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Europe

Oxford Academics, First Impressions, and Euro Travels with Greg Lidrbauch

Greg at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Greg at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

A lot has happened since January, and I have been lucky enough to both complete my first term at Oxford, and get in about six weeks of traveling. One of the main differences between the Oxford system of instruction and that of GW is that Oxford operates on a trimester schedule with eight weeks of instruction followed by a six-week break. During the eight weeks of term, students are kept very busy. I took two courses, and for each wrote one essay a week based on a dozen or so readings that ranged from sections of textbook chapters to entire books. The pace is definitely more of a long sprint than a crawl, and deadlines are continuously arriving, meaning that traveling was not in the cards, even for weekend trips. That said, this intense and immersive system allowed me to get a lot out of both of my courses – international economics and economics of developing countries. I should add that regular Oxford students (as opposed to visiting students) study throughout their entire six-week break for exams at the beginning of the following term, and several have expressed to me that this is even more stressful and busy for them than the regular term.

One of the biggest (and best) surprises of my time at Oxford has been how friendly the students and faculty are here. Oxford tends to have a reputation as a pretentious and exclusive community, and while many of the people here are incredible and have achieved very impressive things, almost everyone I have met here has been humble, friendly, and willing to get to know me and the other visiting students. This atmosphere has made meeting British students relatively easy, and has given me the chance to integrate into the community more than I had expected.

Eze Village in France

Eze Village in France

Following the end of term in mid-March, I was fortunate enough to spend the entirety of my break traveling, and had the chance to visit 10 countries and 16 cities. It was definitely an experience I didn’t expect to have when I arrived, and in sum it was a fantastic trip. I got to do everything from wander the streets of Prague, ski in the French Alps, to relax on the beach in Spain. After an academically rigorous term, it was the perfect way to let go of stress and experience the more adventurous and carefree side of studying abroad.

Greg skiing at Les Arc in the French Alps

Greg skiing at Les Arc in the French Alps

This term I am again taking two courses; one in labor economics, and the other focusing on international relations during the Cold War period, a topic that I have not studied before, and one that sounds extremely interesting. There are a couple events on the horizon to distract from the impending work: the chance to see a play in the Globe Theater with GW England, and the upcoming St. Anne’s ball, an event that takes place only once every 3 years, so I was lucky to study abroad when I did! It’s hard to believe that I’ll be back home in less than two months, but I’ve already had a terrific experience here, and I’m sure it will just get better over the course of these next weeks.

Gregory Lidrbauch is a GWSB Junior in the Honors Program and studying Finance.  To read more about GW’s study abroad program to St. Anne’s College at University of Oxford click here.  To read Greg’s first blog post click here.  

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