0th Week – Hilary Term

The 1st week of Hilary term starts this Sunday. It has been a nice and relaxing winter vacation, but I am ready to get back to my old routine.

I travelled a decent amount in the last 2 weeks. I spent New Year’s Eve in Munich, and then spent 2 days in Paris. I think that I overestimated the amount of travel that I would do this break; I did not account for how exhausting it is.

The Hofbräuhaus is my idea of heaven on Earth.
In front of the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Paris is lovely at night.

I also managed to visit a few more pubs in Oxford that I have not been to before, including the King’s Arms, Lamb and Flag, and the Eagle and Child. J.R.R Tolkien apparently used to frequent the Eagle and Child. The pub culture here is a wonderful thing. There is such amazing history to all of these places, and I always enjoy seeing professorial types drinking their Guinness while reading interesting textbooks.

I went to the top of University Church again because I wanted a picture of myself where I looked both smart and mysterious.


It is a new year and a new term, so naturally I have been reflecting, and making a list of goals for myself. Matt and I have decided that we want to cook more of our meals in order to save some money and eat healthier.

This was surprisingly edible. I cooked the pasta. Matt did everything else.

I have also been saying for a while that I want to join a sport team here, so I have decided to try out for Oxford’s Lawn Tennis Club on Sunday. I needed some time away from the sport, hence the whole study abroad thing, but 4 months without it has been tougher than I expected it would be. Hopefully this will be a good way to meet people and not get too out-of-shape while I am here.

I learned a lot during Michaelmas term, so hopefully this will be a successful and fulfilling second term in Oxford. Once again, wish me luck!


Winter Vacation

It was nice to spend a few weeks at home, but I am happy to be back at Oxford. I missed my little house on Cowley Road.

I think that I have had a productive break so far. I learned how to fry eggs and boil pasta, so I may actually use the kitchen on my floor now. I never realized how useful cooking your own meals could be.

I am a bit jet-lagged at the moment, so I am going to keep this post as brief as I can. A good friend of mine from high school is here to visit, so we plan on traveling for a few days. I hear Munich is a fun place to spend New Year’s Eve. I think the best way to travel is to buy a 7 day Eurail pass. The pass provides unlimited travel by rail throughout continental Europe, and it is reasonably affordable.

Looking forward to next term, I am excited to go to more Oxford Union events. Meeting J.J Abrams was a highlight of my term, and life in general. Also, I will try my best to go to more of the formal dinners at Mansfield.

It is good to be back.




8th Week and End of Michaelmas Term

After 8 weeks, 12 papers, and 105 pages of writing, Michaelmas term has come to a close, and it is time for a well-deserved winter vacation.

Oxford is hard, but I think that goes without saying. These work-intensive 8-week terms can challenge the resolve of the most confident and accomplished student. Managing all of the unstructured free time can be difficult even for the most disciplined student. At times, the tutorials are humbling. But I think that is what is great about Oxford. It may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy a good academic challenge, then this is the place for you.

It is also nice having a frozen Holy Cross GPA. And I do not mean that in the sense that people studying abroad can just slack off for a year. I think that the focus while at Oxford is and should be more about the process of learning, rather than just grade-grubbing, for a lack of a better term. We discuss the papers and their shortcomings and strengths, and then we move on.

Being a week removed from the end of term, I am enjoying life back in the US. As wonderful as Oxford is, the food leaves much to be desired, with one notable exception.

Heaven is a place on Earth


I have a few weeks at home before returning to Europe. I plan to travel before Hilary term starts. I have only been home for a week and I already miss Oxford.


7th Week

On even weeks I have both my primary and secondary tutorials, so on odd weeks when I have a little bit more free time I try to explore different areas of Oxford. This week I finally made it to the covered market, which has some nice small cafes and shops, as well as a popular milkshake shop called Moo-Moo’s.

“i’m going to put this on my snapchat story captioned ‘baby’s first moo-moo’s'” – Renu

But one of the most spectacular things that I have done so far in Oxford was climbing to the top of the University Church of St Mary. For 3 pounds, you can climb up a narrow and winding staircase to the top of the church where you have the most spectacular views of Oxford.

Matt and a pretty view. Tim is on his phone in the back not appreciating the beauty.

On the whole, this was an eventful and fun 7th week at Mansfield. Since Thursday was Thanksgiving, Mansfield gave us a nice and relatively authentic dinner in the chapel. It was also nice because the Holy Cross contingent all managed to sit with each other and have a meal together. We have all been busy with our work and other activities, so it was nice to finally catch up with everyone.

And then on Saturday night the Mansfield JCR threw a Christmas themed “bop”, which is pretty much the equivalent of an awkward high-school dance, but with more wine. I dragged Tim and Brandon along with me, but they did not seem to enjoy it as much as I did. The students at Mansfield are very fun-loving and good people, so events like these are definitely worth going to, in my opinion.

