Students often apply for funding to attend and present papers at academic conferences, to do research outside of Oxford, and to take part in training opportunities that will enhance their understanding of their fields. Destinations have been as close as London and as far as Jinan, China!
The Travel Grants Committee meets termly to consider applications. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop by the Academic Office in Staircase 5. Further information is also available on Weblearn.
Please see below examples of recent trips that the Travel Grant Fund supported.
Anna Klaptocz (BA History): Salamanca, Spain, April 2016
My six day long study trip to Spain was mainly focussed on language learning, with the view of using my improved Spanish to help with the study of sources on the Spanish conquest of the Americas and with a long term view of writing a dissertation on Spain and Latin American History. I completed 5 hours of Spanish lessons a day at Tia Tula, a reputable language school in the centre of Salamanca. I found the classes challenging and intense; as I was in the C1 level class, we covered complex topics such as indirect narrative, humour and irony, whilst grammar tuition included widening our range of conditional phrases. Outside of the classroom, I tried to immerse myself completely in Spanish. This included staying with a host family, with whom I would talk at mealtimes, talking in Spanish to local students and classmates, and also using public transport throughout the trip and talking in Spanish to fellow travellers. Although my Spanish study was not directly related to History, aside from the obvious improvement of spoken Spanish, I felt that after the week my comprehension of written and spoken Spanish had defiantly improved; essential to reading or listening to sources in Spanish this term and in the future.
When I wasn’t studying, I took the opportunity to explore Salamanca’s historical centre. This included trips to the old and new cathedrals and to see some of the University of Salamanca’s buildings, some of which date back to the 14th century. Getting a sense for the city and a greater understanding of Spain’s history before the 20th century (I had only studied the Spanish Civil War before visiting Salamanca) was really useful to add to the context for my study this term of Spain’s conquest of parts of the Americas. Talking to my host family about the Spanish Civil War and the historical rifts between the different geographical regions of Spain helped improve my understanding of Spanish culture and History and got me thinking about possible dissertation ideas.
To conclude, despite my short time period in Spain, I felt that I really made the most of the opportunity, both thoroughly enjoying it and feeling like I had improved my language. The trip has confirmed my interest in the History of Spain and Latin America and I would be keen to return to improve my language further.
Maxwell Hudson (MSt British and European History): Venice, Italy, May 2016
Constant driving rain, wonderfully Italian attitudes to archival bureaucracy, and even an unannounced strike by airport baggage handlers thankfully took nothing away from what was a lovely and thoroughly productive research visit to Venice. Being my first encounter with archives of this sort there was inevitably a rather steep learning curve, not simply in the need to be fully clued up on Italian archival terminology but I also now have a newfound appreciation for competent computing systems (I’m never going to complain about Weblearn again). Despite this, I managed to navigate the archives and find everything that I needed. The documents in the main consisted of dispatches from resident and extraordinary Venetian ambassadors to Istanbul in the sixteenth century. These were absolutely invaluable to my thesis as they told a completely different story to the digitised sources I have been using up until this point. Now, rather than arguing for a somewhat skewed sense of lack of cross-cultural diplomatic understanding between the Venetians and the Turks, I have found sufficient evidence in the archives to show that the ambassadors purposefully changed the tone of their writings depending on the recipient and whether or not the report was an official one. Rather than being full of exoticising language (as is the case in their travel writings) the dispatches in the archives showed the same ambassadors to have a good understanding of the Ottoman court.
Aside from my work I managed to get in some sightseeing on the day when the archive was shut and thanks to a general lack of tourists (being out of season) Venice had a secretive and more homely quality to it; almost as if all visitors had become honorary residents for the duration of their stays. This meant that restaurant proprietors and bar owners alike were more than happy to converse at length on the terrible weather whilst doling out complimentary grappa and recommending the hidden sites of their district. This is all but impossible in high season when there is very little time to stop and chat.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Oriel governing body for the chance to conduct primary research is such an incredible place.