Meet the Students

Meet Felix

Meet Leonie


longer stories



Meet Ana

Meet Robert


 Meet Anna




Before joining HMC I worked as the Coordinator for the Faculty at my old College in Bristol. When I first joined HMC, I had one thought - it's so friendly!

HMC has far exceeded whatever I had hoped my College would be like. It's a cliché but I really do feel part of the HMC family, thanks in part to our amazing tutors who clip at heels when essays aren't quite as good as they could be and will, in the same breath, offer a coffee and a chat to make sure the term is going well. Equally, I feel like the size of HMC gives us ample opportunity to get to know most of the students.

My favourite part of HMC life is the meals! We have a beautiful dining hall, an amazing kitchen team and delicious food. What makes it even more special for me though are the conversations, debates and general chit-chats that happen over meals. You can learn a lot about a person from their opinion on Nutella and peanut butter sandwiches!


MSc Education, BA Philosophy and Theology, PGCE



Meet Ben


I came to HMC just after finishing an LLB in Law with Hispanic Law at UCL— I spent three years in London, and a year honing my Spanish in Madrid. At Oxford, I’m studying for the BCL, the postgraduate law degree for people from a common law background. I’ve only been at HMC for a year, and one term of that was spent entirely online! But if there is one thing that I enjoy the most, it is the people of the college—it’s brilliant that JCR and MCR members are so integrated, and that fellows and students can talk with each-other on a level playing field. There’s no hierarchy here!

I’ve been grateful this year to be the MCR’s ‘Barista-in-Chief’. In normal years this involves keeping the MCR kitchen well-stocked with drinks and snacks. But this year, getting into the MCR kitchen has been impossible for most people! So I’ve been taking the postgrads out on ‘coffee walks’, where we wander to a coffee shop on a Sunday morning, grab a coffee, and meander back to college through town. It’s been a great way to meet others, share stories and enjoy a coffee (and recently a rare iced one!). After I finish the BCL this summer, I’m going back to London, to do the Bar Course so I can eventually qualify as a barrister. I’ve been really lucky to receive a couple of scholarships from Gray’s Inn to do that.


Bachelor of Civil Law



Meet Catherine




I applied to Harris Manchester after studying History and English Literature part-time at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education (OUDCE). As a UK state school student with Autism I have found Harris Manchester a very friendly and inclusive place to study and I would encourage people from all backgrounds to apply here. I have always been interested in the arts and humanities, and after working with museums and heritage sites in Kent I felt that I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of History.

The History BA at Oxford is amazing and covers a broad spectrum of topics. Harris Manchester is a small college which means it has a great sense of community. I enjoy living in college and studying with other mature students, the tutors here are amazing because they are engaged with their own primary research, so they are always interesting to talk to, and we are taught in pairs or small groups, so we really benefit from their expertise. Harris Manchester is one of the most diverse and international Oxbridge colleges, so this year I have greatly enjoyed meeting people from around the world and learning about different countries and cultures. When I’m not studying I enjoy attending and reading at chapel services with our chaplain Dr Claire Macdonald, music director Dr James Whitbourne, and the Harris Manchester choir; these are amazing Unitarian and multi-faith events which are very welcoming.

There are lots of opportunities at Harris Manchester to get involved with extra-curricular activities, and I have been busy working on The Vanity Papers, a cutting-edge literary magazine based in Oxford, and collaborating with Jesus College on outreach work. The university has given me a huge amount of support with career development, including mentoring sessions with BBC historian Dr Annie Gray who is helping me develop ideas for publication, and I hope to progress with this after I graduate. 


BA History



Meet Charlotte




After getting on to the Oxford University PGCE course to become a Secondary School Teacher of English, I researched colleges for mature students and came across Harris Manchester, the perfect college for me! It is small enough for you to get to know many of the residents and wonderfully friendly College staff, who go above and beyond to make sure you are comfortable, happy and well looked after.

