My First Week in Oxford
6th August 2019
My name is Kais Adhar. I'm a 15-year-old Tunisian teenager and a Coding student at the Oxbridge International Summer School during these last 2 weeks. I got here by winning a Goodwall Scholarship that allowed me to participate in this program.
In this blog, I talk about my first week at the summer school. Hopefully by outlining all the exciting activities here, I will encourage you to apply!
Upon my arrival in Oxford, I felt the greatness of this place. This was heightened by the style of the buildings that gave a sense of travelling back in time.
Despite being the earliest class among all the others, I didn’t find any problem waking up and preparing myself for my course.
On the first day of the classes, I was a bit nervous since I was going to study not only in a new place, but at a new level and with a class size of 2 students! Our tutor, Abhi, was very welcoming and gave us an overview of the program and many tips that helped us during the course. The atmosphere was intense and fast-paced; we were going to learn so many new things and the new programming language “C” in just 2 weeks.
Lunch and free time
After finishing our classes, we are allowed to have some free time for about 3 hours. This free time is very precious and I did my best to use it to discover the city of Oxford and all famous colleges, churches, parks…
This free time also helped me to make friends, as I was able to go out with them sometimes and have lunch together. Of course, nobody visits Oxford without buying an Oxford sweater which is the first thing I did when I arrived in this city. There are many shops and places where you can relax, study and do what you want to enjoy your time here.
Your free time isn’t just for relaxation and play. During your summer school you will have to do your homework, whether that is an essay, exercises, codes etc. This will show your tutor how good you are and enable you to learn more about your course, which in my case was Coding, I had to make solve, understand and write codes each day.
Now for the most interesting part that will entertain you the most...
During Oxbridge International Summer School, we do a lot of exciting activities every day.
On the first day of our arrival, we didn’t have classes and we did some icebreaking activities to get to know each other and have fun. This activity was full of games and despite the fact that we were only meeting each other for the first time, we got along with each other very quickly which is something I am really happy with. I also knew about nearly everyone (nationalities, courses, age…) which are things I feel you need to know about your friends before spending a whole 2 weeks with them.
We also had a tour in Oxford with one of our staff, Dann, who studied English in Oxford for 4 years and specifically in Christ Church College. We went through Oxford visiting the church, Lincoln College, Botanical Gardens and more. We also learned about the general rules of the colleges.
In addition to that, we had a very wonderful debating workshop in the Oxford Union, only where every great debate takes place. We were divided into groups and started preparing for our debates by researching. We had a lot of topics such as veganism, online privacy and nano technology. It was an amazing sensation to debate in front of an audience in a place with such great history.
There was one activity that took a whole day and that I really enjoyed it: the trip to Cambridge. This one was the longest activity. We went to Cambridge and there, with the guidance of Tian, a medicine student who studied in Cambridge, and Lee, a politics student from Cambridge, we were shown the different colleges and chapels in Cambridge. We also got to go punting in the River Cam, the river which Cambridge was named after, and we were told the history of every Cambridge building. We had lunch in one of the College's cafeterias. After this we went to the Art Museum.
On one of the days, we had to choose between playing games or learning Latin. I chose learning Latin because it is something new for me and I wanted to learn as much as possible in Oxford. We studied Latin with Charlie who is studying Classics at Oxford.
In short this week was full of surprises and activities that made me forget that I am in a different country. Making new friends made me feel comfortable without being stressed or afraid. The service was awesome and the atmosphere was great. The deep and impressive history of the place makes me want to visit again and again. The staff are all really nice, making the summer school the best experience of my life.
I recommend you apply for the summer school. It is a once in a lifetime experience, and one which I don't think I will ever forget!