Julia Rafal

Julia Rafal, 2006 Scholar, Homerton College, Cambridge

Juliarafal-4afd70ac29346My three years on the Marshall Scholarship were spent at the University of Cambridge where I completed a PhD in education policy. The friendships I made with my fellow Marshall Scholars are some of the strongest of my life and a few of them are even in my wedding party this year! However, in many respects I was fortunate to attend a college with virtually no other American students as I now have an incredibly diverse group of friends. This also afforded me significant opportunities to interact with impressively smart people with a multitude of perspectives. My second year at Cambridge, I lived in a house with three of my British friends. One of my housemates was chosen to stand as a local MP for the Labour Party, which made my year one of the most exciting and memorable possible. I had the opportunity to watch and assist a local British candidate go from a virtual unknown in his constituency to one with daily press and a significant following. One of the greatest parts of my Cambridge experience was the sheer number of theatrical productions I was involved in. I loved that I constantly felt challenged in my academic work, but never felt forced to drop my outside interests; thus, I never lost my fluency in other areas I felt passionate about, such as acting or marathon running.