Summer in Oxford: A few of our favorite things...

Oxford is more than just the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ and the oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is also a vibrant student-centric city, home to some of the best art, the best food, the best parks and the best people in the world. And, we would know. We’ve been spending our summers there for more than 30 years.  Some of our favorite spots:

Cornmarket Street

Oxford Blog_Cornmarket

Running through the center of downtown Oxford, this pedestrian-only street is the place to find the thing you’re looking for in Oxford. Whether you want to grab souvenirs, a quick lunch, or stop into Jack Wills for an English inspired outfit, Cornmarket is where you’ll head.

Afternoon Tea

Oxford Blog_High Tea

You’re living in England now, so there’s no excuse not to have a spot of tea in the afternoon. Head out for a full service tea at one of the local tea houses or join Summerfuel’s “Voyages in Afternoon Tea” to learn the history of tea drinking.

Harry Potter

Oxford Blog_Harry Potter

Many of the Harry Potter sets are based on the historic college architecture in Oxford, especially Christ Church College.  If you’re a Potter fan you’ll feel like you’re wandering Hogwarts at almost every turn.

English Sweets

Oxford Blog_Sweets

Along with other British “favorites” – Fish and chips, mushy peas, meat pies and bangers & mash – don’t forget to sample Oxford’s finest sweets. Join us on a sweets tour or head out on your own. Beware, lines for Ben’s Cookies and Moo-Moo’s in the Covered Market routinely snake around the aisles at lunch and can take a while to get through. Insiders tip – buy cookies at Ben’s and take them to Moo-Moo’s where they’ll mix them into your milkshake. Nom nom nom.

The Covered Market

Oxford Blog_Covered Market

Ah, the Covered Market where you really will find a little bit of everything. Wander through the stalls to grab a snack (ahem, cookies), fresh flowers, fancy tea or a pair of Hunter Wellington boots. The boots just may come in handy during the occasional English downpour!

Punting

Oxford Blog_Punting

On a warm, sunny summer day, there really is nothing lovelier than heading our for an afternoon of punting on the Thames (which runs through Oxford). It can be a bit tricky to get the hang of, but we promise it’s fun and an ‘only in Oxford’ experience. Plus, there’s nothing funnier than a friend tumbling in the water after a stuck pole pulls you in. At Lady Margaret Hall, we have our own boat house, so punting is a regular adventure.

The Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) Gardens

Oxford Blog_LMH Gardens

Perhaps one of the best kept secrets is how magnificent the LMH gardens are in the summer (12 acres!). The gardens serve as reading nook, croquet lawn, cricket pitch, soccer field, outdoor movie venue and less-than-conventional classroom. LMH also has basketball and tennis courts nearby, so it’s easy to stay active!

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How to Find the Perfect Program for You

Choosing a summer program that will be the right fit for you can be a daunting process. There is such a wide array of programs out there to choose from – backpacking through South America, volunteering in Thailand, traditional summer camps, internships, academic programs throughout the US, and the list goes on and on. So, how do you know what type of program will benefit youthe most? Everyone is different and what might be inspiring for one student, may not hit the spot for another. Here are some important things to consider as you try to find the perfect summer program:

 

Location, Location, Location

A quick way to narrow down your search is to decide if you want to stay close to home or if you are itching to travel abroad. Is there a certain part of the world you are curious about and have been dying to see? Do you speak a certain language that you would love to practice in another area of the globe? Perhaps you want the best of both worlds – a residential camp outside of your house, but still close enough to home that your parents can drive you there. Whatever the case may be, deciding on a location is a major step in finding your dream summer program.

 

What fits into your schedule?

Another easy way to hone in on the right summer program for you, is to think about your schedule. Summer can be a busy time, so it is important to map out your schedule and make sure that you are looking for programs that fit with your calendar. Whether you like to have a jam-packed summer with back to back activities, or you want to make sure you pencil in some relaxation time at home, this is important to consider when looking for a summer program.

 

What interests you?

Every summer program has something different to offer, and depending on your interests the right fit is out there. Think about what you like to do in your free time and what your interests are. Do you like to read? Do you enjoy science? Do you dream of creating your own business? Do you like to play sports? Do you love art? Are you curious to explore something totally new? Considering what truly excites you and sparks your fire will help you to select a summer program that is right up your alley. Undoubtedly, this will make for a fulfilling and rewarding summer experience.

 

Life as a Resident Assistant (RA)

This weekend, Summerfuel at Tufts said goodbye to many students and staff. Resident Assistant (RA) Nodir spoke to RA Alayna, as she reflected on her Summerfuel experience.

RA Nodir: Hi there, can you tell me a little about who you are and where you are from?

Sure – so I’m Alayna and I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri. I graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis.  I graduated in 2017 and I’ve been doing a variety of different things but my goal is to work in higher ed… which led me to apply for a position with Summerfuel.

N: What did you most enjoy about Summerfuel? What is your favorite memory?

I really enjoyed getting to know my residents and the RA staff. Favorite memory? Oh gosh…

I enjoyed just kind of laughing about random things, going back and forth with staff, talking to new students, hearing about their day and their program, what they’re learning. I don’t know, the students are just so amazing that being around them has been my favorite part of the experience.  I know that they’re going to make big changes in the world.

N: Was there an excursion you really liked?

I really liked the Kennedy Institute. I went with my International Relations students. It was nice hearing what they got out of it, the decisions politicians make when they’re passing bills…

N: Is there anything that you feel your students taught you?

One thing that sticks out to me in particular, is how one of my students said she didn’t have a goal in mind for what she was becoming in international relations. She was going in to see how far she can go, just to experience, and I thought it was interesting.

N: We had staff from many different backgrounds. Is there anything you would say you learned from them?

I enjoyed just being able to get to know people and where they’re going.  I was really surprised by the amount of  international experience people had before coming here. One of my favorite conversations was learning more about what people were studying, and their favorite memories while working with students or discussions about studying abroad and learning more about what they did and love. 

N: Is there anything else you would like to share?

I definitely would say, if I could have the same people and the same experience it is definitely something that I would do again.