I joined the choir and perform weekly in HMC's magnificent Chapel with original William Morris stained glass windows. The food is absolutely exceptional, with Friday curry nights being my favourite. You have to see the library for yourself to appreciate how spectacular it is. Our Principal is so lovely! A magnet for attracting new talent, celebrating the best HMC has to offer and making excellent speeches at formal occasions.

I have been so happy at HMC, which boasts an impressive list of alumni, and full of brilliant scientists, lawyers, archaeologists, creative writers, and historians.





Meet Chi




Before HMC, I was working as a junior associate in the finance team of an international law firm in Beijing.

My experience so far has been one of friendship, support, encouragement, and inspiration. I am constantly encouraged to think beyond the surface of various issues and to keep an open mind about different ideas coming from all the people around me. HMC encourages this especially well by bringing people from various cultural backgrounds together.

I love that we all sit together in the Arlosh Hall for breakfast, lunch and dinner! You never know who you will sit next to and what you might end up chatting about at breakfast! Those chats open my days better than coffee.


BA Jurisprudence



Meet Christopher




Before HMC I was completing a 45 year career in the City, the last 30 as an equity analyst following banks and providing investment advice to the world's biggest asset managers.

Arriving at the University of Oxford as an undergraduate at 63 was truly a case of living the dream. The beauty of Oxford is the fact that you visit tutors at many Colleges. However, having HMC as a base provided a great platform for my studies at Oxford and enabled me to meet many amazing fellow students with so many great 'back stories'.

I love the beautiful Chapel, the wonderful formals in the Arlosh Hall and being an 'old swot' in our wonderful library. However, any institution is about its people and the HMC academic and non-academic staff are incredibly welcoming and the student body is diverse, friendly, and a lot of fun.


BA History



Meet Christy




My first degree is in business, and I was an investment banking analyst in Hong Kong before joining HMC to study English Literature. It's a blessing to be a student again, and there is no better place for it than Oxford - where else can you stroll in the same Botanic Gardens that Tolkien liked to frequent?

My favourite thing(s) about Harris Manchester are the meal times. Seating follows the order of the queue that forms organically outside Arlosh Hall, so you never know who you might be sitting next to - it is, in the best way, a conversation roulette. I'm partial to breakfasts, partaking in (lots of!) coffee, toast and fruit-topped cereal with the same few who dutifully show up at 7.45am sharp Monday to Friday.

HMC is a welcoming, cozy and diverse place, with students from all phases of life coming together to pursue education and learning for its own sake. The clock tower doesn't lie: "It's later than you think... But it's never too late."


BA English Language and Literature



Meet Darren




Since starting at HMC I think I have been most struck by the friendliness of my fellow students and all college staff. No question, conversation or problem has ever been too big or too small for anyone and they have always made time for me, despite the perpetually busy schedules that come with being at Oxford. I came to Oxford to study law after completing a degree in law, corporate finance & investment at Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa. Moving over to a new university, country and continent during the pandemic was a daunting prospect but every single person at HMC has made the transition as easy as possible, something which I don’t think should be understated. The college takes academics and work seriously but never fails to encourage and facilitate activities which improve our social connections with each other as well as our holistic education.

Three standouts for me in my first year have been play society every second Friday night where we have been able to tune our acting skills while having a laugh together and learning something new outside of the library. Another sphere of college life I have been fortunate enough to be involved in has been as the LGBTQ+ officer. The community has been beyond welcoming and has really been a valuable and inclusive space for all those who wish to get involved. My favourite “responsibility” so far has been the onerous task of hosting Tuesday drinks for the community and, occasionally, allies. 

Last but not least would have to be the wonderful choir practices and weekly chapel services. The choir is open to all and is an incredibly friendly and inclusive space but still one where our director is constantly pushing us to improve and grow musically. I already feel like I have made friends for life here at HMC while constantly learning and growing as a student and citizen of the world. I can’t wait to see what the next two years hold for me and what the future holds for the college.


