Stories from our international boarding schools

EF Academy Oxford year two students tour Oxford Colleges

Last Saturday, Michael, one of the Assistant Heads, used his Oxford alumni card (which permits a very limited number of guests) to take a small group of us on a personalized tour around several of the oldest Oxford Colleges. The medieval and later architecture of the university buildings was stunning – all grimacing gargoyles, carved stone arches, and quadrangles: a Harry Potter fan’s dream. We visited several colleges including St. Edmund Hall (founded 1278), The Queen’s College (founded 1341), Corpus Christi College (founded 1517), and Balliol College (founded 1263).

Whilst undertaking the tour, Michael was able to tell us stories about university life, including his spell as a Junior Dean in his college where he was able to quieten the often raucous students. He also told us about leaving intense one-to-one tutorials with a great sense of relief, only to find himself carrying another bundle of books to read for the next week. Grahame, our Mathematics teacher, also told us about his life at Durham University (also an old and collegiate English university) and of the similarities between the architecture of Durham (a beautiful cathedral city in the North East of England) and the architecture of Oxford. I really enjoyed Michael’s interesting stories, some of which have to remain confidential, about his time as a student at Oxford.  He read Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE), a course known for producing politicians in the UK and in other countries and also EF Academy’s President, Jenny Hepworth. All in all, we had an amazing time together and the small “insider” tour strengthened our decision to want to apply Oxford University. It also gave us a great insight into the life of a student – a life we are all looking forward to undertaking after our amazing two years at EF Academy Oxford.

Living in Oxford is generally amazing, but this overwhelmingly academic environment has proven especially helpful during our university application process. Oxford is a largely student-dominated city, so there’s always something going on, and as students in Oxford, we have access to much of what is on offer to the city’s university students. With the school’s support, we’ve had the opportunity to go to university lectures at Oxford University, attend debates, visit museums, and of course we use the large modern library of the city’s new university, Oxford Brookes, just over the road from Cotuit Hall.

The tour with Michael and Grahame really reminded us of what we’re studying so much for.

Through this trip to the colleges of the University of Oxford, we were also reminded of how supportive the teachers of the school have been – caring, enthusiastic in their academic teaching, but also very keen on extra-curricular discussions and opportunities, and on helping individual students resolve their dilemmas: for instance, university choices.


This blog post was written as a collaboration by current students at EF Academy Oxford, Leon Tung Ho Lau, Evelyn Schwab and Rebekka Kvalum. 

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