Get Started

April 25, 2024

Bespoke Opportunity at Oxford

Nancy Schneberger, Oxford Study Abroad director at the Academy of the Holy Angels, is pleased that the bespoke course she established with Oxbridge Academic Programs continues to be a magnet academic opportunity.


“I think the opportunity to study at Oxford in a tailor-made program for Holy Angels that includes classes in critical thinking and public speaking is one of the contributing reasons students decide to attend our school,” Schneberger stated. “This program has developed a sterling reputation, and students share their experiences with others, making it very attractive to academically minded students. In our spare time, we visit cultural attractions and have a lot of fun, too!

Angels enjoyed a rehearsal at the Globe Theater.

“Oxford is arguably the best university in the world, and our students get the chance to experience university life there for a short time. They live in the dorms and attend college-level classes, which gives them an introduction to college life in the very best of circumstances.”



This year’s journey included various side trips, including a literary excursion to London to visit the Globe Theater and Westminster Abbey, where Angels spent time in Poet’s Corner.


Participants included Alessandra Boncaldo of Stony Point, New York; Cara Boyce ad Sienna Pacione of Old Tappan; Michele Carabuena of Ho-Ho-Kus; Annika Castillo, Amalia Ferolie, Elise Kim, and Norah Park of Cresskill; Elizabeth Choe of Nutley; Lily Cossio and Madeline Poblete of Tenafly; Sienna Morreale of Edgewater; Shannon Oliver of Upper Saddle River; Chloe Rodriguez of Leonia; Gabrielle Ross of Teaneck; Rachel Stanbury of Hillsdale; Isabella Wisniewski of Paramus; and Jiyoon “Christine” Yeo of Closter.


Chaperones included Schneberger, her husband William Schneberger, and AHA Social Studies Department Chair Gail Fair.

Norah Park makes her presentation at Pembroke College.


Alessandra Boncaldo, who particularly enjoys the sciences, found a new interest at Oxford.


“The classes on critical thinking and public speaking were both fascinating, and they led me to become interested in philosophy,” Boncaldo shared. “It was a wonderful experience, and I highly recommend it.”


Boncaldo also noted, “The Oxford Study Abroad Program was one of the most life-changing trips I have ever been on. Exploring Oxford was amazing, especially because of the beautiful architecture.”


Gabrielle Ross added, “My time at Oxford felt like an unreal experience because this was my first time on another continent and traveling without my family. When I walked into the entrance of the university, I was amazed by how beautiful the architecture was. I had a wonderful time visiting Christ Church, Radcliffe Camera, Sheldonian Theatre, and other historical sights. I learned a lot during my critical thinking and public speaking classes, and I had fun exploring the streets of Oxford during lunch with my friends. Overall, I felt ecstatic that I was able to have this opportunity to go and learn. I had a wonderful time.” 

A visit to Westminster Abbey.


Schneberger wrote the curriculum for this bespoke critical thinking course when she was serving as chair of the AHA English Department. The unique program, which is offered at Pembroke College, has been available since 2018, with a brief interruption at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Instructors Matthew Bradley and Joseph Ward, both of whom are completing their doctoral studies at Oxford, led the Angels in Socratic Seminars. These sessions focused on how epistemic injustice relates to social power. Angels log 17.5 class hours in critical thinking, and eight hours in public speaking.


Schneberger’s rigorous curriculum incorporates growth mindset concepts and intersects with the Academy’s philosophy of transforming individuals through education. Students focus on deep, philosophical thoughts in one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and explore another culture while learning more about themselves and the world.


As they delve into their cross-curricular studies, Angels become more careful consumers of information, think critically and analytically, and become empowered to speak confidently about their ideas with support from texts and established philosophical systems. Participants return home with a greater willingness to embrace challenges, and engage in discussions with increased confidence.


Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County.