The students in Jowett Walk woke up yesterday morning to the realisation that they are, truly, living in Oxford for a whole fortnight. On one side of the building, they could see the pitches of Balliol College, drenched in summer sun; on the other, the rising crenulations of the gorgeously Gothic New College, shielded by a row of trees gently tossing in the wind.
It was no surprise, therefore, that registration in the morning seemed, in the words of Rebecca, one of our counsellors, ‘like a Monday school assembly’: everyone was quiet, awed perhaps by their surroundings.
This quiet did not, thankfully, last long. Excited by their classes, students were vocally engaged in their morning lessons. Politics and International Relations got off to a flying start with a morning of sharp critical thinking, particularly enjoyed by Max, from London; elsewhere, Matias weighed up the relative merits of his Physics and Chemistry course against the lessons in Creative and Essay Writing, which he is also taking. Many of the students are wisely using the wide variety of classes on offer to help in their considerations of their GCSE topics, and we are sure that by the end of the fortnight, they will have found new enthusiasms that they will want to pursue further.
The afternoon was taken up by a tour of Oxford, wandering round the cobbled streets and passageways, passing under the sweeping Bridge of Sighs and circumnavigating the impressive dome of the Radcliffe Camera. Students discussed the ins and outs of student life at Oxford, and considered –it is early, but perhaps there is never a time too soon to be thinking about it— the best universities to attend in order to get the fully British experience. Many students had a lot of questions for the guide and the counsellors, about the architecture, the history, or general life; Lucile, who is French but has already experienced another culture through living in New York, was especially curious and eager to learn new things.
In the evening, tired out after a lot of walking but bubbling with delight at having learnt so much, the students took part in a fun and warm-hearted quiz, before going happily to bed.