IES Direct Enrollment - St. Catherine's College, Oxford
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Haven Harrington

Liberal Arts Majors: Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Minor: German
Hometown: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Experience Time: Fall 2022

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

During this program, I spent one month in England studying at the IES Centre to get acclimated to the British tutorial system. In London, I was able to do a lot of exploring across the city and I was also in London at the time of the late Queen's passing. Then in October, I moved into Oxford to start the Michaelmas term as a Visiting Student at St. Catherine's College. In Oxford, I studied the Ancient Near East and Roman Statuary for 8 weeks.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience really challenged my academic capabilities as the tutorial system is entirely different from the educational system in the United States. Each week, I had to write 1-2 essays and read more books for research than I have in my entire academic career. The tutorial system was beneficial as every week I would have a 1 on 1 session with a tutor to discuss my research and learn more about the assigned topic for that week. Also, the lectures are about 1 to 2 hours long, and most of the time you can choose which lecture you'd like to attend. This experience pushed me to improve my research and academic writing skills.

"This experience pushed me to improve my research and academic writing skills."

How will this experience impact your career goals?

This experience makes my career goals seem less of a reach, and it has sparked an intense interest for me to pursue a career in academia. I was able to network with professors and graduate students who are really passionate about their field, and they are highly encouraging of newcomers. Studying in Oxford exposed me to some of the best academics in my field of study, and it has encouraged me to continue my academic career beyond Penn State.

How has the College of the Liberal Arts helped you to find and/or succeed in this experience (e.g., adviser, faculty, staff, enrichment funds, etc.)?

The College of the Liberal Arts was critical in allowing me this opportunity to study at the University of Oxford. The application materials for this experience were recommendation letters, a personal statement, and a writing sample, and it was the College of the Liberal Arts that exposed me to such supportive professors to help me in this process. (My writing sample was a writing exam from one of my CAMS courses!) The scholarship funding of the College of the Liberal Arts was also extremely helpful, as the funds allowed me to participate in such a prestigious program without worry of adding to my student debt.

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

The Paterno Fellows Program pushes each fellow to push the boundaries of their academic capabilities, which encouraged me to apply to this program. The experience I had as a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar taking honors courses, helped me succeed academically in Oxford. Also, the Paterno Fellows Program supplied scholarship funding which helped me be able to attend this program and stress less about the cost of attending such a prestigious college as a visiting student.

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