Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich


September 6, 2009 · No Comments

All I could think about when I was at Oxford was: “what a privilege”. What a luxury it must be for the students that come here, to be in a university which is in the top ten best universities in the world, to be a Rhodes scholar. Not that I do not appreciate the education I receive, but Oxford University is the most idyllic place I have ever seen. When looking at the gardens of the beautiful colleges, the bikes, the lovely stone buildings, I could almost see the students from the 18th century discussing their ideas at the quad, wearing tweed jackets and going punting in the river.

Of course, this privilege has, traditionally, only been enjoyed by those that grew up privileged. Most of the students at Oxford attended what we know as private schools. This is something else I learnt about England: state schools are what we consider to be private schools. Yes, it’s really complicated. But as I was mentioning, admissions to Oxford still continue to be controversial, specially after the Laura Spence Affair in 2000. Spence was a state public school student who had perfect grades in all of her GCSEs and A-levels, something that would secure her a place in Oxford for sure, but in the end, did not get in. Oxford said that it was because she did not show potential, but people say it was really because of  her northern England working class and state-school background. Finally she ended up getting into Harvard with a full scholarship.

However, I realize that, in the end and in the long run, it doesn’t really matter whether education is very expensive, or for free. Higher education is a right and not a privilege in many countries, yet there is many people who just cannot afford the time to go to university and need to start working instead. A student has to be able to afford the time to study.

On another note, I think it will be interesting to compare Oxford with UEA later on, specially because, as I understand it, they have very different structures as institutions of higher education.

Categories: Azul

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