It has now been 8 weeks since I sold my car, packed my life’s possessions into boxes, said goodbye to all my friends and family and made the big trek to Oxford. It’s been exciting – but daunting too. I miss the smell of my home and waking up in my own bed. I miss the spectacular Johannesburg sunsets and spontaneous trips to Durban and Cape Town. I miss not walking an average of 7 miles every day…
But the things that I have shed have made way for many things anew. I have met so many extraordinary people. From someone who led a project to save 600 jobs at a bank to someone who has spent the better part of their life touring the world as a musician. 313 people from 64 countries. The depth and variance in lived experiences of my classmates is astounding but the one thing that truly stands out to me is just how humble and helpful my classmates are. Feeling ill? Someone is sure to offer some soup or to pick up meds for you. Need a drink? There will be more than a handful of people ready to join you for a pint at the pub. It truly is a community.
One of the pieces of advice I got before arriving at Oxford was to ‘step out of the MBA bubble’ and take advantage of the college experience. I am privileged to be a part of Hertford, a college known for the famous ‘Bridge of Sighs’. I have enjoyed wonderful social nights and formals at my college, with my favourite being the Whiskey and Chocolate night.
I have also been lucky enough to have done a couple formal swaps and enjoyed meals at the likes of New College, Oriel and Teddy Hall to name a few. Getting to experience and tour different colleges, whilst enjoying three course meals, has been exciting (and mostly delicious). From the old and the grand to the new and the chic. I love how every college has its own story, quirks and its own ‘vibe’. I am looking forward to the 34 other colleges I am yet to explore.
Another exciting part of being at Oxford is access to the Oxford Union. From Malala Yousafzai to Bhad Bhabie, the speaker card does not disappoint and has something for everyone one. I also attended a riveting debate titled ‘This House blames western lenders for the plight of developing countries’. As someone who has worked in capital markets in a developing country, it was extremely insightful for me to hear a myriad of well thought out arguments on both sides. I also attended the annual Romanes Lecture which was given by Taoiseach Micheál Martin T.D. He spoke on the rise of populism and what is needed to safeguard democracy in the coming years.
Just two short months in Oxford have felt like a lifetime in terms of the wealth of experiences that I have had the privilege of enjoying and I am so excited for what is still to come.