Musings from Oxford

Dear readers,

Greetings from the great city of Oxford. This space is where I will be chronicling my experiences over the coming semester. You are welcome to join me as I embark on this very exciting adventure. For those who do not know what I am doing in Oxford, I will begin with a short explanation. I am doing a semester abroad in Oxford, organized by the Council of Christian Colleges. During my time here I will be an official member of the Wycliffe Hall and by extension the University. I will be undertaking several courses in Philosophy to supplement my studies in George Fox. The format of learning is going to be traditionally oxford tutorial style where I meet one on one with my professors and get my ideas torn apart. :S Its probably going to be a tough semester but I am thoroughly looking forward to it.

With that out of the way, I can now tell you what I did during my first weekend in Angle land!

My flight arrived at 720, Friday morning at Heathrow Airport London. From there, I had to take an express coach to Oxford. It was a relatively painless journey and I was able to meet two of my program mates along the way. The hour and forty minute journey flew by because I was so tired out from the journey I slept the whole way. I had to be woken up by my program mates when we arrived at our destination, otherwise I probably would have ended up in Scotland.

The place I am staying at is an old Victorian mansion on Pullens Lane in Headington. Its about a 10 minute bike ride into the city. The building was originally built for a Professor Vines of Magdelen College in the 1700-1800s. It was acquired by Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) to house students from the program. Well I guess I’ll just show you pictures. =)

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View from the back of the MansionImage

The Vines

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The Lawn behind the Vines.

Its a gorgeous place and they even stocked the Kitchen up with food to get us started for the first week.

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They give us the weekend to kind of relax and find our footing in Oxford. Its been a wonderful experience. I’ve been able to meet many of my course mates and explore oxford a little. The first day was so overwhelming I went to sleep at 9pm and got up at 6 the next morning. Really awful thing to do socially but it did wonders for the Jetlag.

The next morning I took a walk into town with two of my program mates. We were able to get into Merton College (One of the oldest colleges in the University) by flashing our Oxford University Cards. It was quite quite surreal. 

In the afternoon we had a barbecue out on the lawn, got our bikes and played croquet. It was a truly English experience- I felt like I was Alice in Wonderland. After the barbecue, my room mate Jimmy and I decided to bike into town to look for the famous pub, the Eagle and the Child, where CS. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien used to meet whilst they were teaching in Oxford. I was scary biking down into town for the first time. Bikers are not allowed to bike on sidewalks and follow the same traffic rules as cars. We had to stop at traffic lights and signal with our hands when we turned. Quite a nerve wrecking experience especially when you are getting passed on both sides by huge double decker busses. Nevertheless, we made it to the Eagle and Child.

The next morning, I managed to convince some of my program mates to come with me to the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, a high Anglican church in the center of town right by the famous Radcliffe Camera. It was quite a fascinating experience. I could appreciate how the grandiose architecture with the towering spires and long stained glass windows were an inspiration to so many of our church fathers. It serves as a reminder of the glory and majesty of heaven and of our God.

After church we took a little walk down to the Radcliffe Camera and into the Bodlien Library. I am absolutely blown away by the architecture and am so overwhelmed to be surrounded by such beauty. Sometimes it takes a slight pinch to remind me I am not dreaming.

Well thats it for now chappies. Tomorrow we begin our first day of Orientation. I am nervous about going back to school but I think it will be a very rewarding time. Thanks for reading.

Till next time then! Cheers mates!

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5 thoughts on “Musings from Oxford

  1. Hi Ii-Shan, so great to hear you have made it to Oxford, what an amazing experience that will be for you. When are you there until? If Shiung and I happen to head to Europe while you are there we will definitely visit. A good friend of mine studied theology there and is heading back there in October for 3 months; I have a feeling he may be linked to your school/college. I will ask him and let you know as it could be useful for you.

    Your comments about bike riding are funny because that’s how we ride here – how do Malaysians ride!? However they like I guess!

    Take care,
    Laura

  2. all the best shan! will be tuning in for more updates :) sounds awesome to be able to not only be in oxford, but experience both US and UK education at one go!

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