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January 11, 2013

Study abroad builds bridge to Oxford

Students now have the opportunity to study at one of the only universities in the world that looks more like Hogwarts than UChicago.

While the U of C’s seven other study abroad programs in Great Britain and Ireland, which include direct-enrollment programs at King’s College London, Trinity College Dublin, and the London School of Economics, require students to stay for the academic year, the program at St. Catherine’s College will allow for more flexibility. Students have the option of staying for the entire year, for autumn quarter only, or for winter and spring quarters jointly.

According to Assistant Director for Student Affairs in Study Abroad Lewis Fortner, the program was born out of students’ long-standing interest in forming a liaison between the U of C and Oxford University. While several students have directly enrolled in Oxford programs in previous years, this is the first formal connection between the two universities.

The program is not restricted to a particular theme, and students of all majors are eligible to apply via the regular study abroad application online. As with existing study abroad programs, students will be able to acquire credits for graduation as well as fulfill major requirements.

Fortner said the application process will be highly competitive, as only about two students would be accepted.

“In many ways, while the names Oxford and Cambridge are magic, these universities are not appropriate for most visiting American students,” he said.

As a St. Catherine’s education is based on a combination of intimate one-on-one tutorials and lectures, successful applicants will be expected to demonstrate a significant amount of independence and self-motivation, Fortner said.

The deadline to apply to study abroad programs in Great Britain and Ireland, including Oxford, is January 18. The Oxford program is only open to second-, third-, and fourth-year students.

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