Dartmouth-Oxford Exchange Student: Joby Bernstein '17

The Dartmouth-Oxford Exchange Program allows up to four Dartmouth undergraduate students to attend Oxford University’s Keble College each term. These students become fully integrated within the Oxford community, living on campus, participating in co-curricular and social activities, and taking pre-approved courses. Joby Bernstein ’17, an Economics major and Public Policy minor, was one of four Dartmouth students to participate in this program last spring.

Having an interest in economics and government, Joby found this exchange program to be a perfect opportunity to combine his academic passions with his desire to study abroad. According to Joby, "the Keble exchange is unlike any other Dartmouth program, since Oxford is an academic culture shock for an American student.” By leaving the Dartmouth bubble and immersing himself in Oxford, Joby experienced a new college culture, living in a different country and in an environment without Dartmouth’s traditions.

One of the factors that influenced Joby’s decision to study at Keble College was the British tutorial system, which allows students to study within small class sizes, with few class meetings and more one-on-one time with professors. This instilled in him a greater sense of self-learning and personal responsibility for academic success. For instance, Joby noted how his Labor Economics class helped him better understand economics through writing, by communicating specific topics in papers. This class influenced Joby's decision to more classes in the Labor Economics field at Dartmouth, applying the skills he learned at Oxford to these classes. 

The culture at Oxford gave Joby an insider’s view of a different educational system. In contrast to  the pursuit of a liberal arts degree, where students are required take courses outside of their major course of study to fulfill distributive requirements., Oxford students focus on a single subject and dive much deeper into the coursework. 

A varsity swimmer at Dartmouth, Joby was able to join Oxford’s swim team during his exchange term. During his free time, he explored the city and cultural opportunities there, such as attending Monday improv nights. Through this program he was able to integrate himself within a new community by engaging in extracurricular organizations with other Oxford students in addition to taking classes.

Joby summarized his Oxford experience as "a phenomenal experience [that] pushed my brain to think in new ways about culture, academics, and society's biggest issues."

- Submitted by Bethany Malzman '19, Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant for Communications