Why I chose Oxbridge International Summer School
My name is Caitlyn and last year I studied at the Oxbridge International Summer School.
I want to share my experience to give an idea what to expect. My blog focuses on why you should chose Oxbridge International for your Summer School experience!
I have always wanted to attend university, for as long as I can remember, however I always deemed Oxbridge far out of my reach. But in year 12, an opportunity to apply to a two-week politics summer school came my
way, and I know I would have hugely regretted it had I not applied. I applied blindly, not expecting much, still holding the view that I wasn’t an ‘Oxbridge type of person’, but despite these preconceptions I was lucky
enough to be chosen to attend this course, and it turned out to be the most incredible experience.
Why I chose Oxbridge International
From the moment I arrived in Oxford, my preconceptions about not fitting in were gone. I was made to feel so welcome, with the programme managers showing you to your room and letting you settle in. I won’t pretend like I wasn’t nervous, spending two weeks in such a prestigious place with people you don’t know is obviously nerve-racking, but the welcome from the staff really put you at ease straight away.
I study politics at A Level, so choosing this subject on the summer school was an obvious choice for me, yet it still managed to exceed my expectations. My tutor was an expert in the European Union, so many of my lectures were based on this topical issue. It is fair to say my knowledge on these topics prior to my lectures was limited, and being taught by an Oxford PHD student was daunting to say the least. The summer school aimed to mirror the experiences of real Oxford students, so the tutorials consisted of the tutor and only one or two students, so there really was nowhere to hide! But regardless of this, the tutorials were so rewarding, totally noncompetitive and allowed us to really understand the subject. I learnt more about the European Union in two weeks than I thought possible!
A typical Day on the Summer School
The typical structure of the day involved an 8am rise for breakfast, followed by an intense morning of our subject lectures. We then had an hour free time to go and buy lunch in Oxford, the best time to explore the city and spend time with the other students. After lunch, we had independent study time to work on our final essays or prior reading, and if you were lucky and finished early, even more time to explore the city! Before dinner, we typically had a seminar or workshop, for example interview skills or creative writing workshops. After dinner usually included optional activities, such as ping-pong tournaments, a treasure hunt and movie nights. These activities were a welcomed relaxation after an exhausting and stimulating day of academics!
A main part of the course was our final essays, and it’s fair to say nobody likes writing essays, but receiving one-one advice on how to write and structure essays that are ‘Oxbridge’ standard is advice no one should pass up. During my course I was required to write two essays, and I think my tutors would agree, my first one wasn’t anything special! But after receiving constructive feedback on the structure and coherency of my work, I was able to put this into practice in my next piece, which you’ll be pleased to know received a better grade!
The other side of the summer school
The activities and experiences that were on offer during the Summer School were as valuable as the academic lectures. From debating in the prestigious Oxford Union to invaluable workshops on a range of different topics, these experiences made this Summer School such an incredible opportunity. As well as living and studying in Oxford, we were also taken on a day trip Cambridge, where were shown around the colleges and taken punting along the River Cam. This day trip made me fall in love with the city of Cambridge and solidified my decision to apply here, much to the dismay of the Oxford-educated tutors!
While the academics of the Oxbridge Summer School was so important, for me personally, the friendships I was able to make made this experience so valuable. This Summer School placed people from different corners of the globe in one environment. The schedule of the course really allowed us to get to know each other, with team games and activities being a huge part of the programme. The friends I made have lasted far beyond the two weeks we spent in Oxford, and I know that they will last far longer still
Anyone considering applying for this scheme, I urge you to do it, as you will undoubtedly have the most incredible experience. I loved every day on the summer school and I know it helped me with my studies and my university application!