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Student Review of Oxford Summer Courses in International Relations

Last year I enrolled for a course in July. Not really knowing what to expect I packed my bags and hopped onto my flight from Madrid to London. The first day I was extremely nervous, I knew no one and the airport had lost my luggage so I was running on very few things. I registered with the staff and they gave me the keys to my room, my dad and I made our way to Penrose. As soon as I opened the door I suddenly stopped feeling nervous. My roommate was waiting for me with the biggest, friendliest smile I had ever seen.

To start off with, spectacular. I took International Relations during the two weeks I spent there. My teacher was one of the most intelligent and motivating people that has ever taught me. He was extremely interesting and welcoming. He encouraged my peers and I to participate in class and involve ourselves in the conversation. Our classes were three hours, the longest time I had spent sitting listening to someone, however, I never wanted them to end. Furthermore, during our tutorials, which we did in pairs, he would give us incredible feedback. This was, I had never had anyone reviewing my work so thoroughly and sitting me down with a partner and giving us insightful advice that not only made us learn, but motivated us to do better.

Moreover, during my course at Somerville I made some friends who I still keep in contact with. The environment was so welcoming and everyone was from different backgrounds and cultures. I learned a lot of useful concepts in class, but I learned a lot from the people who surrounded me too. The variety of people made it impossible for anyone to not find someone who they got along with. Even though it seems like an exaggeration, I made friends for life. Who I am actually meeting in Rome this Christmas. It seems like I have known these people forever. The staff too was a great highlight of our experience. They were all so friendly and open, it was super easy to talk to them and we all got along with them really well.

I am currently applying to universities all over the world (United States, Holland, United Kingdom, Spain...). My course is very useful, out of the 20+ universities I am applying to, there has not yet been one that has not seen the course as something incredibly valuable that positively influences my application. The fact that you are going out of your way to get a better education is something institutions everywhere love. It shows initiative, responsibility and desire to learn. It has also helped me decide where I wanted to apply and what subject I wanted to choose for college.

All in all, I think that anyone who is considering gifting this experience to anyone should go for it. It gives you a very big taste of what the university experience is like. You can really see all the outstanding work there is behind the course. I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to go and for having the initiative to "give up" a part of my summer. My course was perfect and it exceeded my expectations completely.

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