Lindsey MacGregor

Lindsey studied History and Politics as a Visiting Student at Pembroke College Oxford from 2018-19.
She returned to George Washington University in Washington DC, USA where she studies Political Science with US Studies and Theatre. 

I come from a small town in Pennsylvania and was a little nervous at the prospect of being a Visiting Student at Oxford. The thought of going abroad for an entire year to a university with a reputation for being incredibly difficult academically was intimidating. It was nerve-racking to know I would be starting over making new friends and learning in a completely new style. 

However, I had learned a lot about living in a new environment from going to college at George Washington University (GW) in the heart of the United States capital. There were exciting opportunities waiting around every corner and when I found out one of those was a connection with Pembroke it seemed like the next adventure I should embark on. 

When I arrived at Pembroke we were immediately greeted by the committee of the Junior Common Room (JCR). This group worked hard in the first weeks to make sure we acclimatised to life in Oxford. Throughout the year I continued going to JCR meetings as a great way to stay connected and feel a part of the college. 

It was a bit of an adjustment to get used to both the tutorial teaching system and living so far from home, but after a few months Pembroke started feeling like home too. My academic study turned out to be manageable and incredibly interesting. I also thought it was important to have lots of other things scheduled to experience as much of Oxford as I could in one year. 

I immediately got involved with rowing at PCBC (Pembroke College Boat Club) which helped me make friends from different years and participate in a pillar of Oxford tradition. I played ice hockey for the Oxford Women’s Blues (the equivalent to a varsity team), started the Pembroke Alternative Ice Hockey Teams (ALTs) and assistant-directed the Pembroke Musical. Through all of this I made incredible friends who I will stay close to forever. 

The college system in Oxford is amazing as it allows you to become a part of the college, getting to know everyone even with just a year. It keeps a very large community small, creating a family. You can become an important part of Pembroke – someone who makes a difference and doesn’t just pass through. 

Oxford can indeed be intimidating when you are coming from another part of the world, far removed from its quirky traditions and essay writing. Yet Pembroke quickly becomes a home if you embrace it, ask for help when you need it, and get involved. There is no “normal” Oxford mould that you have to fit in to – everyone brings things from their homes which make Pembroke special. If you love learning, this is the place to be.