First Day of Classes & An Epic Game of Capture The Flag

Cyle here,writing to you with the second day of Summerfuel Oxford in the books, and boy was it a good one!

Monday was the first day of classes for our 2019 students and those classes range in topic from the Humanities (Shakespeare, Oxford Authors, Law & Society) to the Sciences (Developmental Psychology, Genetics), to the artistic and expressive (Creative Writing, Digital Photography). The RAs and I have heard nothing but positive- maybe even glowing- reports of the faculty and the curriculum writ large, and that students feel that the classes are both relevant and engaging, as well as challenging. We are extremely proud of our faculty, and so it is nice to hear that the students are feeling so positively.

The RAs led their hall groups in the town center to begin to explore what amenities Oxford has to offer, and helped their students find places to change currency, buy toiletries and necessities, and get a really good meal for £3!

Later in the evening, the RAs did a fantastic job of putting together an evening program that is best described in pictures. Let’s begin with how beautiful University Parks- 74 acres of pristinely kept fields and gardens that are among the most beautiful that these eyes have ever seen- is. University Parks abuts Lady Margaret Hall, and we will be utilizing the space constantly. Could you blame us?

We began with a water balloon toss, where students partnered up and tossed a water balloon between them. With each catch, the student partners had to take a step back until the water balloon burst. Laughter ensured.

Look at far out they got!


Next, the RAs led us in a round of Human Knot, where students got into groups, grabbed one another’s hands in various combinations, and then, without letting go of one another’s hands, they tried to untangle themselves. Again, laughter ensued.

And then, there was an epic game of Capture the Flag. Because of how large University Parks is, we had to limit the field to about the size of a soccer pitch, and students were having so much fun that we played several rounds. I was most impressed by our female students who mixed it up as well or better than their male counterparts, utilizing good strategy to help their teams win. (The young man in the photo below had just been sneak-tagged by the young woman behind him!)

One of my favorite things about Summerfuel is that it attracts both excellent students as well as excellent athletes. I don’t need to tell you that the young man in the photo below is fast- you can see that he’s fast.


Suffice it to say that, between the rigorous classes, the lovely afternoon out with RAs and exploring the city, and an evening running wild, our students had no trouble getting to sleep!


Oh! And I nearly forgot! Our intrepid RA, Riley, found an inflatable Connect Four game and RA Cameron had a VERY good time.

Students Have Arrived!

Cyle here, with exciting news- students have arrived to Lady Margaret Hall and Summerfuel Oxford 2019 has begun in earnest!

The day begun early for our heroic RAs who were up at 4am in order be to Heathrow Airport in time to greet our first arrivals (thanks RAs!!!) while Lindsey and I were back at Lady Margaret Hall making sure that everything was just as it should be.

A coach arrived with the majority of our 44 students, while several others were dropped off by parents, and others by taxis. Once everyone got onto campus, into their respective rooms and settled, we went to dinner as a program with students sitting in their RA groups and dining with their RA (if you’ve not seen this post about our great RAs, I’d recommend it!) and then we went into the Talbot Bar (the English term for a gathering place) for “Friendship Bingo”.

In Friendship Bingo, students are given a card with squares that have various attributes or facts like “Find someone with a name that has the same first letter as yours”, or “Find a cat person”, and are then tasked with mixing and mingling in order to find people with those attributes. We asked each student to complete two rows in order to earn an ice cream bar, but most of them surprised us by nearly filling their bingo cards!

This is a good group indeed. As Friendship Bingo wound down, we got out the football (the English football!), a frisbee, and the ping pong paddles and the games began.

Fun was had by all, and I’ve been really impressed by how much this group is getting on. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the beginning of academics!


Meet Your Resident Assistants!

Hello all, Cyle here, writing to you from the now up and running front office!

Summerfuel Oxford is thrilled to have a team of four outstanding resident assistants- all Summerfuel veterans, with three of the four having served at our Oxford campus before. I can tell you without reservation that I like all of these people so very well- and I’m sure that you will too!

Monica Skibbie
Hi, I’m Monica! I’m from Chicago, finished a master’s degree in literature last December, and my favourite things are Netflix (currently watching: Alta Mar), traveling (most memorable destination: Bled, Slovenia), and eating (will never turn down: gnocchi of any kind). I love Harry Potter and TV shows and LOVE talking about them (aka dissecting them within an inch of their life), so tell me about what you’ve been reading/watching lately!

So Monica…
What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
A durian milkshake.

Who would you cast to play you in a movie about your life?
Freya Mavor

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?
Instagram, Duolingo, UberEats

Kevin Gonzalez
My name is Kevin Gonzalez and I am a middle school Spanish teacher. This will be my fourth summer with Summerfuel Oxford. I enjoy baseball and traveling whenever I can.

So Kevin…
What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
Cow stomach.

Who would you cast to play you in a movie about your life?
Hugh Jackman.

