As the perennial rays of the summer Boston sun have finally set, the Oxbridge team is happy to report that we have almost all 60 students arrived, moved in, and are prepared for a month filled with a potpourri of charisma, excitement, and studies! From the moment of the first arrival, the team has had all hands on deck with the check-in process. The students have already been on a tour of the Harvard Law campus by the activities directors Colleen McGovern and Kamilla Bernardes to immerse themselves in familiar surroundings. A lovely dinner has been prepared and served at the nearby Wasserstein Dining Hall, and the students are eagerly awaiting to be addressed at the arrival assembly this evening.
This assembly will be hosted by our director, Sarah Westerberg, who looks forward to convey the true meaning of the Oxbridge program and the opportunities it has to offer to the students. The deans, Beatriz Ramirez and Lucas Stratton, helped acquaint the students with their local environment and explain the rules about day-to-day life in Ames Hall. The program assistants, Amalia Quesada Nylen and Aniruddh Murthy, were also present to help aid and ensure that the process ran smoothly.
Last night, the students of the College Experience in Boston gave their final class presentations. The Neuropsychology test conducted a research experiment involving memory and came to some very interesting conclusions. The Computer Science class created a robot that can be controlled by a phone app. The American History class created a video production about their experience visiting the many interactive historical sites here in Boston. The Medical Science class explained what they had learned in class, and also presented a live skit of a CPR procedure. The Government and Politics class gave a presentation about their ideal government system. Finally, the Speech and Debate class presented some very heartfelt extemporaneous speeches about their time here at Oxbridge.
Following the presentations, a series of awards were presented to students. Each teacher awarded a prize to one member of their class. Next, two deans awards were presented to the students who they believe best embody the spirit of the program. After that, our two activities directors, Ting and Jess gave prizes to the two students who displayed presence and great enthusiasm during the daily excursions into town. Lastly, an award was presented to the student “house” that was awarded the most points throughout the program. House points were awarded for participation, winning house games, and acts of kindness. House points could also be taken away for tardiness to class, missing curfew, etc.
After the presentations, a formal dinner was served with a special dessert—a variety of cupcakes from a Boston favorite, Sweet Bakery.
At the end of the meal, the tables were removed and the hall was transformed into a Las Vegas style casino! Students could dance under the lights, or play games like Texas Hold ’em style Poker and Black Jack. Students could also write personal letters to their new friends and faculty and place them in a “mailbox” on the window. At the end of the night, students and faculty could take their personal envelops home and cherish the letters as a sweet token of their time here.
It is safe to say that our students had an amazing time, and we were so impressed with what they learned in the classrooms.
As I write this letter we are concluding the College Experience in Boston 2016. Your children have just finished their final class meetings and they are busy packing their bags and getting ready for our final night celebration. We will cap off our successful month with some class presentations, an awards ceremony, dinner, and an evening of fun and games.
This final week was a perfect culmination of the academic experience here in Boston. Major Classes finalized their projects and several classes went on one last field trip. The intellectual highlight for me was my visit with David Peña and his International Law class to the John Adams Courthouse and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. We were greeted by Justice Robert Cordy who generously spent an hour with the class and offered them an amazing tour. Justice Cordy even allowed the students to sit in the seats of the seven Justices!
A wonderful variety of activities continued during this fourth week. Students kayaked on the Charles River, went bowling, viewed Boston from the top of the Prudential Center, and toured the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Students also had the opportunity to visit Boston College and Northeastern University.
My final communication to you will be tomorrow when I confirm that all students have departed from the program. Until then we will be enjoying our final night together and looking back on four successful weeks in Cambridge and Boston.
With my warm regards,
A few of our students took a tour of the Taza Chocolate factory in Somerville, Massachusetts. Taza Chocolate is sold all over the world, but this is their one and only production facility. Taza chocolate is unique because all of their chocolate is gluten free, dairy free, vegan, peanut free, non-gmo, direct trade, and kosher. In other words, they take special care of their chocolate and ensure that is of the best quality. They also visit all of their cocoa farming facilities at least once a year, and ensure that labor conditions are safe for their workers.
On the tour, students learned where the cocoa beans come from and how Taza makes their unique stone ground chocolate. Grinding their cocoa beans gives their chocolate a unique gritty/crunchy texture, different from the creamy textures of American and European chocolates which our students are used to eating.
Students sampled many different chocolate bars, from vanilla chocolate, to Mexican cinnamon chocolate. Students also sampled Taza’s traditional chocolate bars where the beans are selected from a few different tropical nations. The most interesting part was that although these chocolate bars were all produced in the same way, they all tasted differently simply because of the different climates and soil conditions of the countries that produced the beans.
Next, students walked through the factory to see the workers in action. At the very end, students got to take chocolate samples home with them because we were the last tour group of the day!
Yesterday students adventured along the Charles by kayak. Besides being a bit of a workout, the views were amazing and the weather was even better. Take a look!