It’s bright and early in the morning in Oxford! About half our students have left campus, and the other half are soon to follow.
It’s hard to say goodbye, especially to good friends. But we were glad to get to know all of these students this summer, and happy they were able to form strong friendships. We’re sure these bonds will last no matter what the distance is!
Here are some pics of our candlelit, served final dinner:
The food was outstanding in its plating and delectable in taste. The music was relaxing, and several staff and students even participated as singers! But the highlight of the night was the company: friends made over the summer sharing memories and wishes for the future.
We’re moving into our final days at Lady Margaret Hall and trying to make the most of them!
The night ended with an all-programme dance lit up in neon colors. We all collaborated to make an online playlist that represented our American, Latin, and Russian musical tastes. Altogether, there have been some really great friendships formed, and it was fun to enjoy those friendships and celebrate with each other tonight!
It could be said that all our activities are an escape from classes, but we took that to another level this evening. More on that later!
It’s the final week of class here, and the teachers have saved a lot of their best material to share now. In Psychology of the Criminal Mind, students presented a final project researching an infamous serial killer, which is at once fascinating and horrifying. On the other end of the spectrum, Shakespeare’s England took a field trip to Pizza Express. What does that have to do with Shakespeare? Well, it’s located in a building that was an inn frequented by Shakespeare on his travels from London to Stratford-Upon-Avon!
To escape the heat, a group of students braved the new indoor minigolf course. Themed like a junkyard and decorated with blacklights, there’s a lot to distract you from sinking your shots!
Moving into the evening, students tested their wits against our Activities Director in an escape room. They had to solve puzzles and follow clues in order to retrieve their room key from a locked box, all in just 45 minutes! Fortunately, everyone made it…
We also held our final student forum and listened to feedback on the program overall. We’re always happy to hear positive comments and eager to listen to suggestions to continue making the program an even better experience!
Walking around a big city is one experience, but a pair of wheels makes things even better! That’s why we took a trip to Hyde Park and picked up some bikes to ride around London in style.
We were a pretty big group, but nothing that the guides at Fat Tire Bike Tours couldn’t handle. We followed them through the park and around the streets with ease while they told crazy stories about London’s past and present.
Not to be left behind, students back at campus visited Oxford’s beautiful Botanic Garden, the oldest of its kind in the UK. It was established for scientific purposes, but since then it has grown into a great place to wander and take in the diversity of the plant world.
With the evening came Spa Night, where we gathered together with a movie in the background while nails got painted and face masks got applied. The guys couldn’t get away from spa night, and I think they enjoyed their face products more than the girls!
It was an academically-focused day here, starting out with a presentation from Paul Kelly from JCP Advisory, an educational consultant. Students who are interested in becoming distinguished alumni of a British university benefited from his explanations and advice.
Then it was time to close out our academic seminar series with resident teacher John Rolfe, who helped us reflect on the English language. His talk centred around 12 objects here in Oxford that show the history of English, especially the difference between British and American English. It also included a student reading of Shakespeare and a memorised recitation of the Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. We hope students will be prompted by this discussion to seek out some of these artifacts and landmarks themselves!
Finally, we closed out the day with an Olympic tournament of minigames. Not traditional sports by any means, these games gave students the chance to bond with their leaders and fellow students. Everyone got into the spirit of competition and hopefully exhibited some teamwork in the competition!
The rain is gone, the sun is back, and there are always more things to do. Today, there were more than a few students who stayed around campus to nurse sunburns they got at the beach. However, those who haven’t had their shopping fix took a trip to Bicester Village!
Bicester is the length of the Champs-Élysées, and is similarly decked out with designer shops. More importantly, it has bargains that make it a more popular destination than the National Gallery! Our students hoped to find some of these good deals for brands like Burberry, Longchamp, and Prada.
While some took the evening off to finish essays, a dedicated few competed in Summerfuel’s Pub Quiz. Five rounds pertained to Harry Potter, Oxford, Music, Geography, and General Trivia. Ultimately, the winners only came out one point ahead, but it was enough to win them a Ben’s Cookies cake!
Everybody loves the beach–clearly, as every student decided to save their homework for another day and come to Brighton Beach. About a two-hour drive from Oxford, it’s a pebble beach with lots to do. On the waterfront, there are arcades, amusement, and Regency-era architecture. Brighton Pier opened in 1899 and has delicious-smelling carnival food and exciting rides.
But what was most different from Oxford was the beach! And students enjoyed laying out in the sun, taking photos together, and even swimming in the Atlantic.
Back at home, students enjoyed the entertainment of Tony Rae, the Chairman of the British Council of Hypnotists. Tony persuaded hypnotized students to flee from imaginary sharks, cuddle up in the Antarctic, and race in the Silverstone Circuit. After the show, students chatted to the volunteers about how much they remembered!