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What a student learned from attending our summer school 

26th April, 2019

Three students studying hard at our summer school in Oxford

Over the last few years, hundreds of motivated students from across the globe have attended the Oxbridge International Summer School.

Many apply so they can explore their favourite subject in more depth with our expert tutors, while others want to spend a few weeks in the summer learning about a subject they have not had the chance to study at school, but may wish to pursue at university and beyond, like Coding or Law!

Here one previous summer school student, Chris, shares the most valuable lessons he gained from attending the summer school.

Chris (Psychology, 2018)

I chose to apply for the summer school because it offered me the opportunity to study psychology in the beautiful and famous city of Oxford in the summer. I decided to apply for the course so I could understand whether I would want to pursue psychology at university and potentially as a future career.

These are the top 4 things I learned from my time on the summer school

1. Oxford is a magical place to study

Simply put, studying in the ‘city of the dreaming spires’ with its beautiful architecture, green quads and impressive libraries is every academic person’s dream.

On the summer school, we were based at an annex of Lincoln College in central Oxford. We slept, had meals and studied in the same facilities as actual Oxford University students. We were also taught by tutors who were undertaking postgraduate study at either Oxford or Cambridge University. It was an amazing experience to converse with people who were so interested and expert in the subjects they taught.

Alongside studying, dining in Oxford colleges for supper, exploring the city centre and punting along the river Cherwell put me in the shoes of a real Oxford student!  

The historic university city of Oxford in the summer sun
A student calculates mathematical formulas

2. The teaching was a taster to university academics  

The teaching format of seminars and one-on-one tutorials was very different to the structure at school. Rather than being instructed from the front of a classroom, the teaching was more of a discussion and debate. The reading was far more challenging and thought-provoking than the homework I do for school; the seminars were a chance to scrutinise what I had read and wrote in my essays and learn from my peers as well as tutor.

My tutor was extremely engaging. He largely taught us about his area of research which was the way humans trust each other and interact in groups, which was fascinating and has further ignited my passion for psychology.

We were not set typical homework, but assigned reading and several essays to write. There was no real punishment for not completing the work, but it was evident that it was up to you how much reading and time you spent on your essay! This freedom was refreshing and made me feel even more engaged with my work as enriching my knowledge further.  

3. University is about more than studying

On the summer school, alongside teaching we had the opportunity to explore Oxford, engage in various activities, and socialise! We were given the freedom to wander around Oxford at lunchtime and buy our own food, which was a great way to get to know other students and try the amazing sandwich places in the city.

From playing sports and other games in the beautiful University Parks to punting on a sunny afternoon, we did so many other fun things to balance the rigorous study.

My top highlight is learning how to debate in the Oxford Union debating chamber. Many students at the university are members, engaging in debates and attending talks, and many previous UK Prime Ministers have honed their debating skills in the same chamber!

A summer school student debating at the famous Oxford Union
International summer school students socializing together on a tour of Oxford

4. Building friendships with like-minded people from across the globe

I honestly never thought I would make such strong friendships with people from all over the world! Living, studying and socialising with a group of similarly motivated students means you get to know everyone really well in a short space of time and can’t help but become friends. I found that everyone was interested in their chosen course and we would often have interesting discussions about our subjects which is less common at school.

Although it was initially difficult being in a new place surrounded by complete strangers, everyone was friendly and friendships formed as early as the first day!

I am still in touch with a lot of the friends I made on the summer school, but the experience I’ve had has made me even more excited to go to university and confident in meeting new people with similar interests.  

Above all, the summer school has given me confidence, a confirmed interest in psychology and lifelong friends. If you are hesitant about applying for the summer school, just do it! There are few opportunities to study in a city as beautiful and renowned as Oxford in the summer and experience life as a university student before becoming one yourself!

You can apply for the 2019 summer school by clicking below.

Apply now