Date of Publication: 17 January 2020
Our alumni student, Andreina, tells us about her experience studying Politics and International Development with Oxford Summer Courses.
In Madrid, I study a double degree in International Relations and Journalism. Both subjects have awaken within me an unquenchable curiosity for people’s stories, social justice, democracy and human rights. It has driven me towards a desire to understand how the world works so I can be one step ahead. That way, I could be able to help people and, even, change the world.
Naturally, I thought about a career in Politics because that’s where real, life changing policies take place. And so I decided, rather spontaneously, that I was going to study Politics and International Relations at Oxford Summer Courses.
During my time there, I gained a new appreciation for politicians because they have to decide over things I had never even thought about! I learned how to organise my ideas and turn them into structured essays. I learned how to read critically. I learned that there are always two sides to every story, because I had the possibility to discuss news and real-life approaches with teens from countries I had only read about: India, Ukraine, China, Indonesia, and more.
Oxford Summer Courses helped me realise that politics was not my path, but that NGO’s and think-tanks were geared more towards my personality and were in line with what I wanted for my future. Furthermore, each day I spent there further convinced me that the way to change the world was not through big actions, as I had initially thought, but rather through small tugs at the heart of those that are forgotten, those that are usually not heard. Those that need it most.
To describe my experience – I have been browsing dictionaries, trying to find the right words, because I cannot seem to find one that can made those four weeks justice. It was magical. I discovered that my longings were universal, that I was not lonely and isolated from anyone. I belonged.
Oxford Summer Courses encouraged me to realise that everything I had visualised about my future did actually exist and could be accomplished. I loved being surrounded by people that had the same concerns as me. I adored learning from tutors that asked me hard questions and expected a youthful (but serious) answer.
Most importantly, though Oxford Summer Courses gave me an opportunity and a new study habit; it also gave me people that I would have never met, and that have become more important to me than the friends I have had for years. I met the biggest hearts and the most amazing people. I have never had such a strong and honest connection with anyone that quickly. The freedom we shared, the experiences we lived inspire me every day and push me to be better. To be worthy of them. To be worthy of Oxford too.
I had never been as happy as when I was at Oxford Summer Courses. My friends know it. My parents believe it. I’m a different person since my time there, and others notice it too. Teachers and bosses recognise an ambition, a care for detail and an empathy different from other students. So, all I could ever be is thankful to Oxford Summer Courses because it gave me weeks of preparation, laughter, affection, challenge, knowledge and happiness.
And so now, I wait for summer. And though most are usually good, none will ever be as good as that summer I spent at Oxford.
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