Spire 2022

The Beginning | A Brief Introduction

As I moved past the first look, I grew to see Oxford and the suburb of Headington, where I lived, as my home, at least for a while. I started learning directions and memorizing Oxford’s unsystematic street names. I made my bicycle my primary means of transportation, taking it up hills, alongside the double-decker buses, and to our tiny grocery store in Headington. I became quite efficient at converting pounds to U.S. dollars and Celsius to Fahrenheit (simply multiply by 9/5 and add 32), although I never fully felt comfortable with weighing items in grams. Despite the sometimes-difficult newness, Oxford offered some fun new experiences! I got to see Timothee Chalamet in person as he filmed Wonka right outside my library window. SCIO offered a weekly tea time, a wonderful time of chatting with professors and fellow students while balancing a mug in one hand and a plate of cheeses, nuts, fruit, and slices of far too many miniature cakes in the other hand. Take it from an American: of all the food to eat in England, tea time is certainly the meal the British do the best. In January, we SCIO students even joined our English colleagues in celebrating Robert Burns Day in a traditional Burns Day celebration, complete with tartan, bagpipes, and haggis. Somewhere in helping set up, I was chosen to read the closing poem in a Scottish accent, which I did amidst laughter and applause. (As I did so, I thought of BU professor Dr. Joshua Pittman, who had first introduced me to the holiday in literature class the year before!)

Oxford. The name originally meant just what it sounds like – a place where oxen forded the River Thames. But, as it has for millions of people, Oxford came to mean much more for me when I studied abroad there this spring. Before arriving in January, I was fortunate to have a few personal connections to Oxford. I grew up as an avid reader and admirer of many historic figures from England and specifically Oxford – theologians like John Wycliffe and Charles Wesley, authors like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, etc. In 2016, my two older siblings and dad had a chance to go and take a creative writing masterclass in Oxford, and I – who wasn’t allowed to go under what seemed like Mom’s unjust rule – stayed behind as a jealous 14-year-old, counting down the days until I could go, too. In summer 2019, due to winning a hymn writing contest, my time came, and I spent some of the best weeks of my life in the city of Oxford and the surrounding areas. I loved every minute, and I wanted to go back before I flew out of the London airport. In the fall of that same year, I started at BU, where, at the time, I didn’t consider their study abroad opportunities, even after various faculty members recommended them to me. Thankfully, my mom and faculty like Dr. Flowers and Dr. Zalduondo wiser than I was, and they encouraged me to look into making Oxford more than a pipe dream. I could be a reality as a study abroad opportunity. At their prompting, I researched BU’s partnership with the Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) program, applied, and waited to see what would happen. Excitingly, I was accepted and, with some changes to the timetable due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prepared to go to the University of Oxford from January to April in 2022. The city of Oxford spreads between the Thames and Cherwell rivers, forming a semi-orderly conglomeration of colleges, libraries, shops, churches, houses, and ivy-covered walls. It displays the hallmarks of most English cities – plenty of pubs, double-decker buses driving on the left side of the road, dogs walking without leashes – but adds nearly a thousand years of history, meaning that there isn’t adequate parking space and that nearly every building boasts tales of famous people and events within its walls. I loved the city at first sight – its golden sandstone walls, stunning buildings, abundant book shops, and historical richness. Where I Was | The City

Laura Kimzey ‘22, visiting Scotland during spring break at Oxford


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