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UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 1 | Jan. 8, 2004

Letter from Oxford

By Yaa-Hemaa Obiri-Yeboah

Ed.'s Note: UBC's most recent Rhodes Scholar Yaa-Hemaa Obiri-Yeboah sent us this letter from Oxford.

Hello Everyone,

Hope you're doing well back in Vancouver.

I have to say that I'm really enjoying myself here in Oxford -- a.k.a. land of "dreaming spires."

I've met so many wonderful people. The Canadian Rhodes Scholars are a fantastic group -- we got along so well right from the start. I've met so many people from all around the world -- the graduate community is very international -- and it's been fantastic to hear about all of their experiences and their future plans.

I'm currently in the one-year master's course in the English department focussing on 20th century literature and I'll be
writing a dissertation on African literature. My class consists mostly of Americans, with a spattering of Brits and me the lonely Canadian!

Back in October I became an official member of the University through the much talked about matriculation ceremony... some of which is in Latin. We all dressed up in black and white with black gowns and got to walk through the city like a group of lemmings. There were so many tourists at the Sheldonian Theatre taking pictures of us. It was quite amusing to have strangers from different parts of the world asking us to pose for their cameras!

The most interesting thing that has happened during my time here is the trip by all current Rhodes Scholars at Oxford to Buckingham Palace! The Queen and Prince Philip hosted a reception in our honour (as 2003 was the 100th anniversary of the scholarship). We were all presented individually to the queen and prince. And to top off the evening, Nelson Mandela was in attendance! I wasn't fortunate enough to speak to him, but the fact that he was able to take the time to come to such an event and speak with even a few of us was wonderful. The Mandela Rhodes Trust has just been founded and it is preparing initiatives on behalf of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

I've made several attempts while here to try very Oxonian and British things -- yes Oxonian is a real word! I've been punting down the Thames, have walked through many meadows, experienced the joys of the British rail system, have been to the Cotswolds, have had Yorkshire pudding, and am rowing with my college. Rowing has been great fun. During seventh week (Oxford-speak for the seventh week of Michaelmas (first) term) all of the college boat clubs raced in the Christ Church Regatta, an event held for the College novice crews. It was a wonderful opportunity to watch some great races and see College spirit (and rivalry) at its best.

Well, the term is winding down meaning that deadlines call so I must go.

I will talk to you soon!

All the best and take care,


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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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