Yesterday was Arrivals Day, a brilliant flurry of cars pulling up and students disembarking, eyes wide and hands full of bags, as they begin their learning adventure with ORA in Balliol College. Throughout the day there was a constant stream of students arriving from the airport to the Porters’ Lodge of the College, where they were welcomed by counsellors eager to get to know their new charges. The process went swimmingly: students were quickly registered and whisked up to their rooms in the sandstone walls of the College, their home for the next two weeks.
Once the students had all arrived Stephen, the Programme Director in Balliol, gave a warm welcome speech, exhorting students to work towards the standards expected of them, and reminding them of the potential that the next two weeks holds. Judging by the eager expressions on students’ faces, this exhortation may not have been necessary: the august setting of Balliol has a wonderful way of sharpening the mind and giving a firm focus.
After everyone’s first dinner in the grandeur of the Great Hall, a centuries-old room of waxed oak panels and paintings of the College’s former Masters, the students and counsellors all headed to the Quad for icebreaker games. Although everybody, of course, was meeting each other for the first time, a lot of fun was had, and friendships were quickly struck up over games like Two Truths and a Lie, Ninja –is there anywhere better to play Ninja than in a college quad?—and the traditional Duck Duck Goose. There was also a mass game of Rock Paper Scissors, on such an international scale that it might, to any passing spectator, have resembled a World Cup: to cheers and applause, Jorjen from Norway emerged the victor.
The day had been a long one, full of busyness and fun, and it was no surprise to see that everyone went to bed tired—but we can’t wait to see what the next day holds.