Adventures in Oxford

Life in Oxford

During my month stay in Oxford, I learned a lot about myself. This study abroad program allowed me to truly immerse myself in the rich culture that can be found in Oxford, offering once in a lifetime educational opportunities and experiences. Living just a short bus ride away from city center allowed for easy access to numerous restaurants, bakeries, shops, and unique bookstores. My personal favorite shop was the bookstore that only sold books under £5. I actually purchased my copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at this store, as it was one of the readings we covered in Professor Gomaa’s course, Literature of Place. Overall, Oxford is a beautiful and unique city with plenty to explore, and I look forward to sharing some of my journey!

One of the streets located in Oxford City Center

Oxford has many historical college campuses located in the area, and our class visited quite a few of them. Magdalen College was among my favorite college visits, as it is also home to Addison’s Walk, a rather scenic landscape made famous by C.S. Lewis. There were so many unique and beautiful plants throughout the walk, it was truly a surreal experience.

Image of Magdalen College
Image of Addison’s Walk

We also toured Christ Church College, famous for both its ties to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its appearances in the Harry Potter films. The grounds truly appeared to have come straight out of a storybook, and really does display how Oxford can bring fairytale magic to life through its beautiful, natural setting.

Images of Christ Church College

Exploring London

Since London is only about an hour an a half away from Oxford, we had two group excursions to the area. On our first trip to London, we went to see a play at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre. Before we went to the play, some of us decided to go see Big Ben. As we walked along the River Thames to get a better view of the famous clock tower, we passed by the London Eye, and stumbled upon an outdoor market selling books, records, and paintings.

Image of Big Ben
Image of the London Eye

I was not expecting Big Ben to be as impressive as it was. The closer you get to the tower, the clearer the beautiful and intricate gold details become!

On our second group trip to London, we visited the British Museum, where I got to see both the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon Sculptures.

Image of the Rosetta Stone
Image of a few of the Parthenon Sculptures

Seeing the Rosetta Stone was my personal highlight of this museum trip, as I have studied its importance in numerous courses so it was really cool to see it up close! It played a crucial role in assisting historians in translating Egyptian Hieroglyphics and the overall study of ancient civilizations, so I am very happy that I got to see this rather well-known piece of history in person.

The Parthenon was also very impressive, and it was interesting to learn about the dispute between England and Greece over the true ownership of the historical artifacts. Even though the sculptures had a significant amount of damage to them, they truly were a breathtaking sight.

I also made a third trip on my own to London, as I went with one of my friends to see the Churchill War Rooms and Buckingham Palace. Booking a train on our own was very straightforward and affordable, and it was very nice to get a chance to explore London on our own without time restrictions. The War Rooms were very educational and they had a larger amount of artifacts than either of us were expecting. It was overall a rather enriching experience, and we both found London to be a rather easy place to navigate on our own.

Image of Buckingham Palace
Image in Churchill War Room Museum

My Weekend in Bath

Though our class took a day trip to Bath to tour the Roman Baths, some of us decided to spend our free weekend further exploring the city. We simply took a train and spent two nights in Bath, allowing us to truly immerse ourselves in this beautiful area. There were so many street performers, and having beautiful music playing in the background simply added to the calming setting Bath offers. We spent the day walking around, and on our last day in Bath we laid out in the park and enjoyed the unexpected sunshine.

Image of the Roman Baths
Image of Pamela the Dog
Image of the Parade Gardens

Bath was probably one of my favorite locations that we visited, since it had that exciting city vibe while also being significantly less busy than some of the other cities that we visited. It was definitely a very relaxing final weekend in England.

A Month of Memories

Overall, my month in Oxford will forever be a time in my life that I will never forget. This was truly a unique and once in a lifetime experience, and I will always have a deep appreciation for the adventures and friendships this program offered me. I have learned so much in the short time I spent in England, and I can only hope to find another opportunity as enriching and exciting as this one.

Image from our last full day in Oxford. This depicts the Cheshire Cat statue located in Oxford Botanical Gardens.