I am back to blogging after a short break. I just finished my first module of classes and started my second, so it has been very crazy here with finals, papers, and starting up a new class. I am half-way through the program and I can’t believe it. It simultaneously feels like I have been here forever and like I just got here. It is getting to the point where my remaining weekends are getting booked up and the end is in sight. Scary! I am torn between loving it here and missing the people back home, so I am neither in a hurry to finish nor wishing the program was longer.
Two weekends ago, I visited the other university in England–Oxford. I was there for one day, so I got a little taste of the similarities and differences between the two schools. They are very similar, with the same kind of college system. Oxford is known more for its political and humanities education and Cambridge is more famous for its math and science degrees, but they both are high-ranked schools for all of the subjects that they offer.
I traveled there on a Sunday so I went to mass at the Catholic Chaplaincy (like a Newman center in the US.) Actually, the first “Newman” center was founded at Oxford and was named after John Henry Newman. After mass, some friends and I went to the pub where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein used to meet every Tuesday to talk about their writing.
After lunch we went to the Ashmolean Museum, where they had an interesting Egyptian exhibit.
The streets of Oxford are very different than Cambridge. The city seemed a lot bigger because the roads were wider. Oxford is definitely a larger-seeming city compared to the narrow market-town streets of Cambridge.
After the museum, we visited Christ Church College. This is one of the larger colleges in Oxford. One of its claims to fame is that their dining hall was the inspiration for the great hall in the Harry Potter movies. You will have to wait to see that, though, because a Harry Potter themed blog post is coming up. 🙂 Here are some pictures of the outside of the college:
The college also had an Anglican cathedral inside of it. The stained glass was spectacular:
After the college, we walked around the town a bit more and got some ice cream. We found a really cool bookstore and artshop that had a lot of unique things, so we spent some time there. By then it was supper time, so we got some food and walked over to the river to eat it. We sat and watched people rowing on the river, which was different than Cambridge. In Cambridge, the river in the city is not used for rowing (at least I haven’t seen any rowers), but it is used for punting. Punting is a kind of boating in which the person moving the boat stands up at the back and uses a long pole to push the boat down the river.
So, that was my day in Oxford. It was fun to get to see another university that in most ways is very similar to Cambridge, but also has its own unique elements.