From: Ani Alaberkyan, Global Grant Scholar sponsored by Lancaster Sunrise Rotary Club.

November 18, 2021.

Hello Everyone,

These past two months have been the most turbulent–yet, progressive–months of my adult life. My journey to Oxford began in early October, when I boarded the second one way flight in my life. After arrival in Oxford, I was greeted by John and Caroline Rathbone, my Rotary host parents. They were incredibly sweet and helped me settle into my student accommodations. A note on that, during quarantine, Jesus College planned a new state of the art building for new postgraduates. The building is two months behind on construction and all incoming postgraduates have been sectioned    off into hotels until construction is completed. I am staying in a quaint little inn two miles away from my College–at least I’m getting all my steps in every day.

In Oxford, Colleges serve as the social centres for students. There are about 38 constituent colleges and I’m based in Jesus College. I jumped in headfirst to student life in Oxford and was recently elected the first years’ representative for the graduate students at the College. When I’m not busy with lectures and tutorials, I’m busy planning events for the new postgraduates and making sure Jesus College feels like a home for everyone. Rowing is a very popular sport at Oxford, and I have decided to jump headfirst and give it a try. I’m the worst rower in the Jesus College Boathouse, but I’m sure I’ll start to show improvement once I put the hours in and train. I’ve also joined the Ladies Football Club (soccer for Americans) and found a supportive community of amateur athletes.

My classes have been keeping me incredibly busy. I have around 6 modules a week as foundation, before diving into further advanced study. Most of my coursework in linguistics includes Semantics, Phonology & Phonetics, and Syntax. My goal right now is to establish a strong base in the essentials before I can proceed towards completing my research. Terms here are quite short (~8 weeks) and proceed at an astronomically fast pace. I’ve heard it compared to drinking from a fire hose by others one too many times. I’ve also began my applications for PhD applications, for UK and US universities.

I’ve attended a few events with Rotary and gotten to know lovely Rotary scholars (from every corner of the world!) and equally lovely Oxfordshire Rotarians. John and Caroline have graciously welcomed me to the area and introduced me to other members of the Banbury Cherwell club. Anne Cooper, another member, has introduced me to Cecily’s Fund, a non-profit organization aiming to eliminate female illiteracy in Zambia. I’ve been volunteering with them in my free time and look forward to making more connections. I miss you all terribly and look forward to seeing your faces soon. I’ll keep you guys posted frequently on the happenings of my life!

Best wishes, Ani