For the spring semester of my junior year, I studied abroad at Hertford College, Oxford University (blog post to come). While this was a welcome change of environment and pace, I did find myself missing various aspects of Princeton, especially when faced with the prospect that I would only have one year left in the orange bubble when I returned. In the hopes that you take advantage of all the wonderful things Princeton has to offer before you become a senior, here are some of the things I missed the most about Princeton while abroad.
- Coffee Club
- As someone who loves (or needs, rather) coffee and frequents Coffee Club at least once every other day, if not more, I missed my vanilla matchas and the anticipation of a new array of drinks with the change of seasons. Admittedly, good coffee shops exist all over the world, but Coffee Club stands out to me in the way that it features students in the managerial and customer service aspect, but also in the live performances by student artists.
- This is something that is pretty specific to Oxford, which is that visiting students have optional lectures and instead spend most of their week writing a 2,000 word essay (if you’re a humanities student) that you discuss in an one hour “tutorial” every week. Though I really appreciated the flexibility that this presented, I also missed the hustle and bustle of Princeton during hours of the day when people have class. Tutorials for visiting students were also offered one-on-one which definitely allowed me to challenge my learning for the week, but I missed bouncing my ideas off of my peers.
- Murray Dodge Cookies
- The students who work at Murray Dodge bake cookies and have them available as snacks all throughout the day, which is an experience pretty unique to Princeton and something I thus missed a lot. There is nothing quite like walking back from the library and making a quick pit stop at Murray Dodge for a late night snack.
Ultimately, I enjoyed my semester abroad very much. I felt very supported by Princeton but also by the program I was a part of, and made great friends and pushed myself out of my comfort zone in ways that I had not imagined I would. I felt challenged academically and feel more prepared than ever to write my senior thesis. However, coming back to Princeton has reminded me of all the little things that make Princeton feel like home. I hope you make the most of your time here, I know I will.