BA Jurisprudence



Meet Eva




Before I returned to the world of academia, I led an urban think tank on citizen engagement and political education in Vienna, Austria. While working with the United Nations and the European Union as an urban anthropologist, it had become my mission to better use and include the knowledge of inhabitants to make cities more sustainable.

Being a mature student who gave birth to her daughter two months before joining HMC in October 2019, I am extremely grateful for the support I received along the way. Thanks to HMC I can pursue my career whilst simultaneously completing my MSc in Sustainable Urban Development. Also, as the college only accepts mature students, I think that HMC provides excellent peer support and stands for a variety of cultural backgrounds.

HMC is open to ambitious students irrespective of their age or background. As a firm believer in lifelong learning, I appreciate the opportunity to combine college life in Oxford and my professional life in Vienna. It has always provided me with a 'home away from home' feeling in the fast-paced life of Oxford. I really miss walking around in the Main Quad and studying in the library but most of all, of course, I miss the JCR Bar!


MSc Sustainable Urban Development



Meet Georgie




I joined Harris Manchester in October 2019 to read an MSc in History of Science, Medicine and Technology, having studied my undergraduate History degree at Oxford Brookes University. I am also a member of the Oxford University Women's Boat Club and was part of this year's Blue Boat.

My experience of HMC has been fantastic. As a small college, there is a welcoming and close knit community boasting excellent academics and a fun social scene. Everyone is so friendly! You're also close enough to the city that you're in the middle of the action, but far enough away from the chaos of the city centre!


MPhil History of Science, Medicine and Technology



Meet Gus




I am in my first year reading Theology and Religion, having previously completed an MA in International Relations.

Regardless of having only been physically in college for two terms, the affability of Harris Manchester made me feel welcome from the very beginning.

My favourite bit of HMC is the Tate Library. The library is a terrific place to get used to the idiosyncrasies of Oxford: it is an exquisite, "traditional" academic environment, but with the benefits of the college's relaxed atmosphere.


BA Theology and Religion



Meet Harry




Hi, my name is Harry. I’m a 35-year old third-year undergraduate from Hackney, London, reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Where I’m from, studying at Oxford is not considered a realistic proposition, and I left school at 16. However, I always felt like I wanted to learn more about the world, so I applied and took my A-Levels while continuing to work.

Receiving my offer to study here was one of the greatest moments of my life, although coming to Oxford has been an incredible and challenging experience.


BA Politics, Philosophy and Economics



Meet Jamie




Before joining HMC in 2017, I was serving my national service in the Singapore Army.

It did not take long for me to feel the effects of HMC's really strong sense of community - it's probably Oxford's friendliest college and this is what I found made it so special for me.

Having just completed my finals, this sense of community is already the thing I am looking back on most fondly when reflecting on my experience of the college. The thing I liked most about HMC was the people. Students and staff all come from such diverse and interesting backgrounds and really make you feel welcome and at home


BA History and Economics


Meet Jasmine

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Before coming to HMC, I was working in the Film and Television industry. My last job was as a script administrator on the soap opera Emmerdale but I wasn't very happy there and had lost faith in finding the right role for me in that industry. In the mood for trying new things, I got a book on Ancient Greek and fell in love with the language. Luckily, my parents were supportive and agreed to fund me to change path and apply to do another degree!

HMC has been such a brilliant and supportive environment! The random mix of students of all ages and backgrounds who come to study in this college are the most interesting and welcoming bunch. The bops, formal dinners, just running into people in the common room - I miss everyone so much!

After the people, my favourite thing about Harris Manchester is the library. Sue and Niall are the best librarians anyone could hope for. As many people will recall, I commandeered one of the alcoves for myself this year.


BA Classics and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies



Meet Jess




I didn't feel like I wanted to go to uni straight out of school, so I decided to take a gap year earning money at home then went travelling in Central America and Colombia. Although, I loved it so much that my one gap year accidentally ended up turning into three before I returned to the UK and applied to HMC.

