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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Larissa in England

Philosophy major, Larissa Pentland ’19, has studied at the University of Oxford in England

My experience studying abroad at the University of Oxford, in Oxford, England, was absolutely incredible. I made many new friends that I plan on keeping in close contact with, I attended one of the oldest and, arguably, the most beautiful universities in the world, and I lived in a lovely town that was full of great people and incredible opportunities.
One of the highlights of my trip was learning through the one-on-one tutorial system, which is one of the many things that Oxford is famous for. Each week, I read and prepared for an hour long meeting with my tutors, in two different subjects: business ethics and existentialism. After doing my reading for the week, I would write a paper for each subject (roughly 8 pages each) and then I would meet with my tutors to discuss, elaborate upon, and defend the ideas included within these papers. This method of learning was incredibly beneficial to me, it helped me improve my confidence in expressing and defending my ideas, it helped me to develop incredible communication skills, and it helped me realize how passionate I am about education and research.
Another highlight of my trip was becoming a member of the Oxford Union. I was lucky enough to get to see world class debaters discuss incredibly important social, political, environmental, and economic topics and watch some incredible figures speak, sometimes just feet from where I was sitting. Some of the many people who I was able to see speak at the Union were: Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart, Russell Brand, Slavoj Zizek, Stormy Daniels, and Jo Malone.
Additionally, I had the opportunity to travel around Europe during my time abroad. Some of the highlights of my travels were: going to Amsterdam and going on a canal tour during the holidays, when the city was decorated with lots of beautiful lights, going to Italy for my 22nd birthday and seeing the lovely cities of Rome and Florence, and going to my dream destination: Iceland and seeing countless beautiful sights, including waterfalls, geysers, mountains, and the Northern lights!
Finally, the last highlight of this trip is that it allowed me to learn a great deal about myself and what I hope to do after graduation from Lake Forest College. Studying at Oxford helped me realize that research and academia are where my true passion lies. It also helped me realize that I want to pursue graduate study in Europe. 
I would like to thank the lovely William H. Toner for gifting me with the Toner Award Scholarship, which helped me fund my study in Oxford, I am very gracious for his generous gift. Studying at Oxford allowed me to grow and learn so much, it was an incredibly eye-opening experience and I couldn’t be happier that I was allowed to study there.