What To Do in Oxford as a Graduate Student

September 2, 2013

In the Classroom in Oxford

Matriculation in Oxford England - what to do in Oxford

Matriculation in Oxford England – what to do in Oxford

I spent a year in Oxford studying in Oxford University for my MBA. I ended up going there by chance. I put together a trial application out of boredom and I got accepted. First I resisted the idea of moving to Oxford and living in a small city, but in the end, I fell in love with Oxford and I was heartbroken when I had to leave. The year consisted of three terms. We had to study really hard, but we also had lots of fun. Everyone enrolled into one of the 38 colleges of Oxford University because of the collegiate system. First, I thought Oxford was all about studying for a year, but soon I found out what to do in Oxford in my spare time. Oxford had lots of fun things to do, parties, balls, speeches by famous people. It was an amazing experience to spend a year in Oxford as a student.

Dining Hall od Balliol College, what to do in Oxford England

Dining Hall od Balliol College, what to do in Oxford England

What to Do in Oxford as a Graduate Student

I joined St Hugh’s College. Not only because it was a beautiful college with a huge garden, but also because it was a feminist college. It used to be an all girl college. The revolutionary Burmese Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi also went to this college. She won the Nobel Piece Prize because of her fight for Burma. George Clooney’s wife was another alumnus of the college. Even though the work load was massive and often times it was stressful to be a student again, being in Oxford made it all so special. We were in a very exciting academic bubble. It felt like time stopped and we flew back in time a couple of hundreds of years. We spent our days biking around Oxford. Sometimes in the heavy rain. On sunny days, we would go punting with classmates on the river or hang out by the lake of Wooster College.

Punting, what to do In Oxford England

Punting, what to do in Oxford England

The Oxford Union

I loved being in Oxford. Every week you could see different lecturers at the Oxford Union, such as Korean singer PSY or the guitarist of the rock band the Queen, Brian May.

Brian May at The Oxford Union, what to do in Oxford

Brian May at The Oxford Union, what to do in Oxford

The great thing about Oxford is that you can learn a wide variety of subjects from some of the greatest minds of the World. For a term I audited Nutritional Anthropology. It was not only great, because the professor was a leading expert of the subject, but also because the lectures were held in the Natural History Museum of Oxford. Every Friday, I would walk across this spectacular museum that was full of interesting skeletons and animals and rocks. The building itself was stunning.

Natural History Museum- what to do in Oxford

Natural History Museum – what to do in Oxford

At one point in November, Prince Charles came to our school to formally open the new wing of the school with the founder of the school Wafic Said. It was a very special day for us all to meet him. He told us that he could have never been able to attend Oxford University, because he did not think he was smart enough to get in.

Prince Charles at Oxford University

Prince Charles at Oxford University

One of the highlights of Oxford was that students would invite each other to their colleges for formal dinners and we had a chance to dine in hundreds of year old dining rooms in different colleges. One of the best formal dinners was a Christmas Dinner at Christ Church College, in the dining room that you may have seen in the movie Harry Potter. After a delicious four course dinner, we continued the party in former room of Einstein that serves as a common room these days. They served the usual port, cheese and crackers. Many students would get really wasted after formal dinners. It was funny to see these posh kids getting really drunk after dinners.

Christmas Dinner At Christ Church College - what to do in Oxford

Christmas Dinner At Christ Church College – what to do in Oxford

Balls of Oxford

College balls were popular entertainment for students at the university. It was the most surreal thing, because the whole thing was like a big college party on the garden of a college, except that everyone was dressed up in long robes. They set up a huge tent in the garden of the college and a band was playing. People were walking around the garden drinking champagne from a plastic glass. One of my classmates invited me to Brasenose Ball.

Brasenose Ball, Oxford England

Brasenose Ball, Oxford England

It was fun, especially because Brasenose is such a beautiful college. It prides itself for its many famous alumni such as David Cameron. Brasenose is also famous for being a party college.

Chapel of Exeter College, Oxford England

Chapel of Exeter College, Oxford England

Costume Parties of Oxford England

In Oxford, students attend different college bops every weekend. Bops are costume parties. The colleges decide about a theme and all the students dress up. These are great fun for the students. I remember the first one I ever attended was at St-Hugh’s and the theme was Rubik cube. Everyone was wearing the colors of the Rubik cube. Some more creative people stuck a big Rubik cube on their heads. They looked hilarious. Another good one was a toga party in Christ Church College. People were running around with a white sheet wrapped around them bare feet in the rain in the garden of Christ Church. Another very popular bop was the Sexy SubFusc. It took place on our matriculation day at Linacre College. Everyone would wear some sexy lingerie and the formal university attire the subfusc on top. The party was wicked. On the Night of Halloween people would line up for hours at St Anthony’s College to get into the HalloQueen party. Everyone cross dressed for the party. It was mad.

Ready for the Bop in Oxford England

Ready for the Bop in Oxford England

Exeter College, Dining Hall, Oxford England

Exeter College, Dining Hall, Oxford England

The Pubs of Oxford

Oxford is famous for its old and historical pubs. We spent many fun nights at these pubs. Most of them are hundreds of years old pubs. Such a pub was the Bear that was founded in 1242. It was older than any of the colleges. The ceiling of the pub was really low. Other famous pubs were the Eagle and Child and the Lamb and Flag. They were each hundreds of years old. Lamb and Flag became famous, because famous authors like C.S. Lewis the author of Chronicles of Narnia spent time writing and socializing here. Eagle and Child also hosted many creative minds such as Tolkien, the author of Lord of the Rings.

 I spent a very special year in Oxford and I will always be grateful for the privilege to have spent a year in this wonderful city.

 

 

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About Barbara

Barbara is a London based luxury travel and lifestyle blogger. She started traveling through Paris, London, New York, Milan, Tokyo at the age of 17 to conquer the World as a model. Ever since, she has visited 67 countries. She writes about the most exclusive jet-set destinations such as Cannes, Venice Film Festivals, Monaco Grand Prix, Oscar Parties in LA, Fashion Weeks in Milan or Paris as well as yacht parties in St-Tropez, Miami Art Basel, Biennale in Venice, Frieze in London or the Royal Wedding in Monaco.

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  • Fun fact, from the cast of the Lord Of The Rings movies Christopher Lee -playing Saruman- was the only one who had ever met Tolkien in person, a long time ago of course. And they met in the Eagle and Child pub that you mention.

    • Barb

      That’s really cool to know. Thanks for the info. I can see you are a fan of the movie…

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