The opportunity to study abroad at Wadham was a much-awaited moment in Baptiste Verly’s curriculum, offering what he describes as “a change of scenery, a feeling of freshness as well as intellectual and human discoveries.”
It was with great enthusiasm that he left the Sorbonne in Paris, where he studies English linguistics, to join the Wadham community for Michaelmas Term 2020.
As Baptiste reports, living and studying overseas in the middle of a pandemic ‘slightly’ altered his experience. Here he looks back at his time as a Wadhamite.
“As France did not appear on the travel corridor list published by the British Government, I had to arrive in Oxford in early September in order to self-isolate. Living in Merifield, I benefited from Merrifield Manager Lindsay’s availability and kindness as well as from my roommates’ presence who also had to quarantine as they were coming from many different parts of the world. The fact that we went through the same experience and that we had to spend a lot of time together helped reduce the difficulty of the self-isolation period. I didn’t notice how time flew, especially as I was busy working on my dissertation on English syntax.
“When the term started in October, I was first disappointed to hear that almost all of my courses would be held online. In particular, I was very sad not to be able to meet my Romance Linguistics tutor in person and thus not be able to enjoy the real experience of tutorials. But my tutor did everything possible to prevent feelings of isolation and to make sure I could make the most of our online meetings. I am extremely grateful for that.
“I was very happy to hear that I would be able to attend a translation class in person every week - thanks Maddy for making it possible. What a joy it was to stroll around the College buildings every Friday afternoon on my way to the class!
I felt part of a wonderful community and really found a home at Wadham.
“Obviously online teaching this term somewhat tarnished my experience as an Erasmus student in Oxford. But I really appreciated that every tutor and teacher was present to answer my questions or listen to me at all times. I enthralled by their rapidity to reply to my emails. This is something that I will miss once back at the Sorbonne!
“The possibility to strike up friendships and to have real relationships were of course restricted because of the safety measures which were set up to protect us all. I would have liked to get to know Wadham students more than I actually did. But fortunately, it is now easier to reach out to people thanks to social networks and group conversations - thanks Facebook and Messenger - so I really felt part of the 4th-year group of Wadham students learning French with whom I attended the different classes. I hope that via these means they benefited from my presence as much as I benefited from their advice and knowledge.
“Although the November lockdown and the short duration of my exchange limited the possibilities of extracurricular activities, I had the opportunity to visit Oxford and surrounding areas. How beautiful Oxfordshire is! I will long remember the wonderful walks I had in Christ Church Meadow. Of course, I would have liked explore further – although I did make it to Buckingham Palace – but this will be an opportunity to come back to when the pandemic is over.
“My exchange at Wadham has been an extraordinary experience. I take with me the memories of the kindness and availability of the teachers and administrative staff. I felt part of a wonderful community and really found a home at Wadham. These few months at the University of Oxford deeply transformed me and I come out of this experience both intellectually and humanly enriched. I will not fail to greet the Wadham community again in the future; as one of my teachers said, “Once a member of Wadham, always a member of Wadham!”
“I hope all future exchange students joining Wadham receive the very same warm welcome I had and enjoy the same wonderful experience! Thank you so much, Wadham!”
Exchange programmes post-Brexit
Wadham College will be seeking to take full advantage of any opportunities offered to students by the government’s recently-announced Turing Scheme, once further details have been declared.The Turing Scheme