The opportunity to pursue my graduate work in Economics in Oxford is a dream come true. When I walk among the medieval buildings and underneath the city's Dreaming Spires, I still sometimes pinch myself to make sure it is truly happening.
Oxford is a great place to study economics, and I feel that in my first term here I have already learnt a tremendous amount. And yet, what makes the Oxford experience so unique is not the formal education I receive. It is the education I receive once I leave the classroom and the library behind.
Within its only 45 square kilometres, Oxford offers an almost limitless amount of intellectual and stimulating opportunities to participate in. There are more debates and talks than one could possibly attend on just about every subject one could imagine. Just in my first term here, I have attended debates on issues as diverse as the role of marriage in a secular state, the question of whether Western society has given up too much privacy for the sake of security, or on whether Britain should exit the EU. Moreover, I have attended talks by the former Chief Economist of the IMF discussing the state of macroeconomics, by a fellow Lincoln graduate student tracing the historical roots of ISIS's ideology, by Elton John arguing that – ultimately – it is all about "love", by the former Greek Finance Minister lamenting the decline of academic freedom, and by a former Pakistani Foreign Minister reflecting on the state of Pakistan’s Democracy and the country's foreign policy.
Finally, there are countless discussion groups and societies that range from Engineers Without Borders to the Pokémon Society (no kidding!), exciting readings at the bookstore, and a sports team for every kind of sport you could think of, and even for some that you probably could not (ever heard of Octopush?).
Best of all, though, and what makes many of the activities I have just mentioned so enriching, are the people you meet here. Most people I have met in my first few months here are very much down to earth, and while they often come from very different backgrounds, most share a sincere passion for the work that they do here at Oxford.
In short: Oxford offers you the chance to not only become an expert in your chosen field of study, but it also provides an arena that challenges you intellectually and allows you to sharpen your ideas about what the world should look like, and to become a generally knowledgeable person. All of this happens in the company of lovely people and – if you are lucky enough to be at Lincoln – in a college that makes you feel comfortable and at home. It is an incredible experience! And I am very thankful to have it.
Oxford, 22nd January 2016.
Fabian is studying for an MPhil in Economics.