Postcards from Abroad: Oxford


By Mary Beth McAndrews

Dearest St. Mary’s,

How’s it going? How’s Hallowgreens recovery? Hope not too many people lost their phones or their dignity. Things here in Oxford are a lot tamer and a lot quieter but sometimes I miss the Greens on a Friday night. Sometimes.

Oxford, in one word, is beautiful. The buildings, the trees, everything. It’s just such a different environment, going from southern Maryland into Oxford’s city center, from the relatively new buildings of St. Mary’s to the hundreds-of-years-old Oxford colleges spread throughout the city. I say that, and then I walk out of my door to a tattoo parlor and electronics store. Nevertheless, the buildings are still old!

Life here is much quieter than probably any another study abroad experience. There’s also a lot more work and not a lot of time to travel but, you know, I wouldn’t change anything. On a day like today, Thursday to precise, I have my 11 a.m. tutorial about Jane Austen, which is a quick trip down the stairs into the Seminar Room to meet with my tutor–not “professor,” got to be careful about that. The title “professor” is the highest of titles and is reserved only for the most prestigious of tutors. After my tutorial, which is only an hour, the rest of the day is at my disposal.

Some days, I head up to the JCR (junior common room) to make a simple lunch of ramen and grilled cheese. Other days, I head out to the baguette shop on the corner for a sandwich before a day of studying in the Radcliffe Camera, the prettiest library I’ve ever seen. Either way, it involves a quick lunch before heading out of the building to read Shakespeare, Austen, Joyce, or Woolf. A Starbucks latte and a comfy chair have taken me a long way here, let me tell you.

Evenings are the most fun because that’s when we all congregate in the JCR to complain about our days, cook dinner, and just de-stress together. We’ve formed such a tight-knit community here, which is slowly becoming one of the best parts of my experience here.

However, the best part of living in Oxford, besides the glorious education I’m receiving, is the food. Oh the delicious street food. The United Kingdom is not known for its diverse and exotic food but it should be known for its food trucks. Oxford has food trucks on every street serving my new favorite food: lamb doner wraps. They are essentially gyros, full of delicious lamb, onions, lettuce, pickles, and garlic mayo. Who cares about the calories when you can eat this deliciously filling meal, plus chips, for such a low price? St. Mary’s, I miss you, but Oxford is the best. Yeah, I’m reading a lot and working more than ever, but this city is fantastic. I miss the river, I sometimes even miss the Great Room, but I’ll see you soon!