My turtleneck was a real conversation starter that evening.

Only two more papers and tutorials next week, and then it’s time for winter break. Looking forward to it!


5th and 6th Week

Six weeks down, and two to go. I say this every blog, but time really does go by quickly here.

My view as I write this.

It is amazing how much writing we actually do here. I have written 9 papers so far that combine to a total of 75 pages. The papers have been on interesting topics, so the writing flows easily. My primary’s questions have been quite abstract. For example, some of the harder questions have been ‘what is freedom?’ and ‘how do we know that other bodies exist?’. Our tutors provide very helpful reading lists that help us narrow in on a specific author’s opinion, so it is not as bad as it sounds.

And while this is not the case for every tutorial here, neither of my tutors have given me any grades yet. There is something nice about not having to worry about a number grade for each individual assignment. I personally like this method. It definitely eases some of the tension, and helps us focus on the assignment at hand.

In other news, last week it seemed that most people had cases of the so-called “5th week blues”. I think that everyone for the most part is beginning to feel fatigued from all their work. I have seen some people who are normally very bubbly and upbeat be very grumpy lately. I do not want to be a hypocrite, though, because it would be very disingenuous for me to say that I haven’t had my tired and grumpy moments in the last few weeks.

It is important to find time to relax. I tend to reward myself by getting Nando’s. I reward myself often and for the littlest of things. The last time I went there they recognized me, so they gave me a Nando’s rewards card. It made my day, if not my entire week.

“Hear my soul speak:
The very instant that I saw you did
My heart fly to your service” -William Shakespeare

As much as I am enjoying my tutorials, I am excited for the end of term. I am going to visit home for a few weeks and then head back to Oxford after Christmas. I then plan on traveling a bit throughout Europe before next term begins. Oxford students hardly have any extended free time to travel while in term, so our long vacation periods are the time to do it.

Still lots of work to be done, but the end of term is near!


Matt and I went to an Oxford United game last Saturday. He bought a cheeseburger.

3rd and 4th Week

Week 4 is well underway. It is crazy to think that we are almost halfway done with Michaelmas term.

I just had my second secondary tutorial on Monday. In this course, I start by reading the paper that I have prepared out loud while the tutor listens and takes notes. (When preparing for the tutorial, It is good practice to read the paper to yourself to see if it sounds fluid.) After I finish reading, the tutor usually addresses places in the paper where I could have been more clear, and then we talk about the topic as a whole. A lot is squeezed into that one hour of the tutorial. It is a fun, yet slightly intimidating setting.

The work is exciting and time consuming, but I have found time to do some interesting things in my spare time.

A few blogs ago, I mentioned that I would take up chess in my free time. And in my last blog I mentioned my fondness of a local pub. Well, it turns out that this pub has a chess set, so I’ve been killing two birds with one stone recently.

Playing chess at Angel and Greyhound. I beat Tim 4 times.

Also, at the end of week 2 there was this event at Mansfield where we dressed up and drank champagne and ate chocolates. The formal events here have been very fun. I always enjoy an excuse to dress up and take pictures.

And last Saturday, I went to my first Oxford United football game. My season tickets are in the very top row, but it is such a small stadium that the view from the seats is still pretty remarkable. I am very excited for future home games.

An exciting game of lower league English football.

At some point I would love to join either a club sport or university team. At the end of the summer I picked up a slight injury, so I decided to give myself a few weeks to recover. I miss playing tennis, so hopefully I will be able to play soon.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!


1st and 2nd Week

I have just completed my first 2 weeks of tutorials, and I think it is safe to say that Oxford is pretty challenging.

The process of studying and reading on your own and then preparing a 2500-3000 word essay to be critiqued in front of you for an hour once or twice a week is something that is both daunting and fun, to be honest.

At Oxford, we take part in the tutorial system, which consists of a weekly primary and secondary that meets every other week. My primary consists of just myself and one other student with the tutor, and for my secondary it is just me and the tutor. And as someone who is often very reserved when it comes to talking in class, in this intimate setting it is very easy to engage with the material and ask questions.

While things seem to be going well for the most part since I’ve arrived, I think that I am definitely still getting the hang of things. 3 all-nighters in 9 days probably isn’t healthy.

But on a more positive note, here are some important personal updates: I’ve been to Nandos 4 times in the last week; the bartender at the local pub already knows me by name and order; and I met J.J. Abrams at an Oxford Union event! 

I will have a picture of me and a few other students with Mr. Abrams at some point soon. Joining the Oxford Union is a must if you end up studying at Oxford. The lineup of famous speakers is truly remarkable. Just the other day, my fellow Holy Cross visiting student and friend Matt met Scaramucci, or “the Mooch”, and got an Instagram picture with him. Pretty cool stuff.

I also ran into a friend of mine from high school randomly at a pub. Turns out that he is also studying abroad at Oxford for the year. Incredibly small world.

