Samuel León Sáez (MPhil 2017-19) on his time at Oxford and publishing his MPhil research

samuel leon

Going to the University of Oxford was a life changing experience. I remember fondly the amazing learning and social environment of the University, a place that I made my home for two years. My experience was quite unique, being a Latin American Studies MPhil student who was assigned to St Peter´s College, while the vast majority of my fellow Latinamericanists were part of St Antony´s College. This situation led me to getting to know two Oxford Colleges deeply, make amazing friendships in both and be able to enjoy two very different communities of students. Classes at the LAC were remarkable spaces of debate and learning, while the careful attention of the wonderful academics of the Latin American Centre was just remarkable (following our research projects with fantastic interest and generosity, sharing their knowledgeable advice every time). I have great memories of my days spent in the Radcliffe Camera, the Upper Reading Room of the Bodleian Library, the Social Sciences library, St Peter´s Library and St Antony´s Gulbenkian reading room (where I sneaked in often). The University´s libraries and working spaces are unique and truly something to be enjoyed. One of the things I relished the most (being a former professional a bit older than the rest of the other postgraduate students) was being able to organize my working days in those amazing libraries as I pleased. It was liberating and thrilling, especially during the moments when I worked on my thesis. But Oxford is so much more than that, the seminars, the museums, the pubs, the parks, the events at the colleges (the bops, the formals, the guest nights), make this an extraordinarily enjoyable, diverse and interesting place. I remember going through exams as one of the most exciting and exhilarating moments, getting to Examination Schools fully dressed, feeling the environment of stress and determination, keeping an eye on the clock to not miss each passing hour. It was quite a rite of passage that I´m so glad I went through. My experience in Oxford accompanied me after the end of my postgraduate studies.

book cover sls

Since my return to Mexico in late 2019, I worked on publishing my MPhil research thanks to the support of the LAC, keeping productive even going through the pandemic. After a lot of work, my research has been published as a book and it is truly one of my greatest achievements. The time that I spent at the University of Oxford has been one of the best experiences I have had and being able to go there changed my life for the better. It´s a place close to my heart that I treasure deeply.