Owen - Harvard Summer School

B Arts
July 2019

My experience

In 2018, I graduated from my Bachelor of Arts program at UQ, with majors in English Literature and Philosophy. While my philosophy background at UQ allowed me to develop a comprehensive understanding of epistemology, phenomenology and metaphysics, I knew that my Honours thesis would benefit greatly from a more rigorous philosophical framework. With support and encouragement from my supervisor, I looked towards the Harvard Divinity School at Harvard University. As part of their annual Summer School program, I enrolled in a 3-week session entitled, ‘Facing Evil and Suffering in the Modern World’.

How has the experience changed you?

My Summer School experience helped me to achieve a better and more nuanced understanding of Western philosophy. During the course, we analysed a variety of Western texts and discussed their religious, philosophical, theological and ethical dimensions. While the course load was intensive (3-hour seminars, 4-days a week for 3 weeks with a heavy reading list), the content was very engaging and thought-provoking. My cohort featured students from across the world—the U.S.A., Germany, China, Greece and Canada—and provided a wide survey of ages, opinions and worldviews regarding contemporary ideas about evil and suffering.

Favourite memory

Outside of study, there was also plenty of time to explore the Boston area. Cambridge has a vibrant and busy night life, and it was easy to meetup for dinner or drinks and talk about our shared experiences long into the night. Some of my personal highlights include: taking a run along the Charles River each day before breakfast; going to the beach for 4th of July celebrations; and going downtown to see historic sites in the Boston Common.

Top tips

If you're thinking about undertaking Short Term Global Experience, do it. You won't regret it. I’m very grateful for the opportunity provided by my Global Experience, in helping to broaden my academic skills, and I’m glad to have made long-lasting friendships and meaning connections in my field.