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?
Messages, YouTube, and the Art of Manliness App.

Cameron Cabot
Cameron is from Cleveland, Ohio and this will be his third Summerfuel Oxford experience. Cameron is currently working on an MA in Arts Administration. He brings experience in residence life, study abroad facilitation, and conference management. He is an avid traveler, writer, singer, arts manager, and lover of the UK. Cameron can’t wait to meet our students, and to ensure they have the best, most energizing, summer of their lives!

So Cameron…
What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
My cousin owns an organic dog biscuit company that uses spent grains from breweries. I totally ate one…actually two. They tasted like a not-so-sweet Nature Valley peanut butter granola bar.

Who would you cast to play you in a movie about your life?
Meryl Streep, because she can do and be anything. Or, the entire cast of The Golden Girls.

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?
Snapchat, Safari, and Garage Band.

Riley Beres
Riley is an actress, director, and film editor from Los Angeles, California! She was originally born in the UK and loves returning to Oxford, as it’s one of her favorite cities. She also owns a non-profit organization that deals with the homeless in LA, and writes for an online magazine part-time! She’s still searching for the best donuts in Oxford.

So Riley…
What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

Who would you cast to play you in a movie about your life?
Keira Knightley in the 90s, or Saoirse Ronan (duh).
If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?
Spotify, Google Calendar and Messenger!

Meet Your Senior Staff!

Summerfuel Oxford’s staff of Resident Advisors, Instructors, and Administrators are a highly dedicated and experienced group with a wide array of experience and expertise. Over the coming days, we’ll introduce you to each of our staff members with a short blurb and answer a couple of “icebreaker” questions. Let’s start with our Director and Assistant Director.

Lindsey Ford: Program Director

This is Lindsey’s fifth summer serving as a Summerfuel director and her second summer at Oxford. She has worked on six different programmes and campuses for Summerfuel, and loves getting to meet and serve students from all over the globe. Academics are her secret life away from her job as an actor, she’s a competitive dodgeball player who has competed in the Dodgeball World Cup, and she is also a very committed traveler who has visited 24 countries!

So Lindsey…
What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
I ate a live octopus in Tokyo.

Who would you cast to play you in a movie about your life?
Janelle Monae. Because I want to be her.

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?
Oh, cheese and rice! Google Calendar, uh- does the Messages count? I need to message people! Okay, Messages, and Spotify.



Cyle Talley: Assistant Program Director

This is Cyle’s (it’s “Kyle”, but with a ‘C’) second summer serving as senior staff with Summerfuel. Cyle teaches high school English (he’s an unrepentant book nerd) and is a coach for the school’s baseball team. He’s also a musician, writer, and a coffee snob. Like Lindsey, Cyle loves to travel, though he’s only been to eight countries.

So Cyle…
What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
It’s a tie: I ate tripe (cow’s stomach) in Portugal, and lengua (cow’s tongue) in Mexico. Both weren’t horrible- but I don’t think I’d like to eat them again.

Who would you cast to play you in a movie about your life?
Billy Crudup.

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?
Google Maps, Messages, and the New York Times app.

Setting Up for Summerfuel Oxford 2019!


Hello! This is Cyle, the assistant director for Summerfuel Oxford 2019. Lindsey (the director) and I arrived on campus Sunday and have been setting up our office, meeting with university officials, brainstorming, and introducing ourselves to the wonderful museums and sights that Oxford has to offer. Our amazing (and I can’t say that clearly enough- these are some outstanding humans) staff of RAs arrive in the coming days and we can hardly wait to see them!

I’ve been anxiously awaiting June and Oxford for the last several months and so it’s hard to believe that it won’t be too long before you and 44 other students will be boarding your flights and traveling to Lady Margaret Hall to join Lindsey, the RAs, and I for three weeks full of learning, adventure, and community. I am sure that I speak for the entire staff when I say that we couldn’t be more excited to meet you!

In the coming days, we’ll be posting a little bit about ourselves and what you can expect when you arrive. Meanwhile, if you or your family have any questions, don’t hesitate to email us at: oxford@summerfuel.com.

We’ll have a phone set up shortly as well, and will update this post with that phone number as soon as we can!


Oxford Alum Gabriela Conquers the Dreaming Spires

A summer at Oxford is an unforgettable experience that leaves students with memories and friendships to last a lifetime. See what Gabriela has to say about her time with Summerfuel in Oxford in 2015:

Hi, my name is Gabriela and I went to Oxford in 2015. I am a sophomore in college now, living in Miami. To this day, I still have no words. The days I spent in Oxford were some of the most memorable times in my life. It’s about to be four years since my trip and I still can’t stop thinking about it. I look at picures from my trip constantly. It was the first time traveling without my parents and my first real taste of what it felt like to travel the world and be independent.

