Au revoir!

All our Paris Extension students are on their way back home now.  We had a great time showing them around the City of Lights for the last few days — some highlights are shown below: a ride on the petit train de Montmartre, the group in Montmartre by Sacre Coeur, a visit to the Pantheon, exploring the Shakespeare & Company bookstore, and a special visit from an Oxford pal!  We hope everyone had an amazing summer in Oxford & Paris!


Perfect Days in Paris

Time is flying by here in Paris with the extension group! We’ve had some packed days seeing some of the best sights Paris has to offer, and we’re not done yet!  So far we’ve cruised down to Seine, climbed the Eiffel Tower & Arc de Triomphe, explored the famous Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, and shopped ’til we dropped on the Champs Elysees.  A few adventurous eaters even tried escargots!  We’re all looking forward to our last full sightseeing day in Paris tomorrow.

Writing Contest Winner – Away from Home

This summer we hosted a writing contest on the theme “Away from Home.”  There were many submissions, from reflections on what home really means, to discussion of the quirks of Britain compared to their own homes.

After reading all the submissions, the committee chose the following poem as the winner of the 2016 competition.  We hope you enjoy this submission from Maggie S.

Away from Home

I’m home

I don’t want to leave

my friends and family

but I’m excited to see

a foreign place

my home will feel like

a thousand miles away

I’m sad to go

away from my mom and dad.

no longer

I’m confident and


I can do it but

I don’t know if

where I’m going will ever completely feel like home

and don’t try to tell me

time flies



dragging on and on

the goodbyes are

a month away.

I can’t believe it has been

the best month of my life.


Now read from bottom to top

Going Home

Today was an emotional day as all the students made their way back to their friends and families. As both escorted flights touched down in their respective destinations, students have been sharing Snapchats and Instagram posts to remind themselves of their fantastic summer abroad.

Meanwhile, the journey continues for our intrepid Parisian explorers, who took a river cruise on the Seine and had a group dinner together. Stay tuned for more updates from Paris!

Final Dinner – Jazz by Candlelight

Last night, the students were treated to a formal dinner in the LMH dining hall. Traditionally, Oxford students wear formal dress and gowns to these meals, and our students looked just as sharp in their shirts and ties and dresses! Every student got a group photo for their friends to sign and write notes on while a jazz band played some of their greatest standards, led by John Rolfe (our Oxford Art & Architecture teacher). We all enjoyed a three-course meal by candlelight and took plenty of pictures together before heading to view the students’ final projects in photography, art, and more.

After that, it was time to celebrate our summer together by viewing some of the talent that is so abundant in this group! Preston played the piano, Artur orated, Madison made us move to the sound of her voice, and everyone took part in some choice group karaoke. We also recognized the students’ academic achievements, for students attending all three seminars and students especially chosen by their teachers. There were many tears at the end of the night, but we will remember it for a long time to come!

Last Week Roundup

As the final day approaches and we start to feel sentimental, we thought we’d take a look at some of the activities of the last week.

After an exciting programme of classes and activities, students chilled out on Friday night. Pyjamas, face-masks, nail painting and a movie were the order of the evening. By the end of the night we were all fresh-faced and ready for the final week.

Monday saw the highly-anticipated Staff-Student Soccer Championship. It was a close call, but not as close as the staff would’ve liked! Despite the sweltering heat, the student team put in a great performance and emerged victorious.

The sun continued to shine on Wednesday for the annual rocket launch. Summerfuel’s best and brightest assembled to build and launch their own rockets. Despite some challenging engineering, every one went off without a hitch.

Meanwhile, high inside the towers of Toynbee, students raced against the clock to solve the puzzles of the Escape Room. Of ten teams who tried it, four beat the 45 minute time limit, with the fastest team taking just over 15 minutes to reach the goal!

Now, on to the excitement of the final dinner and a showcase of the best talent Summerfuel has on offer. Stay tuned!

Final Summerfuel Dance

We’ve had so much going on in the last few days, and it’s all culminated with the final Summerfuel dance! The RAs set up a summer festival in our very own gardens, and the students danced to a playlist of songs they chose throughout the program. Many selfies were taken, many snaps were chatted, and everyone had a great time. We look forward to the bittersweet final dinner tomorrow!

Shakespeare in the Park

The city of Oxford is filled with vibrant opportunities to ponder the works of Shakespeare for his 400th anniversary.  A group of students decided to enjoy today’s particularly sunny weather and celebrate Shakespeare’s legacy by watching Hamlet in the park!  The play was performed right next door to Lady Margaret Hall in the 74 acres of the University Parks.  The play was a modern interpretation by Creation Theatre.  The overall aesthetic was rooted in Steampunk culture, a type of science fantasy inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.  The feel was similar to a punk circus, complete with a grave digger clown.

Although the look of the play was clearly contemporary, the actors stayed true to the old English script.  Some of the students were familiar with Hamlet, others were not, but all were able to engage with this approachable interpretation.  A particular student favorite was the use of current music: the final scene closed with Muse.