The Honors Community
- Suffolk, Va.
Religious studies with a concentration in pre-medicine
Kunal Kapoor speaks so glowingly of his time spent studying abroad that it’s amazing to think he almost didn’t go. A committed student in The Honors College, Kapoor was busy studying, volunteering and exploring different majors when two Virginia Commonwealth University upperclassmen, both members of The Honors College, returned with such enthusiasm for their own experiences abroad that he dedicated himself to the goal of studying in another country.
“I decided I had to push myself to do it,” said Kapoor, who was born in India but grew up in New York and Suffolk, Va.
Kapoor committed to spending the fall semester of his junior year at Magdalen College at the University of Oxford in England. Founded in 1458, the college provided a drastically different experience from VCU, offering one-on-one classes, called “tutorials,” conducted one hour a week with professors. Kapoor took two tutorials: British romantic literature and psychology of religion. He came away transformed.
“I really focused on seizing the moment,” he said. “There was literally no second of wasted time. If I wasn’t doing my course work, I was at the Oxford Union, listening to a debate. If I wasn’t there, I was out on the river, rowing for the crew team. And if I wasn’t there, I was typically at the library, or at a pub.”
Kapoor, a pre-med religious studies major who is accepted into The Honors College Guaranteed Admission Program, particularly enjoyed his literature class.
“Literature has always been a side passion of mine,” said Kapoor, who routinely reels off quotes by Emerson and Thoreau. “We’re strongly advised when studying abroad to try something different, to not take science classes if you’re pre-med. Studying British romantic literature at Oxford was like a dream.”
Back in Richmond, where he helps lead VCU’s Physicans for Human Rights student group and volunteers at the Richmond Center for High Blood Pressure, Kapoor continues to apply lessons gleaned from his time abroad.
“It reconfirmed what I think are the ideals of education: the pursuit of knowledge,” he said. “Grades come and go. The application of knowledge is far superior to the transient value of the grade.”
“Studying British romantic literature at Oxford was like a dream.”