SCIO is delighted to announce the winners of the spring 2016 de Jager prizes offered by the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford. The de Jager prizes are funded by a generous donation to SCIO from Geoffrey and Caroline de Jager who have a long standing commitment to encouraging excellence in education and scholarship.
The prizewinners are named below, along with their sending institution and the aspect of the programme for which they won their award.
A couple of the students reflect on their time on the programme
There are countless reasons why studying through SCIO is an invaluable experience. I might note the unique and challenging tutorial system, the inspiring staff, the life-giving fellowship, and the beauty and history of Oxford itself. However, although these reasons cannot be overemphasized, what makes me long to return to Oxford’s streets is far more difficult to articulate. My mind leaps to the ankle-turning feel of cobble stones beneath my feet or the cool, quiet reverence of stepping into a college chapel. I dwell upon these concrete moments. I wish to walk again through Christ Church Meadow. Oxford became home and perhaps only those who have spent hours in the shade of the Radcliffe Camera can understand this yearning and have succumbed to the same spell.
Between late nights and early mornings, drowning myself in coffee and writing thousands upon thousands of words, something strange happened: I learned what it is like to fall in love with an entire city. From the libraries and lectures to the parks and pubs, Oxford’s uniquely moody charm and international cocktail of people completely seduced me. Sitting in the Radcliffe Camera one afternoon, I looked up from essay-writing and noticed all of the other students tapping on laptops or flipping determinedly through books, and I realized that I wasn’t just visiting Oxford, but I was a part of it, as much as the people I saw around me. It is still strange—almost surreal—to think back on my time there. I am more confident in my academic ability and readiness for further pursuits, but more than that I have made discoveries about myself and my place in the world—discoveries that I did not make alone, but that were catalysed by peers, professors, and even long-dead writers. As I told one of my professors back home, it’s as if there was an Oxford-shaped hole in my heart—and now it has been filled.
Photography by Jonathan Kirkpatrick www.zeuxisphotography.com/