Illinois Wesleyan Students to Study Abroad at Oxford
April 2, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – During the 2009-2010 academic school year, two Illinois Wesleyan
University students will study abroad in England at Oxford University. Chao Ren of
Dongying, Shandong, China, a sophomore international student and history major, will
study at Pembroke College as part of the Visiting Students Programme. Brandon Dorn
of Glen Ellyn, Ill., a sophomore English literature major and economics minor, will
study at St. Catherine’s College.
While at Pembroke, Ren will take history lecture and tutorial courses. He discovered
the Pembroke Visiting Students Programme from former participant Sneh Rajbhandari,
class of 2009. “It is a great opportunity for a history major to explore and experience
the oldest university in the English-speaking world,” he said. “I hope that through
an intensive immersion in history I will be able to better understand where and how
our world came to be.”
Founded in 1624, Pembroke College admits less than 100 undergraduate students each
year from schools throughout Great Britain and a small number of students from other
countries for a total enrollment of approximately 400 students. Pembroke is one of
36 colleges that, along with seven private halls, make up Oxford University. Pembroke
has a relationship with 12 U.S. colleges and universities: Barnard, Brown, Bryn Mawr,
Columbia, Cornell, Duke, George Washington, Georgetown, Haverford, Illinois Wesleyan,
Tufts and the University of Pennsylvania. Illinois Wesleyan students have studied
at Pembroke College since 1997.
Dorn will study at Oxford through Butler University’s Institute for Study Abroad.
He chose Oxford University and St. Catherine’s College in particular because of his
interest to live in a different environment. Dorn said that he hopes this experience
will make him more comfortable as a citizen of the world.
He will study English as a main focus with a possible secondary focus in economics.
Dorn hopes to improve his academic skills, specifically writing and research, at St.
Catherine’s College. “Oxford is known for being rather rigorous and demanding,” he
said. “I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Many past and present students study abroad, and Ren and Dorn are not the only students
affiliated with Illinois Wesleyan studying in England. Illinois Wesleyan alumni have
gone to Oxford for graduate work such as Megan Mondi, class of 2006, and Erie Roberts,
class of 2006, who are working towards master’s degrees.
Mondi, a history and English literature double major at IWU, studied abroad at Oxford
during the fall of 2004 at Worcester College, Oxford, and while there, she discovered
her love of England. After working in publishing for two years, Mondi decided to return
to Worcester College to further her study of King James and British history. She is
currently working on a master’s of philosophy degree in modern European history at
Roberts also studied abroad at Oxford as an undergraduate and knew that was where
she wanted to do her graduate work. She is currently studying at Green Templeton College.
Oxford offers a one-year master’s program in higher education, whereas American degree
programs are generally two years. “Its education department is very good, and the
policy in the UK regarding urban education is similar to the United States,” she said.
Roberts is studying higher education policy, philosophy, history, practice and theory.
“My research,” said Roberts, “is looking at the curriculum of a teacher education
programme in London in order to see how well it prepares its student teachers to work
in urban classrooms upon graduation.”
For additional information, contact Stacey Shimizu, director of the International
Office, at firstname.lastname@example.org.