Estella Kessler

Hometown & Region: Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany

Degree: Classics

A levels: Latin, Ancient Greek, Maths, German, History (German Abitur)

Year of study: First Year

When I’m not working I’m…

…Involved in these:

  • Committee Member of the History Society
  • Badminton on Saturdays & daily Yoga
  • Film Nights
  • Reading Books especially Victorian Literature
  • Playing the Violin
  • Learning Spanish & Classical Syriac

What made you choose to study at Brasenose and/or Oxford?

I chose to apply to Oxford because I fell in love with the city and always imagined how fabulous and inspiring it must be to study here in these beautiful walls. Additionally, Oxford has one of the best departments for Classics in the world. Also, I wanted to make my studies somehow special, get out of my own country & experience the challenge of studying in a foreign language. So when I got the required grades, I thought I might as well try to apply. I applied to Brasenose without ever having been there: I looked for a college that offered long tradition, a good location (and it doesn’t get any more central than Brasenose!) & accommodation for the whole duration of my course. So I was delighted when I arrived here for interviews and everyone was extremely welcoming.

Is life in Oxford different to what you expected it to be?

People (tutors included!) are definitely more relaxed and open than I would have expected. And although Oxford is of course very academic, it is also the individual student with his unique personality that is valued the most. You can also get much more individual attention from your tutors and teachers than would be possible at most universities in my country, so I was very much positively surprised at that. There are many jovial friendships to be found between students and tutors or graduates –especially within the college- which gives student life a very nice and inspiring touch.

What do you like most about studying in Brasenose?

Definitely looking on the Radcliffe Camera with the sun shining on it on early Saturday morning when most people are still recovering from the past night and the amazing Brunch at 11am. In my view, Brasenose has the perfect size with its familiar atmosphere but occasionally you can still run into new people. The college also sets great store on the arts and gives everyone the opportunity to get involved and creative e.g. in the Choir or the theatre productions for the Brasenose Arts Week. The college family is among the strongest and closest in Oxford so that you can always count on support –both emotionally and academically.

A quality you think is important for someone looking to study at Oxford?

I think absolutely crucial is natural enthusiasm for the subject you are applying for: This will also carry you better through your interviews than any detail knowledge. At the end of the day, among the many applicants tutors are usually looking for potential combined with dedication. The ideal Oxford student also enjoys thinking about his subject aside from work assignments, but apart from that you meet so many different personalities – from the passionate to the very introvert. In the end, it is just a wonderful bunch of wildly different students with individual aims and interests.

What are the perks of your degree?

It strikes me all the time how lucky I am to study such a versatile and broad course: Constantly you hit on questions that are still relevant today and make you think about human nature, the arts & philosophy. Until now I haven’t experienced one boring day with the Classics because you can draw so much inspiration from it – especially from the literature. It is fascinating to read about all sorts of imaginable stuff from the beginnings of Greek philosophy, the successors to Alexander the Great or Roman coins to learning about the roots of both Greek and Latin in Proto-European and how they relate to Sanskrit. Although it is a very demanding and intensive degree, no one could ever regret to have studied it.