From chats in the kitchen until the early hours of the morning to post-lunch walks in Christ Church meadow, there is never a shortage of vibrancy in college. Sometimes life can be fast-paced when trying to juggle essays with BOPs and karaoke nights, but having a great group of people around you makes everything so much easier.

What I like most about HMC is that you're constantly surrounded by hard-working, kind-hearted people with a story to tell, so it's hard not to feel inspired. We feel like a such a tight-knit community, but, equally, everyone is always so welcoming.


BA Human Sciences



Meet Jordan

jordan photo2



After finishing my A-Levels in Singapore, I completed two years of military service and spent a few months as a private tutor and orchestra musician before coming to HMC to study Egyptology and Assyriology. My course is tiny—there are just two undergraduates across the entire university in my year—which translates to unrivalled flexibility in course options, and real care and concern from tutors. I found little division between undergraduates, graduates, and staff, not least because of frequent Egyptology tea parties! This is quite unusual, and created a close-knit community right from the start.

HMC has been a great place to live and work. College have supported my participation in study trips and projects outside of Oxford, and the library is a wonderful resource—I haven’t had to spend any money at all on books! Despite our small size, there are lots to see and do—I’ve attended masterclasses by internationally renowned musicians, browsed our very own art show, and handled beautiful Egyptian artifacts, all within college walls. Prospectuses often claim that everyone in Oxford is perfectly normal, but I must disagree! Most people have a quirk or two, but that’s what makes studying here so interesting. There are so many stories to listen to, especially in HMC, where everyone has spent time away from formal education. Coming to Oxford can be daunting, but the diversity and openness of HMC reassuringly shows there really isn’t an ‘Oxford type’ one has to fit into to find meaning and enjoyment here.


BA Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


Meet Josh





After getting a bachelor of laws degree from King’s College London, I decided that I still wanted to be a student, so I applied to Oxford’s MLF programme, a master’s degree that focuses on the relationship between law, finance and economics. HMC is the college that took me in. It is a tremendous place where you meet people with very unique career paths and life experiences. You’ll also meet some of the kindest and smartest people ever. The staff members here are always friendly and helpful! You’ll fit-in in no time. And I have amazing flat mates

As the MCR Treasurer, I have tried to make this year as fun and eventful as possible for our students. Working with other committee members, we’ve organised punting events, brought Alpacas to college, subsidised coffee walks, hosted movie nights outdoor and hopefully more events in the coming days.

After HMC, I’ll be completing the PCLL, a professional legal training programme in Hong Kong to qualify as a solicitor. I’ve always been interested in the financial markets and the commercial side of the law, and so I’m very happy to have been offered a job at a commercial law firm.


MSc Law and Finance



Meet Lucien




After school, I knew I wanted to see a bit more of the world and what started as a gap year ended up being three gap years. During this time, I lived in Nepal and China, started university, dropped out of university and explored possibilities. Coming to HMC where no one’s path is linear is both humbling and inspiring. In this sense, HMC is not only a great place to come as a ‘’mature’’ student but, most importantly, it is a fertile environment to keep maturing. Not only do I love going to class but I also love coming back from it because I know I will find the quiet of my room and its quaint view, the warmth of the staff, the calm of the library, and the pleasure of having my friends around.

I have spent the last six months in Taiwan on my year abroad where I have been learning new things such as tea art and perfecting my Chinese. I am happy with my life here but also am looking forward to coming back in the autumn and reunite with HMC and its people where it feels like I belong.


BA Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


Meet Mandy

mandy photo 2



After finishing my undergraduate degree in Toronto, I spent a while working in local politics before deciding to find a way to make a stimulating career out of what I love most: working with the English language. The 9-month MSt at Oxford was a perfect fit.  Now I’m on course for the masters and I love it. It’s quite challenging, but in all the right ways—pushing me to do my best work and thoroughly learn about my chosen field.  Oxford is an incredible and unique place, but also an overwhelming one. In the midst of that, I’m so grateful to be at HMC—its small, welcoming, and beautiful environment have been key to my success at Oxford. 

