Journeying to Oxford: Leaning on God and Finding Inner Strength

The University of Oxford in England is one of the top universities in the world. Journey Joslin, an SAU student, has the privilege of completing her 2021 spring semester at this prestigious university. Today, Joslin tells us about her experiences studying abroad in Oxford and how she is both commemorating and sharing her stories with others through her blog.

“Oxford is intense,” said Joslin. “I’m in the middle of the eight-week Oxford term right now, and I understand now why this is one of the premier universities.”

The intensity of the workload doesn’t put a damper on Joslin’s mood, though. She said it was an amazing experience. The classes are personalized to the subject she picked so she gets to tailor her classes from one week to another.

“That means my tutors — the Oxford equivalent of professors — expect me to really dig in and produce quality essays,” said Joslin, “but it also means that I get to study whatever really interests me.”

Joslin said she appreciates Oxford’s beauty and rich history. The university she is studying at is older than her home country. Just down the hill from her housing and around the corner from the Radcliffe Camera is St. Edmund’s Hall Library. The library is housed in a church built in the thirteenth century. This rich history is her favorite thing about studying abroad.

“When I need a break from my latest essay assignment, I get to walk out the front door and straight into history,” said Joslin. “You can’t go anywhere without running into a building that is hundreds of years old or was once the haunt of some of the most important cultural figures in the Western world.”

Joslin’s Oxford experience has been incredibly educational for her. She said the most important thing she had learned was that she was stronger than she thought. She has been learning to trust God and His plan as there had been a lot of hiccups in the process. She has faced COVID restrictions and finances problems, but it all worked out.

“We just have to keep walking, keep trusting, and let God do His thing,” said Joslin. “And He will, even if it doesn’t look like you wanted it to. Most of the time, it looks even better.”

Joslin started writing a blog about her experiences. She said the main purpose in starting her blog was to allow people back home to keep up with her adventures. She has discovered new things about her experience and herself while slowing down and writing.

Joslin hopes her blog will inspire others as well. She said by taking time to write, she is able to appreciate the beautiful and special things. She hopes that reading the blog will allow people to take in the small blessings that everyone has in their normal, everyday lives.

Joslin has some advice for students who want to study abroad in Oxford.

“Don’t give up. It seems really overwhelming when you’re working through all the paperwork and the funding. Then, you come up to the reality that you have to produce academic work for tutors who are working at the world’s top university, and that can be really intimidating.” said Joslin. “Being here is so worth whatever headaches or fears you have to deal with in the months leading up to your arrival.”

Students can follow Joslin’s journey at Oxford through her personal blog.

For more information about the Scholars’ Semester Abroad in Oxford, contact Diane Kurtz, the Director of Cross Cultural Studies, at Diane.Kurtz@arbor.edu.

By: Merry Castle