I’m from a town called Walsall, in the West Midlands, where I attended a local state grammar school. I had been aspiring to come to Oxford for a good few years, but decided upon geography fairly late on, as the broadness of my interests made subject specialisation difficult to decide upon. There are other disciplines that claim breadth of study as one of their positive attributes, but geography truly does offer a wonderful variety of stimulating and diverse subject matter. Within one day of first-year lectures, you could learn about the atmospheric circulations shaping global climatic patterns, the ways in which cultural perceptions are shaped by the media, and the geopolitics of the former USSR, for instance. There really is little room to become bored with this course. That doesn’t at all mean, however, that it lacks detail and depth: whilst offering an education on many aspects of the Earth, and promoting a greater understanding of our planet as a whole, there is also plenty of room to focus study on particular areas later on in the course once you’ve found out where your interests lie!
Studying geography also places you right at the heart of key contemporary issues such as environmental change and the consequences of globalisation. Oxford, as well as being the birthplace of geography as an academic subject, also has many of the top geographers in the country among its teaching staff, and is an excellent centre of research, granting students here access to the forefront of scientific advancement. Of course there is also the opportunity to conduct fieldwork and go on trips, and there are funds available to sponsor travel during the individual research project undergraduate geographers undertake during their second and third years.
Mansfield is a small college, but has one of the largest intakes of undergraduate geographers in the university. It also boasts the 1887 Geography Society, which hosts talks, dinners, and other social events throughout the year. Mansfield is an open, friendly, welcoming college, with a strong sense of community, making it a very enjoyable and happy place in which to live and study. Reading geography here is far more than just another necessary step towards finding a career: it offers a full and enriching experience, which, should you choose to study here, could well see your time here being some of the most memorable, enjoyable and fulfilling years of your life.