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Posted on 06 Oct 2016

Year 11s spend one week at Oxford University

Near the end of last academic year, an exciting opportunity was offered to a few classes in Year 11 to stay at the 2nd best university in the world. A programme created by students and post-graduates studying at Oxford themselves, ‘Universify’ allowed the select few plus 20 other 15 year olds across England to get a feel what it is like to study there, as well as experience the residence where people would be living and the hobbies and free-time activities that the 1,104 year old city has to offer. Out of the people who signed up, Amina Mohamud and I were the lucky two to pack our bags and head to the medieval city.

The Saxon-found city features large, open parks as well as tight corners that are very memorable throughout the diverse community. Speaking of diversity, I was honestly surprised to see such down-to-earth people from all kinds of backgrounds; nobody acted ‘posh’ or wore a velvet suit around town. This, along with the main street that accommodated every student’s needs and wants, made the area feel like a second home and the college like school (socially). Out of the 38 colleges that make up the university (don’t ask me why) we stayed at Somerville, with the addition of our own rooms. Even after only a few days I was happy to come back to my new room after a long day.

As you would expect, we learnt a lot from our time there. We learnt different perspectives on how people think as well as astrology and design, plus one of the lecturers based his entire lesson on plants he found abroad, which surprisingly was really interesting and funny. We didn’t give up a week of our summer just to sit in class though, as we went out to watch Suicide Squad, go punting (it’s like that romantic rowing you see in Italy), participate in quizzes and - 100% the best sport of all time – Croquet, which I found myself getting really, really heated over (don’t ask me why either).

Amina said that she “had a ton of fun and learnt a lot more about what university would be like as well as the courses offered”, while our new friend Kiran (Cranford Community College) said that she was “privileged to attend and happy to meet amazing people such as [us]”. Along with the dedicated mentoring programme that runs over the course of this year, the experience was engaging, helpful and, overall, awesome. Finally, thanks to Ms Davies for securing this opportunity for us.

By Anjum-Tahsin Hossain, Year 11

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