RA Olympic Teams

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!

Shopping at the Outlets

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!


Brighton Beach

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!


An Active Friday

Although there’s not a gym on campus here at Lady Margaret Hall, we like to keep in shape.

It’s become a bit of a Friday tradition to go punting on the river that’s conveniently behind our residence. Sometimes, it takes a bit of paddling, but we think the students are getting better at using the pole!

In the evening, we finally got the rain we’ve been expecting all summer. Unfortunately, this coincided with our walk to the Oxford Ice Rink! It dampened our clothes, but not our spirits! And when they shut off the lights and turned up the music for a disco skate session, the smiles were bigger than ever!

No 42nd St in Oxford

There’s no 42nd Street in Oxford, but there is in London! But we’ll get to that in a bit.

Around here, Thursdays are great for taking a breath before diving into the weekend. A group of students got to cross off a true Oxford must-see: St. Mary’s Tower. This viewpoint, although narrow and very cramped, has the best view of Oxford, bar none. In fact, it’s so iconic that it is the Wikipedia cover photo for Oxford!

The evenings are cooling off, and there’s no better way to celebrate that than a pajama party. Students gathered in the common room to “Netflix and PJs” with some pizza delivery. Stepbrothers isn’t a British movie, but it was fun nonetheless.


But maybe the most exciting part of the day was our second London theatre trip. On this optional extra, students saw 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane. With classics like “We’re in the Money” and “I Only Have Eyes For You”, entertainment doesn’t get much bigger!

Bats and Clubs

One of the best things about having Oxford professors teach with us year after year is the way they can collaborate. Today, two afternoon workshops worked together to show students how different subjects can interrelate. The subject was the British sport of cricket.

Sports and Fitness is the obvious venue for learning the rules of cricket. However, their team competed against the Voyages in Afternoon Tea class! Not surprising, really, when you think about how iconic tea and cricket are to the British mindset.

Maybe the match was team against team, but maybe it was more British professor vs. British professor. Either way, the Afternoon Tea team was victorious!

Everyone else got the chance to get sweaty at Summerfuel Club Night. The Bridge Club welcomes us every year to an under-18 party, along with several other programs. It’s hot, it’s crowded, but it’s a lot of fun!

Two professional DJs mixed familiar tunes for everyone to dance to.

After all that, everyone’s pretty tired, but at least there are only morning classes tomorrow!

Learning in London

Summerfuel Oxford teachers took a well-deserved day off and let museums do the educating! We drove up to Exhibition Road and split students’ time between two galleries based on their morning seminars and afternoon workshops.

The Victoria and Albert Museum is so vast that it defies categorization, but most people put it under “arts and design”. Exhibits inside range from West End theatre costumes to South Asian carvings, and stock everything in between.

The Science Museum, although just as fascinating, couldn’t be more different. Its exhibits focus on the history, application, and even the future of science. Spoiler alert: the next big source of energy will be “poo”.

And museums aren’t the only place to gain authentic experience. Harrod’s department store was a great spot for the Marketing class to analyze strategies and plans. Not to mention, a good place for souvenirs and makeup!

If today wasn’t full enough, we still had a round of evening activities to complement the trip to London. Some students attended an open-air production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (look forward to a separate post soon). Others attended Bill Spectre’s famous Ghost Tour of Oxford, complete with thrills and chills!

Activities and an Academic Seminar

Today in brief:

Students enjoyed some afternoon cream tea and scones in town at noon today- a great way to relax after morning classes!

Through a few short quizzes students were able learn more about themselves, their traits and their overall personality types. 

After that, student representatives were able to give feedback on their courses and speak for their floors about what they want to see from or enjoy about our program.

The highlight was today’s guest speaker, Sarah Jinks. Based at St. Clare’s College, Sarah is a specialist biology teacher and an Oxford graduate! In her post-graduate work she investigated the student as a `risk taker’. Tonight’s seminar discussed women scientists from the past, from Caroline Herschel – who discovered several comets – to Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, who deciphered the structure of insulin.

Finally, students ended the night with a game out on the LMH fields. It was “kind of like American football, but with goalies”. Oh, also, the ball was about four feet in diameter. Not really sure what to call it, but it looked fun!