This Column Is Ironic: I’m Studying Abroad Because of Emma Watson

Opinion by Shane Savitsky
April 28, 2011, 12:28 a.m.

This Column Is Ironic: I’m Studying Abroad Because of Emma WatsonWhen people ask me why I wanted to study abroad in Oxford, I can give them a variety of reasons — namely, the incredible academics, the perfect setting and the multitude of extracurricular opportunities here. Or maybe because Oxford was founded in 1167, making it something like seven times older than good ol’ Stanny U. Or maybe it’s the fantastic architecture and incredible scenery. Obviously, I came here for all those things, but that’s not really why I came here. Stanford likes to tout the academics of its study abroad programs and whatnot (especially Oxford), but forget that. Those aspects aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things.

You know what is the most important thing? The British accent. You can laugh at me all you want, but you know it’s true. For us Americans, there is no more attractive attribute for a member of the opposite sex than an awesome accent. On the entirely subjective “1 to 10” scale of rating the attractiveness of a potential date, a great British accent easily adds an automatic 1.5 points — no matter what. It’s just how these things work. I mean, I’ve only been here a week and I already love the town and the culture here at Oxford, but I already go to an incredible university back in California. If I only wanted academics and awesome opportunities, I could have just stayed in my room in FloMo for this quarter. If you give Stanford 700 more years of history, I’m sure it could morph into something reasonably similar to Oxford, too. Yet the fact is, even in those 700 years, most Stanford girls will always lack a British accent — and that’s just unfortunate. It’s why I had to come here.

It’s not even just the girls. I’m a huge Coldplay fan, obsessively so, actually. (I know, I know, I pretend to be all indie in some of my other columns and then I admit to really liking Coldplay? What a cop-out.) I’ve seen them live seven times. Yeah, seven times. And I kind of have this massive man-crush on Chris Martin, Coldplay’s lead singer. It could be because of his immense musical talent. Or it could be because he’s absolutely perfected this “charmingly awkward” thing that I’ve been trying to nail down for years now. But more than likely, it’s because of his awesome British accent.

Then, of course, you also have to realize that our generation’s love for Harry Potter decidedly skewed its perceptions of England. Seriously, you can’t walk two blocks in Oxford without hearing about how some college or another was used for filming in the Harry Potter movies. Unfortunately, I can’t find any shops in Oxford that sell Chocolate Frogs or Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, but somehow I think I’ll survive that sad fact.

Quite honestly, my greatest takeaway from the Harry Potter films was that they firmly set me — and most guys around my age — in love with Emma Watson. For me, that probably happened somewhere around the age of 12 or 13. You know what, I think even most girls our age are probably in love with Emma Watson. Like really, have you seen this girl? Wasn’t Hermione supposed to be kind of ugly? (Honestly, I take it as a personal offense that she went to Brown over Stanford. She’s apparently transferring somewhere else now. Let’s hope she makes the right decision the second time around.) Anyway, I don’t want to pretend that my love for England came solely from Emma Watson, but she definitely helped to sway my decision.

Of course, Emma Watson also has one of the most beautiful British accents that has ever reached my ears, so that can’t be a coincidence, right? These days, when I walk in Oxford amongst beautiful medieval buildings, I have to stop myself from asking nearly every English girl I pass on a date. I can’t really help it — they have Emma Watson to thank for that one.


Do you know where to get Chocolate Frogs in Oxford? Email Shane directions and your other Oxford tips at [email protected].

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