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University of Oxford Summer Courses
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Derek Bannister

Major: History, Economics
Hometown: West Chester, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found this study abroad program by searching for summer courses online. Many major universities in the UK offer similar programs, such as Cambridge and the London School of Economics.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The summer course at Oxford was in economics – focusing on both microeconomics and macroeconomics – and was two weeks long. I stayed at Christ Church College, a very well-known college within the university, which was an incredibly fun experience. The students on the trip were taking classes in various disciplines and came from all over the world, and that cultural mixing was absolutely a highlight of the trip. The courses were taught by professors and graduate students at Oxford. There was also a significant cultural aspect of the program, as students were able to explore Oxford, London, and ancient cities such as Bath.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The academic experience not only provided more insight into a field I am very interested in and major in (economics), but also provided me with expanded interests related to the field. My tutor – the Oxford name for a professor – was very passionate about economics, which made the academic experience especially interesting. He would, for example, provide suggestions of books to read on an ongoing basis, providing great options for expanded learning. After my course finished up, I went out and bought two books focused specifically on the Great Recession which I am currently working through. The classes were all capped at 8 students per class, giving the rooms an intimate feel.

I also hope to get some international work experience over the years, and my trip to Oxford – where people from all over the world came together for the course – helped solidify that desire for me.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am especially interested in macroeconomics, but I have developed a somewhat tangential interest in finance. After I graduate, I hope to work in the asset management industry, helping develop portfolios to help the money of individuals or institutions grow. I also hope to get some international work experience over the years, and my trip to Oxford – where people from all over the world came together for the course – helped solidify that desire for me. This academic program also cemented my interest in the way financial markets operate, as well as the impact that singular firms can have on markets.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this program to Liberal Arts students, first and foremost, because of the breadth of classes you can take as a part of Oxford Summer Courses. I also cannot stress enough how eye-opening it was to be part of such a diverse group.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

If not for the Paterno Fellows Program, I probably never would have considered economics as a major. The requirement to complete two majors made me think about what I wanted out of my education early on. Pursuing a major in economics has given me an understanding of such an important part of politics and social conditions, as well as an interest in the ways that different countries interact. This international perspective is a part of the academic experience that is fostered by the Paterno Fellows Program and that pushed me to try something new.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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