I was lucky enough to go on this trip with my best friend from middle school, Gaby. Together, we conquered Oxford one dreaming spire at a time. We got to do some many things there together, but we also got to experience many things on our own and meet such amazing people. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with my new home for the summer. Lady Margaret Hall became home in a matter of days.

I quickly made a group of friends that I absolutely loved. Every minute of the day was spent rolling on the floor with laughter, discovering the hidden gems of Oxford, and eating at just about every food place that exists in our small town. From Ben’s cookies and G&D’s, we would never go hungry. My morning class, Oxford Art and Architecture, is what I consider to be a blessing in disguise. My morning class was changed 3 times before I finally found the perfect one for me. I never expected to be taking architecture classes as a current pre-med student, but I knew it was the perfect opportunity to do something completely different. I ended up falling in love with it and had zero regrets, and I couldn’t imagine taking any other class!

One of the best things about my Summerfuel trip was the lifelong friend that came out of it. It was one of the first couple of days when we met in the dining hall. We were in the same RA group, but it wasn’t until she stole a jug of water from another table for me at dinner that I knew we would be friends forever. From that day on, we were inseparable! We took care of each other when we were sick, took the same afternoon class, and spent just about every day together.

Cosi lived in New York and now goes to school in California. I live in Miami, but the distance never stopped us. We have met up at least once almost every year since our program ended, whether I go visit her in New York with Gaby or her coming to stay with me in Miami. I know that we’ll be friends for a long time and I’m so grateful to Summerfuel for letting us meet.

Without Summerfuel, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. It opened so many doors for me and provided me with such amazing experiences that I still brag about to this day. It even inspired me to do another study abroad trip in college to the U.K. this upcoming summer. I wish I could go back to my days in Oxford!

P.S. To any future Summerfuel students and alumni, just know that the excitement and giddiness will never go away even for years after your program. Just take me and my friend Gaby for example. Maybe one day, this will be you! I hope you get to enjoy your program as much as I did!

Magical Oxford – Camille Reflects

Undoubtedly, Oxford is a magical place. Throw in authentic and exciting academics to discover, new friends from around the world, and passionate teachers and mentors, and you have the makings for a summer that can change your life.

Camille was a part of Summerfuel’s 2017 Pre-College program at Oxford and had an experience that she will carry with her into her bright future:

“I attended Summerfuel’s program at Oxford in 2017  for three weeks, and it really was one of the best times! Here’s a little something about what I’ve been up to since then:

After Oxford, Johns Hopkins University. That’s where I spent the summer a year after my Oxford program with Summerfuel. It’s thanks to Summerfuel’s amazing program and the dedicated teachers that I chose to take a physiology and disease class in an American college after my Medical Science Experience. I still use my drama skills in everyday life, but the play I acted on the stage in Lady Margaret Hall is forever in my repertoire of plays. 

But Oxford wasn’t just academics, it was so much more. I lived in a piece of history for three weeks alongside some of the best people I’ve ever met. Sitting on the field in the back of Lady Margaret Hall, with the beautiful summer weather; that afternoon sun and clouds is a scene I won’t forget and continues to be my phone background. In addition to this beautiful scenery we had the chance to visit London twice and Churchill’s childhood home, which isn’t something you get to do everyday, especially in my case.

I live in Singapore, Southeast Asia, which means I’m away from most of my international friends. The ones I made at Oxford are spread around the globe: Lebanon, UK, France, US. This summer I was lucky enough to meet up with three of those special people and I hope that it was only the beginning of our meetings!

My life after high school is starting to form as I’ve sent out my applications for Med school to the British universities and will soon be doing so for universities in the US. I just recently got an offer to UCL, and I can’t wait to study in this field. One of my floor friends from Oxford is also applying to UCL so I’m sure the people I met at Summerfuel haven’t just disappeared from my life. 

To anyone reading this because they’re hesitating about whether or not they should apply and join a Summerfuel program: it’s truly something everyone should attend, and have the opportunity to enjoy. I know I did!!”

– Camille C., 17, Singapore

Click Here to learn more about Oxford Summer 2019!

New 2019 Pre-College Courses

Here at Summerfuel we always like to keep things fresh and interesting. We believe that it is so important to expand our horizons and explore new topics that we normally wouldn’t encounter in every day life. We are beyond excited to introduce new courses at all 3 of our Pre-College programs. From Fashion and App Design to Animals and the Environment, these new additions cover it all.

Pre-College at Tufts

Animal Science
Film Study
Sports Medicine
Multimedia & Web Programming
Creative Writing
American History in Boston Workshop
Art Museums of Boston Workshop
Theater Acting Workshop

Pre-College at Oxford

Film Production
Film Studies

Pre-College at UC Berkeley

Computer Science & App Design
Pitch to Production – Film
Introduction to Environmental Science
Introduction to Fashion Design
Sketch the City Workshop
TV Acting Workshop


Contact us today to learn more about these exciting new courses!