My apologies for failing to post last week! I ended up getting sick over the weekend and since I’ve recovered it’s been go, go, go.
So, to catch up, last week (October 6-12) was another intro week. My first week here was intro week for the students in my program – since we’re all international, we were given an extra prep week to learn about the culture, expectations, etc. So my second week was essentially the intro week for all of Oxford. Since Oxford operates on an 8-week term schedule, it titles its intro week “0 week.”
Also called “Oth week.”
Also called “Oth week.”
Also called “Nought week.”
Also called “Fresher’s week.”
(Fresher’s = Freshmen).
The fact that term has not yet officially started with this week is, as you can tell, heavily emphasized.
So! Nought week for me consisted first of my induction into the Bodleian Library on Monday, as described in my previous post.
Tuesday, I was inducted into New College! Along with other New College members from the Oxford Study Abroad Program, I was given a tour of New College, which included beautiful gardens edged on one side by the old city wall and an introduction to the college library, among other things. It also has a beautiful front quad and gorgeous cloisters. The cloisters are beautiful on their own, but a few of us were further excited about them when we realized that they were featured in the Harry Potter movies.
After exploring New College, I visited the Radcliffe Camera and Bodleian Reading Rooms. The RadCam houses Bodleian books and it is beautiful inside and out. The Reading Rooms are enormous – I kept turning corners expecting to have reached the end only to see more books! I’m looking forward to spending time in all the libraries, which will undoubtedly become more and more necessary as the term goes on.
Wednesday, after our last round of OSAP lectures, I had dinner with friends at The Eagle and Child, a pub known for being a frequent haunt of The Inklings. Oxford is, of course, full of history at every turn, but it was especially thrilling to dine where some of my favorite writers spent so much time together.
Thursday was Fresher’s Fair! Much like the Involvement Fair at Cedarville, students were ushered through tables upon tables with information on societies, clubs, sports, etc. It was a bit overwhelming but in the end I found a few groups of interest – along with a lot of random pamphlets (engineering?) that somehow ended up in my hand amid the chaos.
Thursday was also the day that I met with a tutor for the first time! Although I originally intended to only take two courses, Jane Austen and Shakespeare, I have added a 3 credit Art History course! I am so excited to be experiencing history first-hand. My tutor took myself and another student into Christ Church Cathedral of Christ Church College. It’s a beautiful cathedral, in which I’ve had the joy of attending Evensong, and it was amazing to learn how the architecture reflects the intentions of its designers and by extension points those worshipping within the cathedral to focus on Christ.
Thursday night I went to FOCUS, the student group at the church I’ve been attending, St. Ebbe’s. It was the intro meeting (everything revolves around the Oxford term schedule) and I was able to meet other students and get an idea of how the group study is structured.
Friday I visited the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford with a couple of friends. We wandered around some of the ancient Mesopotamian, Roman, and Greek areas before going through a special King Tut exhibit. It was interesting to see how ancient history can be interpreted apart from a Scriptural lens. For example, there was a display referencing a massive flood that was said to inspire the Biblical story among other “myths,” as opposed to asserting that it was the Biblical flood account that gave birth to other cultural stories about a flood. It’s strange to be in an environment that so typically supposes another worldview aside from Christianity, but I have already seen how it is good for the exercising of my discernment.
Friday was also the day that our kitchen supplies were all finally delivered, enabling us to cook! And there was much rejoicing.
That weekend, as I mentioned, I was sick. Not the most fun three days I’ve ever spent, but a few friends were so kind as to bring me some comfort food and I was able to rest up.
In general, the week held a good bit of information overload yet allowed time for exploration around Oxford and bonding time with friends.
I realize I’m a week behind so I’ll do my best to cover “1st week” as soon as I am able.
In the meantime, know that I appreciate the prayers and encouragements of everyone at home! I do miss everyone dearly but social media and communication tools are helping to ease that in some part.
Please continue to pray, as I am beginning courses and fighting homesickness, that I will be diligent in my work yet continue to enjoy my time here.
If you have any questions or would like more details on how to pray (or just want to say hello!) message me through the internet somehow. I would love to hear from you!