Rhiannon is a 4th year student

  • Home    Hay-on-Wye, Wales
  • Degree  Oriental Studies (Arabic and Persian)
  • A levels English Literature, History, French, Spanish

Rhiannon ReesWhat made you choose to study here?
I chose St John’s because it is one of the few colleges which offers my course, and because it has a great location with on-site accommodation for all four years. Everyone was very friendly when I came to look around and I certainly haven’t regretted it!

Is life here different from how you expected it to be?
I definitely worried that I would struggle with the workload at Oxford. However, I have found it very manageable and even enjoyable. In my experience, there has still been plenty of time to get involved in societies or to make plans with friends.

What do you like about studying at St John’s?
St John’s has given me so many opportunities over the last few years. In particular, generous travel grants have enabled me to travel to Jordan, Iran and the United States, giving me the chance to pursue periods of study abroad. I also like the fact that accommodation is offered throughout your time at St John’s. This gives College a very friendly atmosphere, and makes it easy to make friends in different years. It is quite a big college, so there is plenty on offer, but not so big that you can’t get to know everyone in your year.

Are there aspects of  your degree you particularly like?
Unlike most subjects, our classes are held in the faculty rather than in College. Arabic is a small subject, and Persian even smaller, so everyone gets to know one another very well. The highlight of my course was definitely my year abroad, which I spent in Amman in Jordan.

How do you like to spend your spare time?
There is far too much to do in Oxford to fit in one paragraph! I have been very lucky to have taken part in a number of activities. I am currently taking a computing coding course, paid for by the university. A particular highlight was rowing in my first year. It was so nice to be part of a team – our College boat club doesn’t charge subs like some other colleges, and anyone can have a go, regardless of experience. The College bar is a nice place to meet friends in the evening, and we sometimes go to formal hall as a group. Formal hall is an optional, candle-lit, table service evening dinner with three courses – you wear your gown to formal hall. When the weather is nice I like going for walks in Oxford’s green spaces such as Port Meadow.

What advice would you give someone looking to study at Oxford?
I don’t think there is any one quality you need to study at Oxford, so long as you are interested in your subject!