Samantha Curle

Tell us something about what you were doing before you came to Oxford

Before I came to Oxford I was living in Kaohsiung Taiwan working full-time as a language arts teacher for both primary and secondary school students, while studying Mandarin part-time.

What do you like most about studying in the Department of Education?

I love the fact that the department is truly diverse. Staff and students alike come from numerous different countries, have diverse professional experience and backgrounds, and from this I have learnt far more than ever expected.

What attracted you to the programme of study here?

I was looking for a programme that would integrate disciplines, and was not only about the theory of language but would also enhance my knowledge about the practice of language learning. As a teacher, I hold with high regard such continuing professional development. The ALSLA course has provided just that, introducing me to areas of study such as psycholinguistics with which I had previously not had any contact.

What qualities do you think an Education student at Oxford needs to have in order to be successful?

To be a successful learner at Oxford you need a certain level of self-motivation and dedication, determination, passion and humility. There will come a time when sacrifices need to be made, and you must be willing to make them in order to succeed.

We hope that you would recommend the Department of Education as a place to come and study. What reasons would you give for this?

The department demands a lot, and yet also provides a lot. I would definitely recommend it as a place to come if you want to come face-to-face and have amazing conversations with the big names in your field, if you want to delve deep into the key issues of your research area, if you want to stay up-to-date with cutting edge research, and of course – if you want to learn from the best!

If I knew before I started the course what I know now, I would….

… save energy (and get more sleep!) during term time, because all the real, hard, important reading/work takes place during the holidays. I would also have been more strategic about what I read from day 1.

What are three things that you might suggest to students coming after you to help them get the most out of their time here?

  1. Speak to people. Whether it is a guest speaker from overseas, the cleaning lady, a colleague, a professor or the librarian – listen, learn and ask! I have found that engaging in conversation has been the most educational activity in Oxford.
  2. Get involved. In the department, your college, a sports team ~ anything … just get involved! Besides your studies, these activities and experiences will be most enriching.
  3. Say “Yes” more than “No”. As your time in Oxford flies by, you will find yourself saying the phrase “Sorry I can’t, I have to study” a lot more than you could ever have imagined. Try not to walk around with blinders on – attend random seminars within and outside the department, go to that birthday party, watch that debate – have a life. Studies are important, but taking time off to relax is just as important, and you’ll find it will actually enhance your work.

Page last modified: January 26, 2018