National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Fall 2019


2019 Authors


Many study abroad programs promise students self-knowledge through adventure. Those that involve intense study seem at first sight not to offer adventure nor to entail risky dislocation nor to offer new insights into self. However, evidence from study abroad students at the University of Oxford reveals that they describe intellectual endeavor as adventure, finding that their academic experiences pose risks, demand courage, and are the means through which they and their new surroundings accommodate one another. Oxford faculty encourage academic risk-taking by posing hard intellectual challenges, helping students find their own voice rather than summarizing the views of others, and having a grading system that emboldens students and rewards those who learn through their mistakes. Oxford faculty encourage students to take risks in their writing and dare to apply to good graduate schools but help them to submit carefully prepared applications to avoid unnecessary hazards. Home campus advisers can help honors students by recognizing those for whom study is adventure and by encouraging them to risk a rigorous intellectual study abroad program.