Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Oxford's Emphasis on Tradition

            While visiting Oxford University, one might feel a sense of traditionalism and properness. Some might even feel Oxford is uninviting in nature in comparison to other educational establishments. However, upon further inspection and understanding, one will most likely find that the dynamic of Oxford is something that is held rather sacred in regard to British culture.
              Priding itself on tradition and history, it seems that Oxford may perhaps find itself engrossed in the importance of appearance. Oxford might share this interest in appearance with other establishments such as those in America, but its most likely safe to say that these concerns might far exceed those any counterparts to Oxford might have.
            Made up of several colleges within the university, Oxford is an establishment in the UK that differs greatly in terms of student life and the culture they may experience as college students. Because of these differences from universities such as San Diego State in America, the life and times of a student at Oxford are most likely to not coincide with other students who might only have their age in common with students from America.
            There are many factors involved within the British educational system that allow this drastic difference to exist between establishments like Oxford and San Diego State…one being the primary school system. The British prepare children very early on in order to be ready to pass “A levels” and be accepted into a university of their choice. Many consider primary school education a time to invest, which is in contrast to the American school system that typically invests in a student’s education in the years in which the student will attend university. The reasons for this include the non-privation of most British universities such as Oxford, a lower general cost to attend university, and the way the students actually receive their education.
            Unlike a school in the United States such as SDSU, Oxford and establishments like it do not have a great emphasis on community life and activities such as sports or fraternities. Universities such as Oxford have a very individualistic way of teaching and studying. Extremely specified course work, significantly greater faculty for one-on-one teaching, and typically private living spaces all contribute to a completely different social setting than one might find at San Diego State.
            While this may be very different, it is not necessarily wrong or the making for any less of an education that you might find in America. After all, Ivy Leagues in America have a basis from universities such as Oxford. American establishments have simply evolved and morphed from what can only be explained as roots from Britain. There are benefits to both forms of university, as there are of course downfalls. What a college student in America might gain in social experience, a British student might have to learn later in life. Because a British student focused solely on one particular subject throughout the three years they studied, they might find themselves more prepared to enter a profession than an American might be.
            These differences are significant, but it remains unclear if the differences are enough to affect quality of life between say an Oxford student and a San Diego State student, unless you just so happen to have experienced both worlds simultaneously.
             In the information provided below, the differences in UK and US education systems are provided and weighed. It is well known that the two different systems vary greatly, but in the end, a decision about university needs to be made by the student who has experienced their own culture, and by the student who has their own expectations and hopes for their intellectual development in university.

            Oxford is indeed a testament to British culture and how they feel about tradition and appearance. Their educational system produces some of the greatest minds Britain has to offer. While student life might seem foreign and lacking to an American, it’s without a doubt that graduates from Oxford go on to lead excellent lives, which many of them owe to the tradition in culture that has been set for them.

Breaking all the rules like the unclassy San Diegans we are.

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