Course: Broadening Horizons
Age: 18 years old
“Every day, from the moment I woke up to when I went to sleep, I felt like a University of Oxford student. Studying in the college, eating in the dining halls, sleeping in the dorms… It was a truly amazing experience.”
Before making any other statement on here, I would like to say that before coming to ORA, I had gone through a really hard year academically speaking, which sort of made me lose hope in some of my dreams or my own ability of achieving my goals or even education itself. In January I got awarded with a full scholarship to study the two-week Broadening Horizons course in Oxford. I could not believe it. My parents and I jumped out of excitement the moment we received the news. The months prior to the course, I was able to meet my future colleagues through the ORA Forum. I was able to connect with dozens of students from all around the world, and that brightened my life a little while overcoming a really difficult year. I have to admit that, even though I was very excited to participate in ORA 2019, I was also quite scared, because it was my first time traveling alone. I had never even been to the UK before. Just the fact that I had to go through the border all by myself made me grow a lot as a person.
But, once I stepped a foot in the room where all of my colleagues were, every fear and worry vanished. I remember there being lots of hugs, smiles and greetings out of excitement in that moment. Finally getting to know these people who I had been talking to for so long was an indescribable moment. Just stopping to think that, we all grew up in different countries, different cultures, religions, social backgrounds… and we were all friends. We even laugh at the same things!
After the first day of presentations, we started to go to class. I had two subjects: English Literature and Political Science & International Relations. I had chosen Leadership and Teambuilding as an afternoon workshop. At first I was kind of scared, mostly because I had not learned much about either of those subjects at school. Also, because the system of the school I went to was pretty different from the rest of schools around the world. My biggest fear was falling behind in my classes. That did not happen. Everyone was very involved and interested in the class, and from what I can recall, all students got great results. What I was sort of worried about was my participation in class. At first I was a little intimidated to make contributions, but the teachers and other students encouraged me to do so, and I worked my way there. By the last day, I already felt completely comfortable sharing my ideas.
Both of the subjects I coursed broadened my knowledge in so many ways. I even adopted perspectives I did not even know that were possible to have. All of this experience opened my mind in so many ways. I remember both subjects being very interesting and useful. I learned a lot of concepts in different ways. When I was working on my essays, I realized how much I had absorbed over my time there. Also, my afternoon workshop was one of my favorite activities in ORA. It was mostly group assignments. We were learning a lot in that class, but at the same time I can say that it was very fun and engaging. The whole class was very connected, everyone was very comfortable and most people participated a lot.
Everyday, since the moment I woke up to when I went to sleep, I felt like an Oxford student. Studying in the college, eating in the dining halls, sleeping in the dorms… It was a truly amazing experience.
To finish this testimonial, I have to say that I have goals for the future that can be considered pretty difficult to achieve. I am usually pretty confident in myself, specially when it is time to face challenges. But, I have to admit that it is not always like that. I am a human being, and I have some weak moments where I doubt my capabilities. I am saying all of this so you can understand how delightful it was for me to receive a scholarship at Oxford Royale Academy. In that moment, my confidence went up and I felt capable of anything. After this experience, I can say that I am very excited for everything that is to come my way. I feel an urge to learn, to know, to experience, to improve myself as an individual. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity that you have given me.
“I am extremely grateful to have learned so much and I truly hope that I will be able to participate in another ORA Summer School, or possibly study at the University of Oxford.”
“This was one of the best academic experiences in my life.”
“One benefit of a programme of this kind is the diversity and the fact that the students came from many different countries. In my opinion, that made discussions and debates more dynamic, as it wasn’t biased and we almost always saw multiple sides to the same story.”