Age-old traditions, academic legacy, multi-cultural experience — NIVEDITA KARTHIK shares her Oxford experience.
The University of Oxford’s M.Sc. Integrated Immunology course seemed extremely fascinating, and it was the next logical step after pursuing B.Sc. Biomedical Sciences specialising in Human Genetics from Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai. So following an interview, I was admitted to this prestigious university.
The department of Immunology at the university offers bursaries for deserving students. I too was selected for this bursary and therefore, I landed in the U.K. with a substantial fund. I arrived in Oxford and was shown my college — Exeter College, which is one of the oldest in Oxford. Normally the classes take place at the university campus, but because of the medical nature of my course, the classes were conducted at the John Radcliffe hospital. Many events are organised round the year. One that stands out is the matriculation ceremony where all new students are inducted to the university and their respective college, in concordance with age-old traditions (in Latin) at the beginning of the academic year.
The course curriculum covers various aspects of Immunology and each is taught by a world-renowned researcher specialising in that particular field. The method of teaching varies from that in India with importance given to group discussions and presentations every week. The examination style is different, with emphasis on application and knowledge-based approaches. Presentation skills form an equally important aspect of the examinations.
Food is no problem as there are Indian grocery stores that sells products at reasonable rates. The college halls provide a good meal well within one’s budget. If you are game for something special, then the college formal hall dinners are the place to go. Social life in Oxford is vibrant. The many different colleges of Oxford host parties called bops regularly which not only provide a great way to let off some steam but also help make new friends. Exeter College is one of the colleges where Indian festivals are celebrated and we had an amazing time celebrating Diwali and Christmas.
Extracurricular activities abound at Oxford with numerous societies for almost any interest ranging from the common philately to unusual ones such as the Gilbert and Sullivan society. The Indian Classical Arts Society offers a slice of India. The list of all such activities available for students is provided during the orientation week at the beginning of the academic year.
Oxford’s proximity to London, Stratford-upon-Avon and other exciting places is an added bonus. Studying at the University of Oxford is a truly memorable experience as one can experience people and cultures from various countries across the world making it a truly multi-cultural experience like no other.
The writer is pursuing her masters in integrated immunology, University of Oxford.