One of our 2010 Summer Scholars, Veronika from Belarus, writes about her experiences of Oxford Royale Academy's New Perspectives course:
"I’ve stayed in Oxford with ORA for four weeks. First what I can say, that it is not just a place where you come, stay and forget after the course. Just the opposite! You come, stay, make not only friends, but relationships like in a family, cry during the Graduation night and then find all your friends on facebook or e-mail. And I myself couldn’t realize that all this experience is now just a memory.
What can you do there?
Firstly: enjoy your holidays, as you have free time to go around the city, various activities. I did aerobics, punting and drumming, watched football and films in the Odeon cinema, saw live plays: The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet, and participated in a talent show at St. Catherine’s college, parties with games, Karaoke night at a club, fencing, a silent disco, a fancy dress party with disco and card games, drinking tea with cookies, and many more!
Secondly: go to different places and excursions, including Oxford and its Botanic Gardens, where you can find rice, bananas and coffee; Windsor Castle (and having meal in this city in a restaurant); London (Hyde Park, Madame Tussauds, Natural History Museum, The White Tower, The Globe Theatre); Blenheim Palace, which became my favorite because of its gardens and being poetic; Hampton Court Palace; Stonehenge and Bath with its museums; the Ashmolean Museum, which was really worth going to, as it is the biggest in Britain; Science Museum.
Thirdly: study!!! But it is not like at school where you learn by heart. Here you analyze and learn really interesting things, which, I am sure, will help in future. So, during the first two weeks I took a course of Economics and Math, Leadership and Teambuilding. I did really love every lesson: economics was all new for me, but with our teacher I understood everything, Math course was a great review of the topics; on our workshop we had great fun, talking, discussing and playing. Next two weeks I had Politics and British History, Public Speaking and Debates. I realized that history and society are great themes to study, and probably in the future I will become a historian due to the inspiration, given to me by our first-class teacher Dr Stella Moss.
Fourthly: or, probably firstly also: make friends. You talk to new people, find out interesting things about their culture, you can not only improve your English, but also other languages by talking to native speakers. All the children are very talented, so I think I will see some of them being famous on TV, and then I will be proud that I was a friend of, for example, a future president of America. But there are not only people from all over Europe, but also from Asia, America, Africa, so if you are from these parts of the world, don’t be afraid: you won’t be alone!
And, by the way, you won’t be alone, as there are many counsellors, who are friendly and great to talk to. Some children said that there is too much control over them, but I don’t think so, as you are an individual, you do feel safe, protected and in the end you realize that the staff are like your parents or elder sisters and brothers who want you to have much fun.
I guess I will never forget this place, people and feelings in my life, and I am sure, when I grow old, I will tell stories about Oxford to my children and grandchildren!"
Passawuth, from Thailand, and Guilia, both Scholars on Oxford Royale Academy's New Perspectives Course review their summer programme in Oxford.
Oxford Royale Academy was the best summer of my life; this is not an exaggeration as it really made my dreams come true. I doubt if there will be another wonderful opportunity like this at all: a course combining academic, cultural, social and historical aspects of life all-in-one.
First of all, the classes were superb and enriching. I opted for history & politics, and psychology & creative writing; and was privileged enough to study with actual University of Oxford tutors. The classes were made lively by having us students engage in discussions and presentations, as well as sharing work. From this, we got to learn about each other’s culture and how their countries work, especially in history & politics. Field trips to related places such as St John’s College Library and Pitt Rivers Museum really helped. We also got to learn about the British culture, as an extension, in history class.
Furthermore, the tutors also gave us advice if we want to study in that field in the future. Now I have made solid decisions for each subject in the future. Accordingly, it will be easier for me to choose my upcoming GCSEs and A-levels.
In addition, the workshops were fun and very useful in our everyday lives. I opted for debating, and leadership & teambuilding. The teachers led us through various of interesting activities, especially in debating where we got to debate properly. Leadership taught me about vital social skills. They were really practical and beneficial.
Up to this point, any academic course would have been perfect following what I mentioned. However, ORA also had diverse choices of activities, which made it so memorable and worthwhile. To begin with, activities were golden opportunities for us students to interact with each other and get to know each other better. I made many new friends through interesting activities myself. To name a few: fencing, punting, real tennis (grandfather of today tennis, badminton and squash!), botanical garden, Christ Church College (where Harry Potter was filmed), Shakespeare’s plays, talent show, fancy dress night and disco. They were very interesting, some I had never even heard of before. We received both cultural knowledge and entertainment.
The excursions were marvellous. We went to every tourist attraction I wanted to go: Hampton Court Palace, Blenheim Palace (Churchill’s birthplace), Madame Tussaud’s, Natural History Museum, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Tower of London, Stonehenge and Bath (where the Roman Baths are located). I had so much fun with my friends and appreciated the British history and culture.
The most remarkable and unforgettable thing, however, is not the classes nor activities nor excursions in itself, but the opportunities for us to socialise with friends from all around the world. The countries ranged from Venezuela, Canada, South Africa, Ukraine, Lebanon to Japan! You study with them, talk to them on the bus, sing and dance, watch Romeo and Juliet with them, go the museum with them, do work with them and have fun with them! I myself sent postcards to 3 continents of the world afterwards. Everyone was so talented and energetic, I assure you you will definitely make friends and enjoy yourself!
We got accommodation inside an Oxford University college which inspired us to learn and gave us a taste of university life. I got to taste the food from around the world, some I’ve never known before! The counsellors were nice and friendly. Our safety was taken as first priority, no matter what. On Sundays, our nice course director also took us to the church if we wanted to.
In conclusion, summer at ORA was amazing. My dream to live in Oxford, the ‘city of spires’, came true. My dream to socialise with friends around the world and learned each other’s culture also came true. I doubt if any future experience can replace my wonderful experience at Oxford.
Oxford Royale Academy was special from the very beginning. I had gone online in January hoping to find a summer camp that was both academically challenging as well as fun. Unfortunately, many of the places my friends had suggested were for 16 years old and above. I kept on looking, clicking, Googling until I found Oxford Royale Academy, the one website that clearly illustrated the programme and had one for my age group too! I looked through the courses and found one that synthesized two of the subjects I enjoy most, Mathematics and Economics. Though I had not done any Economics I had eagerly read several introductory books and wanted to know more. In addition, when I realized that one of the workshops was Public Speaking and Debate, I knew that this camp would have definitely fulfilled my requirements. I was really lucky to be awarded the scholarship that enabled me to attend and meet so many great people from all over the world.
I arrived, registered, attended the speech that welcomed new students and settled into my new room, introduced myself to several of my peers. When the first assembly took place in the marquee, that same day, I thought many of the things being said could not apply to all: make new friends, be tired, get to know the whole area, walk around the whole city of Oxford at least 3 times…I convinced myself that someone at camp, anyone, wouldn’t have felt all these things. I was wrong. As much as we all differed, each with our own personality, when graduation came up no one could deny any of those things.
The classes were not only a chance to learn advanced methods and concepts from actual Oxford University tutors, but also a way to bond, to communicate, to learn. We did oral and written work and this variety allowed for each one of us to show their talents and to improve. Both classes and workshops provided us with an individual feedback at the end of the day.
Activities can be summed up with one word: special. They ranged from Tennis to seeing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the magical square of the Bodleian Library. I also loved watching Romeo and Juliet being acted out in Oxford University's Said Business School, and freezing under the moonlight, clutching the blanket we had rented was the best part, seriously. There are times when you grow tired, tired of waking up early in the morning and sleeping late at night. Trust me, these are the moments you will remember the most, the ones you will hold on to because they shaped your experience in the city of spires.
Learning to appreciate the surroundings of the college, the small area of the city with its incredible amount of historical, educational and recreational facilities is wonderful, but being able to attend such a wonderful camp is priceless.