April 05, 2024

Applied mathematics and psychology major Martin Eschman ’24 fully immersed himself in the study abroad program in Oxford, England during the summer of 2023.

Martin Eschman standing inside the Globe Theater in EnglandHampden-Sydney College is dedicated to nurturing individuals who not only excel academically but also embrace diverse experiential experiences. Students have many opportunities to step outside of their comfort zones and grow into the well-prepared and highly motivated citizens the College looks to create. The Office of Global Education plays a pivotal role in supporting this effort, providing opportunities for students to become well-rounded, global citizens with a deep understanding of themselves—an experience they often encourage their classmates to pursue. Applied mathematics and psychology major Martin Eschman ’24 experienced this transformative experience firsthand as his journey studying abroad at St. Anne’s College in Oxford, England, during the summer of 2023, was spurred by the encouragement of his fraternity brothers.

“Two of my fraternity brothers went to Oxford and relished the experience,” Martin said. “Their stories of the classes they took, the culture they experienced, and how they grew as men really struck a chord with me.”

Oxford is renowned for its dedication to research and pioneering advancements and its picturesque campus. Those fortunate enough to pursue studies in this historic setting have the opportunity to learn from esteemed experts and develop their academic interests in the midst of centuries old Gothic and Baroque architecture.

Martin highlighted what he sees as the most valuable aspect of studying abroad: the opportunity for experiential learning. Enrolling in Literature of English Renaissance (ENGL 301) and Early Modern Britain (HIST 307), Martin was ready to dive into a unique learning environment, saying, “I was eager to gain a new perspective on how students from a different culture learn and how professors from a different culture instruct, enriching my academic experience.”

The Office of Global Education, in coordination with the Compass Program, works to create these enriching and fulfilling opportunities for students, aiming to engage them in global perspectives, promote cross-cultural understanding, and enhance their college experience.

Following the conclusion of his research on public speaking anxiety as part of the 2023 Summer Research Program, Martin geared up for his adventure across the pond. Joining him on this journey were two of his fraternity brothers, Sam Detrick ’24 and Thomas Overton ’25, enhancing the overall experience.

“Being able to share this adventure with my fraternity brothers was exciting," Martin said. "Additionally, I was enthusiastic about the chance to explore courses outside my usual academic focus. As an applied mathematics and psychology major, studying literature and history wasn't something I had previously considered. Yet, this opportunity emerged as the ideal chance to broaden my academic horizons in a renowned educational environment."

Upon his arrival in England, Martin eagerly embraced the opportunity to immerse himself in new experiences. Many of his academic pursuits coincided with his personal interests, affording him the chance to partake in educational journeys to renowned locations such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Blenheim Palace. However, one of the most unforgettable moments for Martin occurred in Bath, England, on a rainy day. He spent much of his time in a cozy pub, engaging with locals and fellow travelers, relishing the moment, all while absorbing the rich cultural atmosphere.

“An incredible part of studying abroad is the pleasure you get from exploring new destinations,” Martin said. “Wherever we went, we savored every moment and fully immersed ourselves in the experience.”

An incredible part of studying abroad is the pleasure you get from exploring new destinations. Wherever we went, we savored every moment and fully immersed ourselves in the experience.

Martin Eschman ’24

Students posing for a picture in Bath, EnglandAdditionally, Martin thoroughly enjoyed his interactions with his professors and tutors. He observed that his professors exhibited tremendous enthusiasm for their subjects, while his tutors demonstrated exceptional proficiency in analyzing literature and historical details to construct strong and well-supported arguments.

“The support I received from the professors and tutors was amazing,” Martin said. “It was captivating to witness both my peers and myself evolve and improve throughout our time there, gaining proficiency in analyzing subjects and gathering information to construct arguments on various topics.”

Beyond their academic endeavors, Martin, along with his fraternity brothers and peers, ventured on personal explorations to diverse destinations including theaters, historical churches, museums, and restaurants. While the multitude of sights and experiences were captivating, Martin found deeper self-discovery and attributes his connection to the Hampden-Sydney atmosphere as something that truly resonates with him.

"Throughout my life, I've been accustomed to residing in small towns, and Hampden-Sydney, being set in a similar setting, has fostered in me a familiarity with its close-knit atmosphere and strong connections," Martin said. "However, during the eight weeks in a larger and busier environment, I came to appreciate the sense of camaraderie and familiarity even more. This realization emphasized the value I place on knowing everyone and fostering meaningful connections, especially as I approach graduation."

“Of course, I formed new friendships and gained insights from the individuals I encountered, and perhaps they gained something from me as well," Martin continued. "However, the overall experience is immensely rewarding because it offers invaluable opportunities for personal growth. You'll undoubtedly learn more about yourself, gain insights from others, and learn profound lessons from the adventure.”

Martin urges all students who are interested in studying abroad to embark on the journey by taking the initial step. He emphasizes that experiential learning extends far beyond academic boundaries, equipping students with invaluable skills applicable to various facets of life. Whether in career endeavors, further international travels, academic pursuits, or forging new connections, adopting a global perspective proves beneficial. Martin encourages students to seize the opportunity, affirming they will be confident to hit the ground running in their pursuit of becoming global citizens.

Those interested in exploring the option to study abroad should contact the Office of Global Education.

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