Starting college at Oxford in the spring of my junior year was certainly no easy feat. I applied to Lady Margaret Hall through IFSA-Butler and was accompanied by only one other student from the program. Neither of us knew what excitement awaited us.

We were thrust into a whirlwind of Orientation events, meeting members of the Junior Common Room and the same night, our fellow visiting students at a drinks reception. Hearing their thrilling stories of European adventures and their even wilder tales of life at Oxford, I was eager to begin my own studies to learn first-hand about the tutorial system and the many traditions of our college.

My first week, I joined the boat club and learned a brand new skill as a coxswain. Seven weeks later at Torpids, the Women's II crew bumped four times in four days and we awarded ourselves blades in lieu of an official title. I explored the hidden gem that was Lady Margaret Hall, walking through its many blooming gardens and enjoying a brisk walk to the city center each day.

While the academics were challenging (and the cold early mornings on the Isis even harder) I learned more about myself during these past few months than I could have expected. Students at LMH were inviting and welcomed me into their college. When I faced setbacks, the staff were supportive and gave me the tools I needed to persevere.

I am so grateful for the experience of studying at LMH and learning at an institution that is centuries old. My study abroad program was unparalleled and I am happy to have been a part of LMH's legacy.

Laura James