would be taking until I arrived (you pick two or three options and they ultimately decide the one you take), I was well aware that I would be spending a LOT of time in the library and at my laptop writing essays.
  • The difference in the student life - Oxford is made up of 44 colleges, and the life within the college is very different from at fairly different from CUA .
  • The layout of the city - I knew that my house was about a 20-minute walk to my college, but honestly, public transit wasn't necessary- the walk to town is easy and picturesque.
  • Important events - I made certain to know what political or cultural events were going to be happening when I was in Oxford - I had the luck of the Diamond Jubilee and preparations for the Olympics, but knowing general important events really helps find unique things to do.
  • Our English isn't their English - kind of obvious, but it's quite important - American English has some different words than British English, so familiarizing with certain phrases (like "Water Closet" for a restroom) was helpful.


A Funny Story or Situation

"Pub-lic Humiliation"
(This story didn't actually happen to me, but I didn't have any funny cultural encounters.)
Some of my flatmates had been at Oxford since January, and the day before I arrived, they had gone to a pub for a trivia night. They decided to name their team "The Stupid Americans," thinking they were being really funny and that the locals at the pub would also get the joke. However, the group failed miserably at the British trivia, and they lived up to their name. Some of them were too embarrassed by the episode to return to the pub, which was an unfortunate by-product of ignorance of the host country and a bit of arrogance on their part. The moral of the story: Know about your host country, or else you'll look pretty foolish in front of the locals.


An Embarrassing Situation

As far as uncomfortable moments go, a few of us girls got catcalled by some of of the local guys as they drove by in cars, but we never felt threatened by it.

The difference in fashion was more of an uncomfortable situation throughout the entire term. Our clothes were, for the most part, quite acceptable, but the students at Oxford dress very nicely every day, so sometimes wearing jeans or shorts made us stand out like sore American thumbs in a crowd of well-dressed people.

Student Profile:

Major: French

Hometown: Egg Harbor Township, NJ

ProgramCUA Oxford Program

Term Abroad: Summer 2012

Contact Rebecca