A Sunny Afternoon at Merton College

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!


Berry Picking in the Oxford Countryside

We had just the right sunny, breezy afternoon for a trip to Rectory Farm this week, where students got a taste of the rural side of Oxfordshire. Fresh strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries didn’t last long in our punnets; we were eating them almost as fast as we could pluck them off their stalks!

… We finished the outing with smoothies or “shakes,” simple blends of strawberries with milk, soymilk, and oatmilk.

Paranormal Activities

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!


International Relations at the Summer Seminar

On Tuesday we were privileged to host Dr Tristen Naylor, Fellow in International Relations at the London School of Economics. Dr Naylor gave an energetic and thought-provoking introduction to contemporary international politics and discussed the future of our current world order. Trump TalkOur students were highly engaged, asking lots of questions and continuing to discuss the talk throughout the day! The Oxford Summer Seminar gathers together the brightest and best from all over the world and it was great to see our global community of young people engaging with the issues that face our world and will affect their future.

Quod pic

From Buddhist meditation to DNA deciphering

There’s never a dull moment here in Oxford. Our genetics class led by Dr Marsha Wallace has been learning all about DNA and have already learnt how to read the genome sequence!

The genetics students teamed up today on the Say It With DNA challenge to decipher the genetic code in a battle of wits and speed against their peers, learning how DNA controls cells, and the consequences when things go wrong.  They secretly hid an object on the grounds for their teammate to find, and wrote a message coded in DNA for their partner to translate.
say it with dna winners
Working against the clock, the team with the fastest time was Eliza Shapiro and Natialie Chaplin completing the challenge in an amazing 4 minutes!
As well as being an inspiring teacher, Dr Wallace has worked at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Nuffield Department of Medicine, researching type 1 diabetes.
Meanwhile Will Jefferson has kept his Critical Thinking class scratching their heads and opening their minds. His course has included a trip to the Buddhist Monastery in Oxford, where they tried their hands at meditation. Will recently completed his Doctorate at Balliol College, Oxford on the moral significance of empathy.
Critical thinking picture


Our students continue to relish the challenge and opportunity of learning from these experts in their fields!

Oxford in Bloom

The Oxbridge Summer Seminar had a brilliant trip to the Oxford Botanic Gardens this week. The oldest botanic garden in Great Britain, it dates back to 1621 and boasts a remarkable collection of rare and exotic plants. After a tour through the greenhouses, the students were allowed to explore the gardens themselves in beautiful sunshine.

Photo_gardens 1

We especially enjoyed looking at the carnivorous plants in the greenhouses – though some of the students didn’t want to get too close to the Venus Fly Traps!

Photo_gardens 2

We enjoyed looking at the collection of plants which have changed the world, from the rubber tree to the Cacao tree. There was something to interest everyone across the spectrum of subjects being studied.

Photo_gardens 3

After our tour, the students spent the rest of the afternoon exploring and happily reading in the beautiful gardens.

The Pitch

In the final class day, students in the International Business class pitched their ideas to guest business investor, check out some of their ideas and presentations below:


Presentation for STICK: a trackable sticker so that your items will never be lost again! Presented by Will, Brianna, Abi, and Jack

LifeRing Pitch: A wearable ring that tracks heart rate and other vitals. Presented by Koki, Kaiden, and Cassandra

Camp Review Presentation:  Clearate, a streamlined review site for camps and summer programs. Presented by James, Charles, and Maya

Fashion Team presentation: Service for up and coming fashion brands to handle promotion. Presented by Jonathan, Colin, Rameesa, and Brian

Here are also some additional pictures from their visit earlier in the week to Cooper Hewitt:

Hello from the Director!

Hello, Oxbridge Families!

Our program is in full swing with your students taking full advantage of all the program’s offerings! They have been striking a wonderful balance of work and play as they immerse themselves in their disciplines, digging into the material deeper, while also finding time to explore the great neighborhoods and sights of the city. Each day their confidence grows in navigating this beautiful city and managing their time and work with all the fun; all part of the college experience!

IMG_1467After our opening ceremony Thursday morning, students were dismissed to classes where they were introduced to their discipline and teachers. As a program, we then navigated the subway for the first time together down to midtown where we soared to the top of the famed Rockefeller building for a view of the entire NY skyline (and Jersey!). Finally, we wrapped our first day seeing the bright lights of Broadway in which students had the choice of seeing Waitress or Come From Away. I had the pleasure of seeing Come From Away, and wow what a show! I laughed and cried while it restored my faith in the innate goodness of people and the strength that comes through tragedy.

IMG_4682Friday students had not only their major class, but their first of two college workshops focused on the essay writing process and the interview process. Afternoon activities included stops at the Whitney Museum or walking the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset. Yesterday’s activities included an opportunity to visit NYU, exploring the neighborhoods of the city in small groups (many made the trek to Chinatown and SOHO), some took in another Broadway show, and a visit to the Chelsea Markets for unique foods and boutique shops.

And here we are today, Sunday, where student have their second workshop and will have the opportunity to tour Columbia University, walk the High Line, and sample sweet treats in Greenwich Village… on top of working on their final projects for class.

It’s hard to believe we’re looking to Departures Day already, but as we start pulling together the final travel plans, please communicate with your student their individual plan. We’ll be sharing with them the information we have tomorrow during the nightly check-in, so please be in touch before then so they have the most up to date plan. Once confirmed, we will put together the departures schedule. If you are picking up your student, please do so from 9:00-12:00 on Wednesday, August 7. If you need to make other arrangements, please be in touch with us as soon as possible.

I hope that you’ve been following our adventures on the blog, and have been in touch with your student — we’ll continue to remind them to check in with home as I know you’re excited to hear about their days.

Any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the program office via this email OR our 24/7 phone line, (434) 422-1537. We’re excited to share these last few days together, there is still much to experience and see!



Program Director