Student profile: Phoebe Ann

This student profile is part of a series on the students who attend PKP. Phoebe Ann, a student of the California Institute of Technology, came to PKP in 2014. 

‘Studying in England was always my one big dream. I fantasized about retracing the steps of my favorite authors: Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I imagined the delight of studying the legendary paintings of J.M.W. Turner and visiting places such as Tintern Abbey, that served as sources of his artistic inspiration. I wondered about the strong yet controversial Margaret Thatcher, and how her surroundings influenced who she became. But studying abroad in England was a luxury I couldn’t afford, not just monetarily – it was a dream I couldn’t justify to my pragmatic self, who would ultimately have to explain all her extracurricular activities to dozens of medical school admissions officers.


‘But this dream was so pervasive, vivid and unrelenting. I obsessively researched for study abroad programmes and the Pembroke King’s Programme fit this dream perfectly. Better yet, the PKP Scholarship grounded my hope in financial reality. After receiving this generous scholarship, I flew across the pond to take culturally insightful classes that married rich academic material to our beautiful surroundings, whether they were the majestic windings of the Wye River, the Fitzwilliam Museum down the street, or the dining room in King’s College – in which Virginia Woolf once scorned her food. (FYI it is now an accounting office!)

‘I met friends from all over the world – Egypt, Hong Kong, Salt Lake City – who enhanced my cultural perspective, opening my mind to other worlds of thought and ways of life. With these invaluable friends, I combed through England and Ireland to better understand my favorite British authors. I examined Jane Austen’s penmanship at the Jane Austen House, read Oscar Wilde’s scandalous letters in the Dublin Writers Museum, and meandered through the English moors so adored by Emily Brontë. I relished not just English and Irish culture, but also the particularly strong bond that forms between friends who share once-in-a-lifetime experiences.


River Wye © John Lucas, licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

‘The PKP Scholarship allowed me to fulfill my one big dream, and so much more: my time in Great Britain will also help me become a better doctor. After almost being mugged in Dublin, I am better able to think on my feet. After enjoying the stories of strangers sharing train rides, I am more inclined to listen actively and sympathetically. After catching discount bus rides at 2am in a foreign country, I am less easily fazed by uncomfortable situations. Indeed, medical school interviewers were more interested in my time in Great Britain than my scientific research or biology classes! I was able to enjoy such amazing life experiences because of the Pembroke King’s Programme and the PKP Scholarship, for which I am profoundly grateful.’


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