The Catholic University of America

  Torey Repetski - CUA Oxford Program

 

 

Top Five Reasons to Select the Program

  1. It is a great location that allows for easy travel to surrounding countries without the worry of learning a new language.
  2. Although sometimes difficult, it allows for integration with the matriculated students at Oxford.
  3. It fosters independent learning and research.
  4. It is challenging in that it forces you to think outside the box and come up with innovative arguments for your topic of study.
  5. Oxford is an amazing town filled with hundreds of years of history, learning, quirky stores, and amazing pubs!

 

What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Went

  • The Oxford Ice Rink sponsors Alternative Ice Hockey every week for 4 pounds - basically anyone can show up, get put on a team, and play ice hockey for a few hours. No experience needed and it is a great break from studying as well as an awesome way to meet British students!
  • Bring comfortable and durable shoes - you will walk everywhere. A bus pass may seem tempting to buy but it is unnecessary. Walking helps you get a better understanding of the city, it's great exercise, and it's free.
  • Ask for frequent buyer cards at coffee shops and anywhere you find yourself on a weekly basis - they often offer deals for customers who are in their shops every week.
  • Try to form a daily routine early on. The unstructured environment at Oxford can be difficult to adjust to especially once the work and activities start to pile on. So try to have some consistency in your day whether it's getting up at the same time every morning or going to the library at the same time everyday - you're going to need some self-imposed structure.
  • Plan trips well in advance because rates and fares are usually cheaper!

 

A Funny Story or Situation

"No Wonder They Had a Plague"

Cultural differences often arise when least expected. For instance, one afternoon when my friend and I were out grocery shopping we stopped to use the mall bathroom. Unfortunately it was kind of dirty...and had no toilet seats. As I was washing my hands I heard my friend exclaim, "Ew, no wonder they had a plague." There were British people in the bathroom...awkward. Moral of the story, sometimes you won't be expecting drastic cultural differences such as cleanliness and you need to be aware of how you react to them - preferably without insulting anyone.

 

An Embarrassing Situation

Pretty much every time I went grocery shopping in the first month I felt uncomfortable while checking out. Whether I was holding up the line because I didn't have a "chip and pin" card, or I tried self check out and I had to have someone verify my card while I'm dropping all of my food and there are potatoes rolling out of my bag, or I didn't know what coins to use - something always managed to go wrong. It eventually got easier - it's just important to remember to stay calm and be patient!

 

 

The Teacher From Whom I Learned the Most

David Shackleton - a young, hipstery, playwright - was my tutor for 20th Century British Literature and most influential to my understanding of the Oxford University method of learning. Before the program we are all informed about the tutorial system structure but it is completely different when you actually have to put it into practice. Mr. Shackleton helped me to take my papers from standard research papers to thought provoking comparative papers - the kind of papers that are expected on at bi-weekly basis at Oxford.

 

Student Profile:

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Fairless Hills, PA

Program: CUA Oxford Program

Term Abroad: Fall 2011

Contact Torey