Weird and wonderful creatures (and that’s just the students) | Oxford Royale Summer Schools

A girl takes a picture of the Oxford skyline on her mobile phone.

There were Insight Masterclasses at Queen’s, Catz and St Hugh’s ―these saw students cuddle up to not-so-creepy (as students found) crawlies such as Alexa the iguana, Tobin the lizard, and Sirius Black the scorpion. Milkshake the milk snake also came along, and thrilled students by tying herself into an almost impossible knot before nonchalantly setting herself free in a style reminiscent of an Olympic gymnast.
Students in Catz answered the call of the stock market in an interactive trading floor simulation run by Innovative Enterprise ―which is, in turn, run by Andrew Bernard, one of our inspirational ORACLE speakers. Over in Queen’s, students assumed the role of a CSI expert, examining evidence within a carefully constructed crime scene in order to reveal the culprit! In both St Hugh’s and Queen’s, students explored different modes of movement (one student even making use of his Nike sliders to protect his hands for makeshift paws), and were challenged to improvise increasingly wild and abstract scenes (what exactly would a tooth get up to, or say, on Mars?) in Theatrical Performance masterclasses.
When students weren’t gaining insight on campus, there were gathering it around the city of Oxford. Whilst students from Queen’s marvelled at the view over Oxford’s famous dreaming spires from the top of the University Church, those in Yarnton Manor found a particular favourite in the Radcliffe Camera (or Rad Cam, for those in the know), which, as England’s first ever circular library, is quite a thing to behold ―imaginations were also captured when students learned of the underground passageway that links the Rad Cam with the main Bodleian Library.
Then it was off to London for Yarnton Manor’s Engineering Preparation students, as they embarked on an academic excursion that took them to such gems of the scientific cultural scene as the Science Museum ―because where else would one find an automaton monk from the 16th century― and the Institution of Civil Engineers (which boasts a magnificent Great Hall that inspired alike the producers of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, In the Loop, and Fast and Furious 6).
Students also had the opportunity to visit Imperial College London, a leading university specialising in scientific research and learning; a current student of the university led a guided tour of the campus and answered burning questions about applications, life at university, and the reality of learning at Imperial. All questions were met with thoroughly inspiring and assuring answers for our budding engineers!

All A-ok in the Peter’s punt

St Peter’s students played host to a veritable menagerie of furry and flighted friends, holding and being lightly pecked by owls, hawks, and bald eagles, and later facing their fears in the company of Animal Man’s snakes, scorpions and tarantulas.
Last but not least, our young friends in St Mary’s Ascot channelled their inner witches and wizards on the Harry Potter tour of Warner Bros. Studios. Even the drizzly weather could not dampen spirits (or whatever else might have been lurking in the Forbidden Forest).
Images: ORA