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Journey of enlightenment: from Wuhan to Oxford - a tale of cultural fusion and academic growth
Author:Lin Yangjie  Date:2024-01-12  Clicks:

This article was submitted as part of a campus-wide contest inviting students of Wuhan University to share highlights from their exchange experience and campus life.

The invaluable opportunity to engage in an exchange program with the prestigious University of Oxford came as a rare privilege. Representing Wuhan University in advance of its 130th anniversary, we embarked on this journey of a lifetime with profound honor and joy.

The decision to participate in an international exchange program is not one made lightly. Upon confirmation of my successful application, I found myself in a reflective state, contemplating the reasons behind my choice to study abroad "Why have I chosen to study abroad? What harvest do I hope to reap from this experience?" These questions left me with somewhat nebulous answers and the hope that the journey itself would bring much-needed clarity.

Welcome banners in the dormitory of Magdalen

Our stay at Oxford was transformative, to say the least. The rich heritage and cultural essence of Wuhan University have been our bedrock, nurturing and instilling within us a spirit of resilience and unyielding determination. This solid foundation was instrumental in shaping our character and enabling us to thrive in the intellectually stimulating environment of Oxford.

Studying in Oxford's library was an experience of pure delight. The panoramic view of the church bell tower from the second floor, especially at sunset, was a sight to behold. However, unlike our accustomed late-night culture in Wuhan, here, the day wound down quite early, usually by seven or eight in the evening.

Radcliffe Camera

Nighttime strolls in the backyard of Magdalen College provided insight into why Harry was fond of sneaking out at night. Listening to my friend Siyi play the piano in the college chapel was an ethereal experience, with the echoes lingering in the air. The chapel's guestbook, filled with notes from people around the globe, now holds our inked memories, too. I wonder if my friends will regret not having explored the mysterious nights of Magdalen College more thoroughly. Some keys, one never imagined, could be used to unlock the doors of our most cherished dreams.

Cambridge, with its exceptional elegance, left us in awe. The grandeur of King’s College and Trinity College was striking. In stark contrast, Newton’s apple tree stood unassumingly nearby. It was only in seeing the tree’s small size that I understood why Newton hadn’t been knocked out by one of its apples, leaving him instead to discover gravity. The streets, lined with buildings rich in history, were a magnet for tourists from all over. Reciting ‘Saying Goodbye to Cambridge Again’ under the Cambridge bridge was an experience now etched in memory.

King’s College

The quaint city of Oxford has become a second spiritual home for me. Since my return, I often find myself navigating Oxford’s map on Google, each street and alley triggering vivid memories. Although I was but a transient visitor, the opportunity to witness and tread the paths I had only encountered in books and movies was a dream come true.

We are immensely grateful for the support and guidance provided by both Wuhan University and the University of Oxford throughout the exchange program. Our mentors at Wuhan University were instrumental in preparing us for this opportunity, equipping us with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in a global academic setting.

Returning to Wuhan University after successfully completing the exchange program was a moment of great pride and accomplishment for all of us. We carry with us the indelible mark of this experience, forever shaped by the intersection of Wuhan University's cultural heritage and Oxford’s academic excellence.

The entire journey felt like a vivid, beautiful dream, with each sparkling moment composing the frames of this dream. It was so intoxicating that one did not wish to wake up. In reflecting, I am reminded of a quote by Mary Anne Radmacher that resonates deeply with this experience: “I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” This sentiment to explore the diverse hues of the world in our limited lifetime might be one of the reasons why I chose to embark on this transformative journey.

Photo by Lin Yangjie

Edited by Cao Hangqian


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