Course: Broadening Horizons
Age: 16 years old
The counsellors were extremely friendly and were always keen to join in with the activities. Their approachable manner meant that if anyone ever did have a problem, they always had someone to confide in.
Studying at Oxford was a dream come true. To live and study like a university student enabled me to gain a valuable insight into what attending a prestigious university would be like.
During my time at Oxford, I studied Contemporary History, Journalism and Public Speaking and Debate. All of my teachers were very passionate about their subject and had bountiful knowledge to share. I had never studied any of the subjects before but after attending the programme, I feel significantly more knowledgeable and I am inspired to continue learning. The history course was particularly useful as it gave an introduction into the A level course, which I am starting in September. The class was very interactive, as we were asked to discuss the reason behind historical events, like the Cold War, with our peers. Also, we had to give a short presentation which helped us develop not only our historical knowledge, but also our team work.
Journalism was a very interesting class which I looked forward to each morning. As an aspiring writer, I found it useful to not only understand the basic laws of journalism but also the intricate rules and regulations journalists must abide by. The teacher’s enthusiasm was infectious; he always had so much wisdom to share, however he was still able to explain complicated concepts in a straightforward, succinct manner. A highlight of the course was definitely making a news broadcast, as we were able to experience a taster of live broadcasting and we had lots of fun in the process.
My afternoon workshop did not only benefit my education, but also my self-confidence. With little to none experience of speaking publicly, at first, I found the class a little daunting. However, after being forced out of my comfort zone, I began to feel very confident about speaking in front of others and could do so with ease. Family members and friends have commented on the evolution of my confidence in speaking, which I believe is due to Public Speaking and Debate class. My only minor critique of the workshop is that we only formally debated once. I would have liked to have debated more, rather than play, albeit useful, speaking games.
Although I was the sole student of British nationality, I was still able to develop culturally, from learning about the different lives my international friends live. Activities such as punting and ghost tours enabled my friends and I to create strong friendships very quickly. We were also taken to London for the afternoon, which was a very enjoyable experience, as we saw a West End show and explored the touristic sights. Although we had a heavy workload and intense classes, whenever we did have free time there were always multiple activities to sign up for. There truly was always an activity for every individual! The counsellors were also extremely friendly and were always keen to join in with the activities. Their approachable manner meant that if one ever did have a problem, they always had someone to confide in.
The friendships I have made are definitely long lasting. Although we came from all corners of the Earth, we all shared a passion for learning. The intensity of the two weeks strengthened our friendships, so we felt as though we had been friends for years, not a fortnight. Thankfully, through social media I am able to keep in contact with my friends and hopefully in the near future, we will meet up again.
In terms of location and accommodation, I have nothing to fault. Queen’s College is situated right on Oxford high street, so we never had to walk far to find a place to eat lunch. In fact, we were able to eat in a different a cafe nearly every day! Also, the girls’ accommodation was exceptional; the rooms were cleaned daily and every room had its own bathroom.My experience was truly unforgettable. I began the course feeling daunted, overwhelmed and alone, however I left the course with confidence, knowledge and amazing, international friends. I now feel encouraged to continue working hard at school so I can apply for a place at an exceptional university, such as the University of Oxford. My career plans are ambiguous, however after studying two essay-based subjects, I have concluded that I have a passion for writing and would like to study a humanity-based subject at university.
I look back at my time at Oxford with a grateful eye; I have made unforgettable memories and grown as a person.
“The Great Debate between Queen’s College and St Catherine’s was probably my favourite event due to the interesting topic that was discussed and the eager young minds who made it their mission to prove that their arguments were genuine and valuable.”
“ORA summer school was about learning and working hard, but it meant so much more. The people you knew there were special; the friends we made were special.”
“This summer school has taught me many things, including the basics of engineering, which will most definitely help me in my future – academically and professionally.”