A big part of that is the exceptional college library (with a pair of even more exceptional librarians who go out of their ways to make student lives easier), as well as the dynamic, open, and caring community of students who form a pivotal support network for one another.  I feel at home here, and it’s going to be hard to leave.  I’ve accepted a funded place in the University of Toronto’s English PhD program, where I plan to continue my research and build a life of reading, writing, thinking, and teaching what I love.


MSt English Language



Meet Marcus




Before HMC, I served mandatory national service in Singapore for 2 years!

I was a 'wheeled automotive technician' and got fancy certificates for basically servicing and maintaining 5-ton trucks, the occasional land rover, and lots of trailers.

I love HMC! It may be small but that means everyone knows each other, and it's just such a friendly and cosy environment for playing and studying, be it 5-a-sides or reading history and politics.

The library is my favou- just joking! The people are really what make the place.


BA History and Politics



Meet Niclas




HMC is the hidden champion among Colleges of the University of Oxford. With only about 200 students, HMC is a vibrant, closely-knit community that enables one to build long-term friendships.

HMC has a close relationship between its JCR and MCR, leading to many exciting encounters involving students who have just begun their undergraduate studies or are finishing their DPhil. The formal dinners and numerous events foster a strong and caring college community.


MSc Economic and Social History


Meet Nicole




This summer, in common with most BA candidates studying English literature at Oxford university, I graduated with a 2:1. No number can sum up the amazing experience of being a full-time undergraduate in my late fifties, scaling
the generational divide like a college ball gatecrasher. An unusual situation intensified by a sense of déjà vu.

Having read philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford in the seventies, I graduated feeling I had not made the grade. This sense of being an imposter among geniuses is common at Oxford, I’ve discovered. After a career in journalism
and child-rearing, I was attempting to explain Sylvia Plath’s agonised poetry to my bored GCSE-candidate son when I realised — I should be studying literature……..


BA English Language and Literature




Meet Shaakirah




It’s often the small, simple things about college that make me grateful for the up and down nature of the journey that led me here. From providing dozens of baps to hungry midnight mouths in a kitchen the size of a bathtub, to ambling into brunch on a Saturday and wondering whose idea it was to put figs in my cheesy bread roll; life in college this year has been full of warmth, hilarity, and wonder.

At school, my A-level choices were mostly scientific, and because I possessed what I believed was an undying passion for biology, I went on to university to study Natural Sciences. Though I enjoyed my first year living away from home, the prescriptive nature of the degree less than enthused me, and I ended up dropping out after a year.  After that I entered the working world and eventually wound up as a visitor host at the beautiful south west London haven of Kew Gardens. It was my time spent here that cultivated in me the desire to return to the full time study of subjects that encompassed my more unyielding interests: the human mind and the art and science of living.

Oxford was the goal, and PPL seemed like the perfect course choice. I didn’t originally apply to HMC, but thankfully had a second interview here, after which I felt completely torn as I’d fallen in love with the place but fallen internally apart in the interview. When the acceptance letter arrived however, I was home alone and so overjoyed that the only natural route of action was to bang out 00s chart hits on the piano at top volume.

Two years on and I’ve switched my family’s out of tune piano for the college chapel’s majestic Steinway; and my two biological sisters for one absolutely irreplaceable college brother. HMC is just such a beautiful home away from home and I cannot wait to make more memories here in the years to come.


BA Philosophy and Psychology



Meet Shweta




I was fresh out of Design School after an extensive five years of Bachelors of Architecture (B.Arch) in Dubai; it was during these five years that my interest in Urban Planning and Policy Making grew. I was involved in multiple things, from undertaking a research project in collaboration with a Government Authority in the U.A.E for a UNESCO World Heritage Bid to interning as an Urban Planning Intern at a private firm in Dubai. I gave myself a gap year and decided that I would get back to academia and pursue a course that helps me explore the broader context of the built environment, cities, and its inhabitants.

