Uniting friendships while in the United Kingdom

Tim Van Tuyle

Oxford, England presents a unique study abroad experience that would probably come as a surprise to the everyday observer.

It is a manageable, 1.5-hour bus ride from London, which provides the opportunity for an exciting weekend in the city.

But when you are home in Oxford, the vibes are more along the lines of a college town, and the streets are bustling with some of the brightest 20-year-olds in the world.

Each time you walk down St. Giles Street past the immaculate medieval buildings to order a quick panini on your way to the pub or library, you are reminded that you are walking the same streets that worldly scholars have traversed centuries before our country gained its independence.

One of the main reasons I wanted to study abroad in the first place was to have the opportunity to interact with people of different cultures and gain a more international perspective on life.

It was difficult to choose just one place to study; I wanted to be able to experience as many cultures as humanly possible.

When I arrived at St. Clare’s College, I was surprised to find that American students are in the minority, living in a 50-person house with a wide array of German, Dutch, Venezuelan and Russian students, just to name a few.

As students at St. Clare’s, we are lucky enough to be exposed to members of each of these cultures as well as the local British people we come into contact with every day, gaining from their personal perspectives.

The result has been astounding, as I feel that each of us USD students has forged long-term friendships with students from all over the world.

We have daily discussions about sports, food and music, each of us bringing a distinctive perspective from our own national background.

During our fall break, some of us had the opportunity to return home with one of the Dutch students to Amsterdam, where we received a nice home-cooked meal and were able to see what it is like to be part of a European family.

It is likely that our paths will cross some time again in the future with a handful of the international students we have met. Having connections all over the world is never a bad thing.

We are living in an increasingly global world, and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to witness it firsthand, and learn from what each of us can offer to the other.