Regis at Oxford. Drinking some water after a long day of writing.


Tonight, I am going to a chocolate and champagne party, and then tomorrow I am going to my first Oxford United football (soccer) game of the year. I should have more pictures to come after these events.

Looking forward to more adventures and learning. Wish me luck.


Fresher’s Week

I’ve finally settled in, and orientation week is up and running. Oxford is even more beautiful than I had imagined.

The walk to Mansfield is spectacular.  I live on Cowley road, which is about a 30 minute walk from Mansfield. That sounds kind of bad, but honestly it’s a lovely walk. Some of the other visiting students are buying bikes, which isn’t a bad idea. I enjoy a nice, peaceful walk, and I’m not terribly confident in my biking ability, so I don’t think I’ll get one.

I bring my camera pretty much everywhere I go. I get quite a few glances when I stop in the middle of the sidewalk to take a picture of a brick wall or a cloud. I’ve looked like quite the tourist. I took some pretty pictures though, so definitely worth it.

Colorful townhouses on my walk to Mansfield

Last night, the freshers and visiting students went to the Turf Tavern with their “parents”, who are basically just upperclassmen who will help us adjust throughout the year. It was nice to finally meet my new mom and dad, and it was even nicer when my mom bought me a “very potent” drink. It was definitely one of the most eventual Monday nights of my life, for sure.

What’s really cool is that the Turf is one of the oldest pubs in Oxford, apparently dating back to 1381. Perusing the wikipedia article as I write this I just learned that “local legend also has it that former U.S. president Bill Clinton, while attending Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, infamously ‘did not inhale’ during an evening of carousing at the pub.” Also, “the Turf Tavern is also where former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke set a Guinness World Record for consuming a yard glass of ale in 11 seconds in 1963.” Pretty neat. Also, the ceilings were so low at the entrance of the bar that I couldn’t even stand up straight without hitting my head. My guess is that there were not many 6’5″ people in the 14th century.

But with all that being said, what I love the most are the libraries. So much can be said about them, but I’ll save that for a future blog.

I love libraries

Before my next entry I’m going to buy a chess set. I think that would be a cool Oxford student thing to do.

Anyway, back to my reading!


A blurry picture with some of my new Friends!
Amazing night at Mansfield

Leaving Tomorrow

It has been a hectic few days of preparation and packing, but in less than 24 hours I will be on a plane flying to England!

I think that the hardest part of this whole process has been saying goodbye to my puppies. They probably know that I’m leaving because they haven’t left my side for the last few days. A few of my friends have asked if I will try to smuggle the pups in my carry on. It is a fun idea, but an impractical one; there is a 70 pound weight limit on each suitcase and my dogs are quite chubby. It is either them or my clothes and books, and I am going to Oxford to study, so this time I should probably take the books.

Anyway, once I arrive and drop off my things, I leave again for a short 2 day trip to Germany for a cultural experience before the fresher week orientation festivities begin. It will be a busy few days, so I will write again about everything once I am back at Oxford and well-rested.   

On a side note, I am very excited for my long flight. I always get my best reading and thinking done while on planes.

I will miss you New York, but I’ll see you soon.


Packing the essentials
Parting is such sweet sorrow

Departing Thoughts

It’s hard to believe that in less than 3 weeks I will be arriving at Oxford. It all feels so surreal.

I had a nice summer consisting of teaching tennis, seeing old friends from high school, and reading books on Phenomenology. Philosophy is fun and practical. Speaking of  practicality, I also read a book on rock and roll in New York City in the 2000s and I briefly entertained the thought of dropping everything and becoming a rock star, but then I realized that I play no instruments and have absolutely no musical talent, so for at least the time being I will put that dream on hold. With all that being said, I am looking forward to going back to school.

The rock book that I read

As a young boy I briefly lived in London. I developed a strong love for the country and culture while also becoming a fanatic football (soccer) fan. I lived walking distance from Stamford Bridge, Chelsea F.C’s Stadium, and became a fan for life. I always knew that in some capacity I would want to return to England, so the opportunity to go to Oxford was one that I could not resist.

It will be tough to leave my friends at Holy Cross for the entire year, but I know that these next 9 or so months will be an amazing opportunity for me to grow as a person. I visited Holy Cross twice in the last 2 weeks, and I think that now I am ready to embark on my new adventure.

I am excited to meet new interesting and worldly people. I have already been in contact with a student mentor at Mansfield who will help me get settled once I arrive and he used the word “penultimate” in context over Facebook chat, and honestly that is really cool. I also bought 2 season tickets to the local soccer team Oxford United. They were ridiculously cheap and my parents say I can use that second ticket to help make new friends.

I think that this blog will help me reflect on every day spent at Mansfield, and I look forward to sharing my journey with you all. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started.


Visited my friends @ HC and they were very happy to see me!