Discovering the Depths of Academia and Beyond

By Andy Wong W & L ’21


Stepping onto the historic grounds of Magdalen College as a visiting student at the University of Oxford, I embarked on a personal and academic journey that surpassed all expectations. Immersed in the realms of Mathematics and Philosophy, a community welcomed me that valued personal attention, fostering an environment that nurtured both intellectual growth and individual development. 

The opportunity to study at Oxford was an honor, and being a part of Magdalen College further heightened the sense of privilege. The intimate setting allowed for close interaction with professors and scholars who truly cared about my academic progress. Through one-on-one tutorials and small group discussions, I delved into the intricacies of my chosen fields. We explored profound concepts and engaged in thought-provoking debates. This personalized attention not only deepened my understanding of the subjects but also ignited a passion for lifelong learning. 

Beyond the confines of the classroom, I sought to embrace the wider Oxford experience. The thrill of representing the university as a member of the varsity basketball team was an opportunity I relished. Competing in a sport I loved while proudly donning the university’s colors allowed me to forge connections with fellow students and embrace the spirit of healthy competition. Playing for the team instilled a sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship that extended beyond the court, creating lasting friendships and cherished memories. 

While academics and athletics shaped my time at Oxford, I also ventured into the world of business and finance. Participating in the student M&A and Venture Capital clubs, I found myself immersed in real-world scenarios, pitching ideas and projects to industry professionals. The thrill of presenting our termly work and witnessing the validation of our efforts as my teams were awarded the best pitching teams for two consecutive terms was truly rewarding. These experiences not only honed my analytical and presentation skills but also broadened my perspective on the intersection of academia and industry. 

As much as I embraced the academic and extracurricular opportunities, it was the quieter moments that held a special place in my heart. Walking through the serene deer park at Magdalen College, the tranquility enveloped me, offering a respite from the academic rigors. The soft rays of the setting sun painted a picturesque backdrop, allowing for introspection and moments of reflection. And when the day’s work was done, gathering with friends at the local pubs, sharing laughter and stories, solidified the bonds we had forged during our time together. 

Among the treasured experiences at Magdalen College, the formal hall dinners in the grand dining hall hold a place of distinction. Dressed in gowns and suits, we entered a realm of tradition and elegance. The ethereal voices of the choir filled the hall, setting the stage for an evening of intellectual discourse and camaraderie. The combination of formalities and conviviality created an ambiance that transcended time, making each formal hall dinner an unforgettable affair. 

Studying abroad, particularly at Magdalen College, has left an indelible mark on my life. It provided me with a profound intellectual journey, nurtured personal growth, and allowed me to explore a range of interests and passions. The connections I forged, the knowledge I acquired, and the experiences I cherished have undoubtedly shaped the person I am today. Oxford is not just a place of academic excellence but a community that fosters personal connections, broadens horizons, and leaves an enduring imprint on those fortunate enough to be a part of it.