I remember standing in queue for taking our Matriculation Photographs, and just wondering how amazing and accommodating is HMC that it welcomes mature students from all walks of life, at any age and helps create a network that is very rare. It is because of HM. that I can pursue my career as an Urban Planner at UN-HABITAT whilst simultaneously completing my MSc in Sustainable Urban Development at the University of Oxford. Also, the conversations I have shared with fellow HMC members during meals in the Dining Hall is something I will cherish for lifetime.

HMC is home away from home; it has given me a sense of belonging in Oxford. It has enabled me as a young adult to believe in lifelong learning.


MSc Sustainable Urban Development



Meet Yizhou




Before joining HMC in 2018, I did my first degree juggling data with philosophy and I'm now studying for a BA in Oriental Studies (Sanskrit)*. My experience of Harris Manchester is that everyone fits in because we all come together for knowledge from all walks of life.

The people are great - it's wrong to pick favourites but, nevertheless, Michelle at the bursary is mine! It is nice to have a little piece of sunshine welcoming you every day!

When I'm away from HMC, what I miss most is the noise from the first BOP of each term accompanying me when I am in the library upstairs. The noise is surprisingly not intruding and instead it comfortably voices out that we are together again.


BA Asian and Middle Eastern Studies *(Formerly the BA Oriental Studies)



Meet Zerene




After completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, I lived in Syria for two years. When the conflict started I relocated to Jordan and then to Lebanon where I spent the next four years working with humanitarian projects that focused predominantly on emergency aid and education for Syrians, Iraqis, Sudanese and Somali refugees in the region.  Here at Oxford I am doing a MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. The MSc programme balances out my practical experience with theoretical approaches and valuable skills such as the refugee law and quantative methods classes. Although it was initially difficult to make the switch back to the classroom, I’ve come to appreciate the environment at Oxford that allows me to explore concepts without the pressure of having to implement activities immediately or satisfy donors.

Life at Harris Manchester is without a doubt my favourite aspect of Oxford, I am awed at the friendships I have managed to cultivate in such a short time and the openness and support of the staff. There is a strong ethos of social justice in the College that aligns with my own upbringing, and our close-knit community means we engage meaningfully with one another especially on controversial, topical discussions, while still rustling up great parties in the JCR. Even though I am only half-way through my time here, it is already evident that this is an experience that will leave an indelible print on my life.


MSc Refugee and Forced Migration Studies


Meet Zheng




After completing my undergraduate honours degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, I made the decision to pursue my DPhil in Biomedical Engineering at Harris Manchester College, Oxford. My journey began during the challenging times of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, with strict social distancing measures in place. However, the warmth and support I received from the staff at Harris Manchester College quickly dispelled my inner anxieties. Claire and John, in particular, were always there to lend a helping hand whenever needed, providing a sense of reassurance and belonging.

One aspect that stood out about Harris Manchester College was the close-knit community of mature students. The smaller and more intimate size of the college fostered a friendly and supportive atmosphere, where everyone was willing to lend a hand at any time. The college's Junior Common Room (JCR) also organized regular Sunday coffee sessions, providing opportunities for students to get to know each other and build relationships. This sense of community and camaraderie created a welcoming environment that made me feel at home.

Throughout my three years at Harris Manchester College, I have cherished the sense of belonging to this unique community, the atmosphere of mutual tolerance and respect, and the beautiful and elegant learning environment. As I approach graduation, I am filled with bittersweet emotions, knowing that I will deeply miss the unforgettable memories and experiences I had at the college. Harris Manchester College has truly been a special place that has enriched my academic journey and left an indelible mark on my heart.


DPhil Engineering Science