The enriching and personal experiences of life at Oxford University were recounted by two friends as they read excerpts from their autobiographical book.
Dr Hammad Khan and Dr Shiva Amiri discussed the opportunities and challenges of being international graduate students during the launch of Oxformed: a journey through Oxford at Rhodes House.
They told friends, family and other Oxonians at the event on 9 November how their enduring friendship was forged when they were studying for their doctorates at Wolfson College from 2003 to 2006.
Dr Khan (DPhil, Engineering Science), a Rhodes Scholar from Pakistan, explained how the book was born from a shared desire to document their much-loved student days. He emphasised the importance of debate at Oxford by reading from the book about his experiences of matriculation – the formal ceremony at which students are admitted to Oxford University. Dr Khan recalled how Sir Colin Lucas, then Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, addressed the students and encouraged them to learn by meeting and debating with others holding opposing views.
Iranian-born Dr Amiri (DPhil, Computational Biochemistry) also read an excerpt regarding her early days in Oxford after leaving her home in Toronto, Canada. She stressed the significance of a talk by a representative from Oxford University’s Counselling Service. She said: 'After this presentation it became apparent everyone was feeling the same insecurities. It was a huge relief. ..Most people said they were sure that they were the only person there who had been admitted by mistake.'
Oxformed charts the psychological, social, political, and emotional events that influenced and formed both alumni authors. From tutorials to college bops, from college sport to work in the lab, and from cycling through Oxford’s medieval streets to overcoming loneliness, the book records the many aspects of student life from two different, but intertwined, perspectives.