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