The IWP-Oxford Experience: Two Perspectives

June 27, 2014  |  STUDENTS & ALUMNI

Oxford 1 444x718This summer, four students from The Institute of World Politics (IWP) were selected to attend a month-long program at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. The IWP students met one-on-one with their "don" in England's oldest university town weekly and wrote essays on topics that they thoroughly researched, which were then discussed and critiqued.

The group examined a vast array of topics while at Oxford. Some looked at British intelligence, others at terrorism, British-Iranian relations, and finally Russian foreign policy.

There was also time for some travel during the group's trip to England. On one day trip to London, the group visited the Churchill War Rooms; on another trip, they visited the royal palace at Windsor Castle. Some decided to visit other countries after their time at Oxford University. I personally went to Paris and Normandy, France after my trip to experience the history and culture in those two places.

One notable difference in this year's Oxford program from previous years was the option to include the National Security Policy Process (NSPP) course (IWP 601) as part of the exchange program. The NSPP course was designed to be taught partially at Oxford and partially at IWP once the students returned by IWP Professor John Tsagronis. This addition gave great flexibility to students to satisfy a required course during the summer and be a part of this prestigious program.

Moises Benhabib
Class of 2015

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Oxford 2 444x718Spending the summer semester at Oxford University this year was an amazing and wonderful opportunity. I really enjoyed the benefits of a one-on-one tutorial with an Oxford don, which was both intellectually challenging and stimulating. As a result, I learned a great deal about Russian geopolitics and foreign policy, Central Asia (including the "Great Game"), and even Iran - all within four weeks of intensive but extremely rewarding study.

The time spent in Oxford was also a chance to learn about British culture and customs, to admire the Gothic architecture, and to sample the best of English food and drink, including the famous "bangers and mash." We were also very fortunate since the tours organized by WISC allowed us to see London, Windsor Castle, and the ancient Roman baths in the town of Bath.

In fact, I liked Oxford University so much, I hope one day to earn my Ph.D. there.

Paweł Styrna