2017 Excursions – The Museums of Kensington

Our courses include a wide variety of activities and excursions, ensuring our students stay energised throughout their time with us. We’ll be showcasing these over the coming weeks, giving you a taste of just what you can expect with an Oxford Summer Course. Read on for an account of our visit to the museums of Kensington, London –
Our students inspired by the Natural History Museum in London
Our first point of call in London was the Natural History Museum. The students were awed by the impressive grandeur of the museum’s exterior architecture, and from the excited discussions taking place as we queued it was clear that everybody was really looking forward to investigating the treasures hidden within. Once inside the museum, the dinosaur exhibition was particularly popular (inspiring our dinosaur-themed group photo!), with students enjoying the robotic tyrannosaurus rex and commenting on how incredible it was that so many dinosaur fossils had been preserved for many millions of years. The volcano exhibition was also keenly investigated, while the iconic full skeleton of a blue whale in the “mammals” section led to a certain amount of jaw-dropping among students and staff alike. All in all, everyone really enjoyed the museum, with the only negative feedback being disappointment that the group couldn’t have even longer to explore before heading to our next stop.

On arriving at the Victoria and Albert Museum, often considered the world’s leading museum of arts and design heritage, students were impressed at the marble facade and imposing staircases hidden behind the red brick exterior. The Pink Floyd temporary exhibition proved exceptionally popular with much of the group, offering an in depth look into the band’s long running career and the opportunity to view memorabilia and original props up close. Similarly the second floor balcony, home to a large blown glass installation, was a favoured spot for selfies and Instagram pictures! Much of the ground floor captivated the interest of international students, as it focuses on world culture, art and design, and so they found they were able to experience a slice of their home country in the midst of a very British city, and explore links and influences between the two. The V&As garden courtyard provided a shaded outdoor space in which to eat lunch or have a snack, with many of our students choosing to relax and enjoy the sunshine before it vanished.

Our final stop for the day was a short visit to the Science Museum. As soon as we arrived you could sense the excitement as the students discovered the full range of simulators and interactive experiences on offer, from the 3D Red Arrows to the robot exhibition. The NASA exhibit was a particular highlight and our British students enjoyed telling all the other students about Tim Peake, the first British European Space Agency astronaut, and learning about the capsule he used to travel to the International Space Station, which was on display.

After an exhausting day touring three museums the students were more than ready for some dinner. To round of the day we headed to Hyde Park for a truly British picnic complete with strawberries and cream, scones, sausage rolls and biscuits. One of the students, in true British fashion and the words of Roald Dahl, described the picnic as “scrumdiddlyumptious”. It was a lovely way to spend the evening relaxing taking photos and playing games in the park.
Admiring artwork in the V&A museum
Picnicking in Hyde Park – thoroughly British!

Posted: July 28, 2017

Oxford Summer Courses Live Twitter Q&A Round-Up

Posted: June 9, 2017

Your Pre-Course Checklist, Guidance on What to Pack & What to Expect

The University colleges of Oxford

We want you to be as ready as possible for our 2 and 4 week courses in the summer, therefore due consideration needs to be given to your pre-course arrangements and packing list. It’s easy to neglect; as something that can be done later, or nearer the time, or not at all – “I’ll just sort it out when I get there…”


Some very key details need to be in place prior to you even departing for Oxford or Cambridge; just think how you’ll feel when the British sunshine decides to show itself and you’ve left your Aviator sunglasses at home!

Plan to plan.

Ensure key documents and materials are in place to enable you to travel (if necessary), and then make sure you have what you need for your stay with us. One can never predict the British weather accurately, even in summer, sunshine is not guaranteed and rain is never avoidable. First advice is to pack clothing suitable for both warm and cool weather.

Campus life is casual, and this is the typical student dress code during the day. Evening events may require slightly dressier attire such as skirts or dresses, and trousers and shirts.

On our website, we provide fortnight timetables per age group which detail what a typical day will look like and what is included on each day. Also, pre-course information will be sent out prior to the course start date with further information. Please consult these materials, or contact us if you are still unsure, to think about what you might need.

Read on for our recommendations on what “must haves” you’ll need, the types of clothing to pack and what prizes could be yours…

Pre-course checklist:

  • Cash/ATM cards – get GBP currency in advance of your trip and save what you can on the exchange rate.
  • Electronic chargers, – if you are bringing any electronic devices with you, make sure you have a British standard plug socket adaptor.
  • Medications – if you require medications, do not forget them! Note that we send out a Key Information Form prior to the course start dates to capture medical and dietary requirements. Always get directly in touch if you want to be sure.
  • Passport and other travel documents – you will need your passport if you are travelling from overseas to the UK. You may also need a visa, please check on the UK visa government website. As Oxford Summer Courses is accredited by the British Accreditation Council as a short course provider, please apply for a Short-term Study Visa.
  • Mobile phone and laptop/tablet – students are encouraged to bring their own computer if they have one and if it is easy to pack. Do not forget your mobile phone as this will be needed as a form of direct contact, plus, how else will you snap that perfect selfie on the lawn of an Oxford University college?

What to pack:

  • Footwear – shoes suitable for walking long distances.
  • Every day/casual clothes.
  • Sportswear (indoor and outdoor) – trainers, t-shirts and shorts.
  • Formal clothing – your chance to dress up!
  • Toiletries – students are expected to bring their own (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste).
  • Rucksack or small travel bag – for afternoon trips and excursions.
  • Weather protection – English summer demands both an umbrella, and sun protection cream, sun hat and of course, those Aviators!

Please note that towels and all bed linen are provided. Also, emergency buys can be done with ease considering the central location of Oxford University colleges, so do not panic if you manage to forget something.

What to expect:

  • Photography/videography – we will be capturing footage and images so you can see how wonderful you all look once the course is over.
  • Contests and competitions – expect hidden treasures and prizes for the best snaps.
  • International community – students from all cultures, backgrounds and languages will join us this summer. Embrace the highly international group. Relax and learn with students from around the world.
  • Student help – friendly pastoral staff members await your arrival! Many of whom are current or former Oxford/Cambridge students. They’re open to chat, help and answer your questions.

One more thing to remind, get social! Tell your friends where you are and what you’re doing on social media leading up to your arrival and during your time with us. You can find us on Facebook Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ & Pinterest. We’ll be watching for any standout snaps or videos.

We cannot wait to welcome you on to our courses this summer. We truly believe an academic course is the best setting for a great summer, just ensure you are well equipped for the academic adventure.

See you there!

Posted: May 31, 2017


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