Oxford university visit for year 11

A fantastic experience: Thomas 11T reports on Year 11's inspirational trip to Oxford University

As we clambered onto the coach at half past six in the morning, I reflected on the fact that no group of teenagers is ever normally awake at this time in the morning, and the teachers hadn’t even had the chance to get a coffee.

But there was, in fact, a very good reason for all this: we were off to Oxford University to visit the colleges and facilities.

After a journey broken up by a much-needed refreshment stop at the Motorway services, ​​​we finally arrived in Oxford at 11 a.m, and met our fantastic tour guide, Edith, who directed us around the hustle and bustle of Oxford. We were immediately whisked off to Corpus Christi in the midst of the rain, which some of us had prepared for better than others. No prizes for guessing that I was the unprepared one!

Within Corpus Christi, we briefly walked around the site before getting straight into a taster lecture, focusing on primary source analysis based on the history of South Africa. With info learnt and a new experience of University taken, we then stopped off for lunch in the dining hall. All sorts of exotic meals were served up: tortellini, Lentil Wellington, and even swordfish. Since I have a mild and unadventurous palate though, I went for the roast chicken, which was, in fairness, very good.

Next up, we took a look around the college, exploring areas such as the upper terrace and chapel, which even the persistent pouring rain couldn't spoil.

Afterwards, we got the opportunity to ask a few questions about life at Corpus Christi and the University in general. This marked the end of our time at Corpus Christi, and then it was on to Keble College, which is significantly larger and affectionately (or not) dubbed ‘the lasagna’, based on its layered Victorian architecture.

Next, we were taken on a guided tour around the building, along the way encountering possibly the most 1970s building in the world, with the bar, the longest dining area of the Oxford Colleges, and the tallest chapel of them all, which was achieved by digging the starting point to be lower, because rich Victorians were incredibly petty about that sort of thing.

Finally, we headed onto the streets and discovered some of the other aspects of Oxford. These included one of the UK’s only Bodleian libraries, meaning it has every book produced in history, which we had a quick look inside before we were let loose to explore the area.

It was then time to hop onto the coach and leave Oxford, though perhaps not forever for everyone.

This was a very energy-intensive day indeed, and I say that as someone whose personality is kind of low energy. I’m about an hour from home as I write this, and I think I speak for everyone on the coach when I say that after everything we did today, I’m looking forward now to collapsing onto my sofa. Who knows, maybe University Challenge will be on?

But the whole day and trip was worth it, for a fantastic experience and an early indication of what university will be like.

Finally, a huge thank you to our Head of Year Miss Smith, Miss James, our hosts at Oxford and everyone who made this trip possible.

Report & photographs by Thomas 11T