Rahul Garg is a Swarthmore College student who was currently on a year long program at Oxford University. Here are his answers to the questions I had posted.
If I had to choose 1 for an undergraduate experience, then definitely Swarthmore. Here are my reasons:
1) The US College campus life experience is inimitable. I grew up, formed close friendships and had (and am having) a lot of fun.
2) Educationally, good US colleges are great at the undergraduate level- the pedagogic structure, with great lecturers, flexible courses, continual assessment, project work, seminars, and personal interaction with professors (Swarthmore particularly) is extremely fruitful at the introductory and intermediate level.
However, Oxford provided one with the opposite experience of the tutorial system, which was great for studying political science and like subjects. Also, Oxford puts you in touch with several important people or organizations in the real-world (e.g. in think tanks, etc.) and has great lectures year- round. In addition, the social life is more relaxing. While in the US one has the standard week-weekend system of ‘work hard from Sun-Thurs and party hard Fri and Saturday’, at Oxford you’d work in the morning and during the day, and go out for something every other evening (e.g. the biggest ‘night’ at Oxford was Wednesdays).