I'm Neha Sinha, a graduate studying MSc. Biodiversity Conservation and Management at Mansfield. I'm originally from India, and I worked as a mainstream journalist before this. While applying to Oxford, I was very aware that I was giving up my job and making a leap into academia, so I wanted the transition to give me what I wanted: independence, paired with intellectual guidance.
I feel it's very important for previously-working people to know that Mansfield gives you a sovereign, friendly and progressive atmosphere which is excellent for some deep thought and wonderful MCR parties! While anyone can enjoy Oxford's traditions, Mansfield has the unique distinction of taking what is friendly about the Oxford traditions, and combining that with a fresh, famously friendly approach that encourages mingling not only within the college, but importantly, amongst other colleges as well. I didnt want to be stifled as I came back to college, and I am so happy to have come to a very egalitarian setup. We have excellent food and are always encouraged to bring our friends in. The fellows are approachable- and I think it says a lot that the 'High Table' is at the same level as that of the students. We have a small, tightly-knit MCR, which has meant that each and every member can suggest social events, from wine and cheese gatherings, movie screenings to welfare teas.
My course too, is excellent, and the Geography department has enjoyed deep ties with Mansfield. The MSc. promised 'real-world' solutions and a critical appraisal of contemporary biodiversity and environment protection challenges. We have an eclectic mix of speakers and a grasp of how non-academic solutions can be found while being deep-rooted inconservation biology, ecology and governance policies. If your course promises to go beyond the textbook, I would strongly encourage you to apply to Oxford to enjoy a real free-thinking, challenging atmosphere!