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Charlize Andrews Review of Oxford Summer Courses

As summer comes to an end, one of our favourite things is hearing from our students after they have finished their course. One of our students, Charlize, who studied Creative Writing at Somerville with us this summer, has written a blog about her Oxford Summer Courses experience.

Where are Oxford Summer Courses Hosted?

For ages 9-12, our junior summer courses are hosted at renowned boarding schools including Harrow School, Eton College, and St. John's Beaumont. For ages 13-24, our summer courses are hosted in Cambridge and Oxford University colleges. Apply now to secure your spot in one of our prestigious summer courses.


This summer, I travelled around 3,830 miles to Oxford University to have the experience of a lifetime. While there, I was given the opportunity to study Creative Writing through a two week course while living at Somerville College. The opportunity to live the Oxford University student experience in the United Kingdom was a once in a lifetime opportunity for this 16 year old American girl, and I took it.

To give you a brief overview, Oxford Summer Courses is a company that connects students aged 13-24 to summer university programs hosted around the UK, including Oxford university. They allow you to choose from various courses based on your age and preferred location at which you wish to study (Cambridge, London or Oxford). They provide not only a learning experience, but also a place for you to stay while you spend two weeks studying your chosen course and making friends. On top of this, they accommodate daily meals and schedule your transfers to and/or from the airport if needed. The program also ensures you see many different attractions during your stay in the UK.

Each week there are constant activities and travels to fun and beautiful places. With small class sizes, actual Oxford and Cambridge professors and a setting that far outweighs the average American classroom, Oxford Summer Courses offers a unique perspective and experience for anyone looking to re-envision summer vacation.

Our student helpers informed us each morning of the plan for any activities. The helpers were always incredibly welcoming and became close friends with everyone in the group. Everyone at Oxford Summer Courses, staff and students alike, were so welcoming from beginning to end.

Weekly Schedules Not everyone's schedule looked the same, but here’s a basic outline of what my time in Oxford looked like:

Week One 08:00 - Breakfast

08:30 - 08:55 - Check in

09:00 - 10:30 - Tutorial (otherwise known as a “class”)

10:30 - 10:50 - Break

10:50 - 12:00 - Tutorial continued

From noon on, you either have free time to get yourself lunch and explore, or your Student Helpers will have an activity planned that you’ll meet up for, usually around 14:00. Dinner in the dining hall is usually around 18:00 - 18:30 where you’ll eat for a couple of nights during the week. The other evening meals will be in a variety of restaurants around the city.

After dinner there’s usually free time, unless there’s an activity planned like a walking tour or a movie theatre trip. The college enacts a curfew at 22:30, so students retire to their buildings at that time.

Every Wednesday, there is no tutorial. Instead, you spend the extra time working on an assignment set by your tutor. Once you have handed this in, your day carries on the same schedule as the other days. On Thursdays, you’re split into 1:1 or 2:1 groups to have time to work more closely with your tutor and reflect on the work you have completed. Weekends are free from coursework to enjoy your time with your friends.

Week Two The only main difference in week two is that your tutorial is from 14:00 to 17:00, rather than having them in the morning like in week one. This causes your second week to fly by much faster than the first.
At the end of week two you will have a graduation ceremony with your course mates. This is a time for you and your friends to dress up formally, receive your completion certificate and to celebrate all you have achieved over the course.

There’s so much to say about my time at Oxford Summer Courses. It is a wonderful experience for teenagers worldwide and I highly recommend for anyone considering attending to go ahead and apply!

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Charlize, a 16-year-old American, shares her Oxford Summer Courses experience studying Creative Writing. Connect with UK summer university programmes for a unique learning adventure. Apply now for a memorable summer in Oxford, Cambridge, or London!

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Oxford Summer Courses is an organisation which contracts with the colleges of the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London for the use of facilities, but which has no formal connection with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London.
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