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Student at ORA's Oxford Summer School, 2019

  • Course type

    Course: Broadening Horizons

  • Location

    From: Trinidad and Tobago

  • Age

    Age: 17 years old

Highlights from Danae’s experience

  • Enjoyed discussions and debates topics with multicultural friends and seeing things from multiple perspectives
  • Won an ORA scholarship to study Politics & International Relations and Experimental Psychology in Oxford
  • Confirmed her desire to study Politics at university in the future

“One benefit of a programme of this kind is the diversity and the fact that the students came from many different countries. In my opinion, that made discussions and debates more dynamic, as it wasn’t biased and we almost always saw multiple sides to the same story.”

I live on an island in the Caribbean, which most people have never even heard of. Every time I’d met someone new, I’d have to explain the location of my country. As you can expect, there isn’t an abundance of academic opportunities to engage in apart from those offered at your school. Because of this, I really appreciated the two weeks I spent on the course this summer, especially getting the chance to live in Lady Margaret Hall, and enjoy experiences apart from the academics. 

I did the Broadening Horizons course, and my chosen classes were Politics & International Relations, Experimental Psychology, and the Global Issues Seminar. I chose those specifically because politics and current affairs interest me, and I now intend to pursue a degree in politics; I chose psychology because it always intrigued me, but I didn’t want to pursue it at university. 

The quality of teaching was excellent, and the content of the courses themselves were interesting. The topics covered are usually not covered by a traditional secondary school syllabus. Classes often included the discussion of current affairs and pertinent global issues. I really appreciated the opportunity to expand my worldview and develop my existing knowledge on certain topics, as well as change my opinions on certain issues. One benefit of a program of this kind is the diversity and the fact that students came from many different countries. In my opinion, that made discussions and debates more dynamic as it wasn’t biased and we almost always saw multiple sides to the same story. 

I personally found the Global Issues Seminar to be the most engaging as I’m already interested in politics. Learning about political theory, philosophy, and different schools of thought helped me to build on what I already knew, and allowed me to better understand how the world works, which I found useful considering the current global political landscape. However, my most unusual and entertaining assignment was to create a psychological experiment, within reason of course, carry it out, and write a report on it. 

Apart from academics, there were endless activities scheduled. On the second day I took a masterclass on computer coding doing simple projects, and even making a game at the end. I also went punting, which proved to be difficult, but an enjoyable challenge and invaluable experience nonetheless, attended a tea party at one of the other campuses, and participated in a debate. There were countless other activities, more than I can remember, like subject specific discussions, movie nights, arts and crafts, sports competitions, and workshops. One workshop which was particularly helpful was on writing a personal statement and preparing for university interviews. 

In the middle of the second week we had an outing to see a musical in London, “A Comedy About a Bank Robbery”, which I can honestly say was the funniest play I have ever seen and easily one of the highlights of the two weeks. 

Staying in a university with as much history as Oxford was an experience in and of itself, and predictably offers up a lot to be done in your free time. As someone who likes history, I found myself visiting the museums and other historical sites, including the Oxford Castle. I also visited the Covered Market, Sheldonian Theatre, and the Bodleian Library. However, I most enjoyed visiting the colleges. Seeing each college firsthand, and learning about the history of the colleges, was awe inspiring. I also got the opportunity to visit the cloisters in New College where some scenes from Harry Potter were filmed. 

Before attending the course, I had a few ideas of what degree I wanted to pursue, but no concrete plans. Now, I am sure I want to pursue a degree in politics and perhaps philosophy. The classes played a huge role in that, exposing me to the material I would have to study made me fall absolutely in love with the subject. I would never have been able to make this decision and figure out what I’m truly passionate about if I hadn’t attended the course. Staying in Oxford and visiting the colleges and sites, as well as all the talks given by past or current students, also provided me with advice on choosing courses, as well as going through the application process in general. 

The academic work not only equipped me with knowledge on the topics covered in classes, but inspired me to continue reading and engaging with material on the topics which I found especially interesting. All of the activities provided invaluable cultural experiences, as well as exploring the city. Meeting new people from all over the world resulted in many interesting conversations as well as amazing friends who I am still in touch with today. Overall, the two weeks spent with Oxford Royale Academy this summer have proved to be an incomparable experience which I will cherish forever.”

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