The weekend marked the end of the session at Balliol, with the students saying a reluctant goodbye to Oxford and all the new friends they’ve made on campus. Despite the sad note in the air, it has still been a fantastic fortnight which staff and students alike can reflect on positively. Their challenging classes and fun free time have given them a lot to be proud of, and they will doubtless call on many of their memories from their time on the programme!
Of course, study has been the main focus of the students’ stay in Oxford, and they have used their lesson time to cover and amazing range of topics. Dealing with theory and then applying that theory in practical exercises, the students have gained a real insight into their respective subjects. Our Film Academy students scripted, filmed and produced their own movies, all using high level professional equipment. Meanwhile, the IELTS students have received a real boost to their English language skills, and different circumstances in which they might be applied.
The academic work has been supported by a great programme of enrichment activities. They have had debate workshops, which focused on important ethical questions. This led up to their involvement in the Great Debate along with the other Oxford campuses. Masterclasses gave them expert-led information on a variety of fields, such as Crime Scene Investigation and an Architecture.
A very exciting series of excursions and activities has seen the students smiling away during much of their time outside of the classroom. They went on a trip to London, and had their choice of West End Shows to watch. As well as this, there has been ample time to play games such as football and frisbee at the University Parks. Tours of the city have allowed them to see some of the Oxford sights, including a spooky ghost tour! They have also competed against some of their peers from other colleges, in the ORA Olympics.
Far from spending all of their time busying themselves with work or sightseeing, the students have also had a lot of free time to chat and swap stories. This saw them become a very tight-knit group, as they spent a lot of time finding out about each other’s cultures and sharing laughs over inside jokes – sometimes to the bemusement of the staff! Their closeness has embodied the friendly spirit which we strive for on our campuses, and the whole ORA team were glad to see it.
This amity was cemented during the graduation ceremony, as the students cheered each other up to the front to collect their awards. The evening only got better, as they went on to enjoy a fantastic party with some of the other Oxford cohorts, and embraced another chance to meet new people!
It has been a wonderful session at Balliol, with the staff ranking among the best they have been a part of! The students worked hard, made friends, gained some invaluable experience and left their mark. They leave Oxford safe in the knowledge that they are departing in better shape for their futures than when they arrived.