Monday, August 23, 2010

Off to Colleges?

As the concessioners (over 60) that we are, we went by express bus to Oxford at half price: four GBP.  That is about $6 each one-way for a 100 minute journey.  Did you know that the University of Oxford, the oldest in Britain, is made up of 39 colleges in which you have a tutor, your personal tutor, for most or all of your studies, and that you study exclusively in your chosen area?  So if you chose to study history, you probably would not study any science or math.  There are lecturers as well, but they stand before 200 or 300 students in courses that many people have to take.  Our informer did not go into much detail, but he stressed that Oxford and Cambridge were unlike most universities in that you had a tutor, did not change your area of study, and only studied your field.

These colleges began as part of churches educating young people and just grew until they were united in name as the University of Oxford.  The University has no jurisdiction over the individual colleges.  We took a walk around several of the colleges:  Christ Church, St. Mary the Virgin, Brasenose College, New College, Queen's College, and Magdalen (Mordlin) College.  At St. Mary's I climbed the tower and had great views of the city.  Many of the colleges have now started charging admission for visitors, so we skirted them still enjoying their spires, towers, and high reaches.

Grades for recent exams were just released this last week.  Journalists reported in the abundant free papers that too many students are getting the highest marks, and there is not enough room at university for all who want to attend.  Students willing to put off beginning their studies often take a gap year to travel, gain experience in their field, or study abroad.  I thought that was a great idea.

About half way through, we followed a three foot passage, St. Helen's Way, to the Turf Tavern, a great old ale house.  Today was one of the few days in which we have had to contend with rain.  The patio chairs were wet, but it was warm and dry in the pub.  Fortunately we only encountered the rain when we were catching our bus on the way back to Greenwich.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading about Colleges. I also love the new photo of you and Jim posted at the top right. Sweet. Guess you guys are still holding up.