A beautifully bright afternoon saw our students taking a trip down the lane to our neighbour, Merton College. Merton is one of the oldest and most beautiful colleges in Oxford with medieval and 17th-century buildings, and glorious gardens surrounded by the original city walls. After we toured the gardens, we headed indoors, enjoying the sound of the organ in the 13th-century chapel and an exclusive tour of the library, which is the oldest continuously functioning library for university academics and students in the world!
After a busy morning working hard in the classroom, this afternoon our students had the chance to unwind and have some fun in the great outdoors.
We took a group of around thirty keen students up to the beautiful University Parks in North Oxford and had a fierce game of Ultimate Frisbee!
Yesterday afternoon we took another group to the beautiful botanic gardens. Some of our students spotted plants in the greenhouses that they recognised from their home countries – it was a wonderful opportunity to share experiences and celebrate the diversity of our community.
It’s clear already that this is going to be a great week with a brilliant bunch of students!
It’s been a busy weekend here in Oxford. Our first seminar finished with a delicious three-course formal dinner in Corpus Christi College Hall, followed by a party in the auditorium complete with a photo-booth, Casino Royale themed games, and a chance for the students to show off their moves on the dance floor.
Our brilliant dean, Nathan, reminiscing about a busy week of learning and fun
At the end of the dinner, Luke Berryman gave a rousing speech wishing our students luck with their exciting future endeavours and thanking them for being such a brilliant community and throwing themselves in to all the opportunities on offer. Nathan and Catherine had the impossible task of selecting two students to receive Deans’ awards. Jenna Garcia and Tin King Tai were recognised for their bubbly personalities and enthusiasm inside and outside the classroom.
It was a testament to the firm friendships that were made over the week that so many students woke up bright and early at 4 am to say goodbye to their friends who were leaving for early flights. Friends for life!
On Saturday we said goodbye to our single major first week students and welcomed a new group. A walking tour guided by our founder, Professor James Basker, through the Sunday evening Oxford streets set week two off to a brilliant start!
Thursday evening saw the eagerly awaited talent show take place in the auditorium. Guitar, violin, song, dance and comedy all featured, to frequent bouts of rapturous applause from a captivated audience. It was fantastic to see multiple performances of traditional dances from different countries around the world, and a brilliant evening was had by all.
The students did what many invaders over the past 1,000 years could not, and gained entry to Oxford Castle keep. We enjoyed an interesting tour about the castle’s amazing history; a site of refuge for kings, rebel barons and even an empress, the castle has been a site of real strategic importance since it was built after the Norman Conquest. From the stunning views from the lofty battlements to the sinister depths of the dungeons, we explored every nook and cranny of the castle, once occupied by royalty, rebel and ruffian alike.
This afternoon a group of twenty students visited the Oxford Union. One of the oldest debating societies in the world, the Union was set up in 1823 and continues to host debates and talks from global leaders in every walk of life to this day. Our students were inspired by the illustrious history of this amazing place.
The Debating Chamber
The Union librarian guided our students round the debating chamber, library and courtyard and told us a little bit about the amazing people who have walked these halls, from Winston Churchill to Mother Teresa.
Muhammad Haseeb Haider standing in front of the portrait of Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, who was President of the Oxford Union whilst a student here
AYES to the right; NOES to the left!
After our tour we paid a quick visit to Exeter College, enjoying the beautiful stained glass windows in the Chapel and iconic views from the College garden looking onto the Radcliffe Camera.
No stay in Oxford would be complete without a trip punting. On Tuesday and Thursday of this week our Oxford Summer Seminar students set off from Magdalen Bridge and punted down the River Cherwell.
Punting, which involves using a large pole to move the boat along the river, is always harder than it looks, but out brilliant students got the hang of it very quickly!
Thankfully the ever-unreliable English weather held out for us and everyone had a lovely time. People have been punting in Oxford since 1860 and now our students have mastered one of Oxford’s oldest traditions!
No, we’re not serving McDonald’s burgers and fries here! We’re just having plenty of good times dining with friends in the Corpus Christi Hall. Smiles abound and the food has been impressive.
This week’s menu highlights have included salmon with mango salsa, Yorkshire pudding with gravy, samosas with chutney, pasta and pizza, couscous with olives, a variety of salads, and lots of fresh strawberries with cream. But what we’re all savoring most is the camaraderie!
After a busy day of classes and activities, a group of Oxford Seminar Students set out at sunset for the infamous Oxford Ghost Tour.
Led by award-winning guide Bill Spectre, the tour was both informative and great fun. Mr Spectre showed us round Oxford’s historic sites, some as much as 800 years old, while keeping us entertained with amazing illusions and stories of ghostly happenings!
It was a great way to learn more about Oxford’s rich and exciting history by night, and a brilliant end to a busy day!