When thinking about my summer at Oxford, a smile always comes to my face. I don't want to use clichés, but I'm afraid I will this time, because with Summerfuel I indeed had the best summer of my life.
But not only that, I learned more than words can express, personally and academically. Whatever course you decide to take, I guarantee that you will be taught by the best teachers you could imagine; I never met anyone who wasn't completely satisfied with their classes. I took Creative Writing in the morning and Oxford Authors in the afternoon, two great options if you are interested in literature. From my experience, the lessons were never boring, for there was always a place to visit, a song to listen or even a guest speaker that was related to the course material and that, more than guide us through a lesson plan, inspired us to write the best pieces we could or understand the novels from an unseen aspect. Oxford is a magical place, full of history and beauty, and the teachers know that, which is why they will never hesitate in taking you around town for a truly educational and stimulating experience. Besides, they are friendly and always available, and so knowledgeable you might even want to stay quite and just hear them speak.
One of my favorite parts of the program is the freedom we are given. Every single day we had hours in which we could walk around Oxford and discover what we may not have seen before, trying restaurants, visiting shops and museum, or just enjoying a pic nic in the park. The town is so safe, that even though I was in a new place I never worried about my adventures. In the additional weekend trips to London, Bath, Broughton Castle, and Belheim Palace, we were granted large amounts of time for independent exploration as long as we were with one or more friends. But in case we didn't find anything to do (unlikely anyway) the RAs organized activities every single day in our free hours, from movie nights, to going ice skating, or even dancing at a local club during a night for minors! They offered so many activities that I couldn't do them all!!! The additional trips, like going to the theatre in West End and the London Bike tour, were opportunities that completed my stay and allowed me to do things I couldn't have done anywhere else.The weekly seminars expanded my knowledge in topics that went further than my lessons, and the first-hand advice and experience of the staff never made me doubt my safety.
Overall, this was one, if not the best experience of my life. And even though the places I visited and the classes I took were extraordinary, nothing compares to the people I met. Nowhere else would I have been able to talk for hours about books or poems, or about music or the Chinese language. The people that attend the Summerfuel Oxford program have a passion so deep and wonderful for something, that led them to travel to another country (and most of the time also continent) to study it and live it, and none of them hesitate to share it. Suddenly, I saw myself immersed in a wonderful universe where I learned more about myself and the world by talking to people, than by reading a textbook. The RAs are young and loving people that know more than you would think of, come from places you have never heard of, and do everything in their hands to make you feel at home, creating a family for you and your floor mates.I never thought I could get so close to so many people in such a short period of time.
Like many, I cried when I left, because it is an undeniable truth that Lady Margaret Hall, and Oxford, became my home.