Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oxford Day 3

My feet hurt. This is a walking town. Started off the day with 2 classes and then had the afternoon off so we took a walking tour of Oxford for 2 hours. BTW if you are reading my blog and also on Facebook, I upload new pictures every evening on to my FB profile so either add me as a friend to view them or if you are already a friend on FB check them out.

Today was another rainy and sunny day. Really some of the most unusual weather I have ever seen. It rains EVERY day, brief showers, very light rain. Then 5 minutes later it's sunny and hot. Then it rains again and so on and so on. This is an island after all.

Anyway we decided to take a walking tour organized by the City and not the college which turned out to be many of the buildings I had already seen but our guide Lora, an older woman who has been giving the tour for over 20 years was like a walking encyclopedia. She showed us haunted alleyways,the area where Bill Clinton lived when he was a Rhodes Scholar,the former "Red Light District",and the tombs and places of worship of so many historical figures. Absolutely fascinating.

Let me tell you what I've learned about Oxford. Oxford the village was here first, before the colleges which is amazing considering the university goes back over 900 years. There are 38 colleges at Oxford and every single one of them is separate from the University. A good analogy would be the University is the USA and the colleges are the states. Students must apply to the college they want to attend and sit for an interview. If they are accepted they are a student of the college and a member of the University. Some of the colleges are very very rich, some are very poor. The University itself is poor as most alumni donate to their college not the University. Each college has it's own campus. The older colleges like Jesus and New College are build around a quadrangle. The colleges are completely contained within the quad. Many have the living areas, a dining hall, a chapel and a library. The students live, study, eat and socialize for their 3 years within the college. When alumni or students meet they ask, "What college" and then "What stairs?" because the oldest buildings are built with each room off stairs, there were no buildings built with corridors until recently. (This was done for safety, no access to multiple rooms, see the picture above).

So that is the lesson for the day, I am off to stroll and then a pint.

No comments: