Oberlin-in-London Blogs

Getting hooked
››› August 20, 2011 | Posted By Logan Buckley '14

We can start at the beginning, I suppose: my name is Logan Buckley, I'm going into my second year at Oberlin, and I am fortunate enough to be going to London this spring to study class politics as part of the Oberlin-in-London program! I don't use very many exclamation points but there's really no other way to get across how excited I am to be a part of this program.

First, some background: I'm from Alexandria, Virginia. Oberlin was the second college I visited (the first was St. John's in Annapolis) and I knew pretty much immediately that it was the one for me--something about the mixture of music, liberal arts, and super-friendly people, I think. I arrived on campus last August with (like many people) very little idea of what I wanted to major in or do at Oberlin, beyond vague hopes of getting into creative writing classes and an idea that those things called "Excos" sounded cool.

Now, after a whirlwind first year, I tell people I'm planning to major in creative writing and environmental studies (although secretly I'm still not sure), and I've had the opportunity to sample a few of the many available opportunities at Oberlin: classes like my first-year seminar on Marx's Das Kapital and a history class about Central Asia, Excos on swing-dancing and traditional Irish music (both highly recommended), more concerts and shows than I could have imagined possible, and most of all meeting some of the continually-astonishing group of amazing people that is Oberlin's student body.

My interest in the London program stems from the aforementioned first-year seminar, taken with Marc Blecher. It was a difficult but fascinating class, and grappling with the text of Das Kapital itself was much more rewarding than it would have been to read summaries of Marx's theories and arguments in secondary sources. When I found out that Marc was teaching a class in London next spring about class politics, my interest was piqued. One of my goals going into college had been to study abroad, preferably in Europe (I've never been), and the idea of following up studying Marx's theories with doing research into class politics in today's world was intriguing.

Beyond that, in our seminar Marc went out of his way to advertise not just the program but the city of London itself. He told us about his previous experiences teaching there, the incredible cultural diversity of the city, and how he can't wait to go back. I was initially reluctant: the program would be during my sophomore year rather than the traditional junior year semester abroad, and it would be an entire semester of politics credits that probably wouldn't count for my major(s). However, I decided to attend interest meetings and start the application process anyway, and the more I thought about studying in London the more excited I became, and by the time I was admitted I didn't even consider turning down such a wonderful opportunity.

As it turns out, several friends of mine were admitted to the program as well, and now we can't stop talking about how excited we are to be going. My to-do list seems to grow endlessly: so many things to see in London itself (British Museum, Westminster Abbey, basically the entire city), not to mention other places in Britain (Stonehenge, anyone?) or travel possibilities to the rest of Europe (Dublin, Florence, Barcelona...). The possibilities are endless; the semester, unfortunately, will not be, but I can't wait to start.

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