When I first applied to Bellerbys, I did not know which centre I should choose. On one hand, it is pretty exciting to be able to choose where you are going to study. On the other hand, you HAVE TO choose where you are going to be for the next two years of your life. It means you are responsible for your choices; you cannot blame anyone if you end up miserable in a city, a region that is not to your liking.
When I first applied to Bellerbys, I did not know which centre I should choose. On one hand, it is pretty exciting to be able to choose where you are going to study. On the other hand, you HAVE TO choose where you are going to be for the next two years of your life. It means you are responsible for your choices; you cannot blame anyone if you end up miserable in a city, a region that is not to your liking. You have to take into account trillions of things, such as the size of the city and the population, the demographics, the standards of living to name but a few. The pressure was tremendous. My father’s constant ‘just choose wherever you fancy’ certainly did not help. I had never been to Europe before, let alone know for sure which city would be the best place for me to study. When I chose Bellerbys centre in Oxford, I was excited but nervous. ‘What if the city is not what I expect it to be?’ I found myself wondering. I spent days and nights agonising about things that could possibly go wrong.
However, now looking back I am certain that I made the right choice. Oxford was everything I wished it to be and more. Below are my 10 reasons of why you should study in Oxford.
10. (Part of) Hogwarts is here!
If you are a born bookworm, have grown up with Harry Potter and are still obsessed with the magical wizard school, you will love Oxford. You will have the chance to visit The Great Hall at Christ Church, one of the largest colleges of the University of Oxford, a replication of which was built in the studio as Hogwarts’ Dining Hall. Some of the scenes from the first movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were actually shot at Christ Church.
It is a pity that the portraits do not move, but Oxford is the place to be if you want to soak in a little bit of magic. (I said ‘a little bit’, because I am currently in Durham, home of the magnificent Durham Cathedral, whose cloister prominently featured in the first two Harry Potter movies. It appears that I always choose cities/universities related to Harry Potter. But that is neither here nor there!)
9. G&D’s Café – Oxford’s very own ice cream
One of the many things that I dearly love and terribly miss about Oxford is G&D’s ice cream. G&D’s Café was founded in 1992 by George Stroup, an Oxford University student who wanted to provide Oxford with what it was missing at the time: scrumptious ice cream with quirky names. More than a decade later, G&D’s Café has grown strong, loved by residents, students and tourists. What can be more heavenly than sitting in the summer sun eating a cone of Oxford blue? On a cold winter’s day, I crave nothing but a cup of Holy Cow, which includes a scoop of ice cream (flavour of your choice) in steamy, rich hot chocolate. If you feel decadent, don’t hesitate to order Cookie Monster, a cookie sandwich with ice cream filling. What I would give to be in Oxford at this very moment!
Punting is a form of art. Will you be able to perform the perfect punt that will propel your punt (think gondola, but with a pole instead of an oar) effortlessly forward, send it gliding gracefully across the stream? Nothing beats punting on the Isis on a sunny day, lazily enjoying the resplendent scenery and the finest British weather. The punt will take you on a marvellous trip that you will never forget.
7. The museums
Oxford is home to many museums housing wondrous collections from all around the world. Top of the list is the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, which has under its roof drawings by Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo de Vinci; the antiquities of Prehistoric Egypt. The Oxford University Museum of Natural History features the famous Oxford dodo, immortalised in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Pitt Rivers Museum has on display some of the most eclectic dinosaur skeletons (footprints!) collection. In Oxford, a treasure trove of curiosities and wonders is in walking distance.
6. Blackwell’s Bookstore
I still remember the moment I set foot in Blackwell’s Oxford. I was completely overwhelmed, awed by its sheer size along with available titles. Blackwell’s is not just a bookstore; it is a haven for bibliophiles. This flagship store in Oxford has the largest single room for selling books in the world – the Norrington room, which is situated underneath Trinity College’s garden (it has an entry in Guinness Book of Records). Blackwell’s has every book you would ever need, from academic books to second hand books if you are thrifty to rare books for avid collectors.
5. Location – Study in Oxford
Oxford is 50 miles (80 km) away from London. This means that if you feel like going to the capital for a cup of bubble tea in Chinatown one beautiful afternoon, it will only take you approximately one and a quarter hours.
As a university town, people from over the world have come to live, study and work in Oxford. You can eat authentic Japanese cuisine in a small well-known restaurant tucked in one corner of the city, speak Portuguese to the Brazilian student sitting at the next table, while planning an Italian dinner with your Hong Kong friend at a restaurant with a jovial Italian chef. The diversity makes the city truly dynamic.
3. The scenery
Oxford is gorgeous. Oxford has buildings of every English architectural period: the Norma St. George’s Tower built in the 11th century, the Gothic spire of the Church of St Mary the Virgin from the 14th century, the iconic mid-18th century Classical Radcliffe Camera and many more. The University of Oxford, with its many buildings ranging from the Norman Christ Church College, to the futuristic, glass-and-steel Biochemistry Building contributes substantially to this picturesque city. The Isis curving round the city adds a graceful, flowing touch.
2. Safety in Oxford
The Independent Complete University Guide ranked Oxford as the 8th safest University city in the UK in 2013. Not too bad!
1. The city of dreaming spires
Oxford is home to the oldest university in the world. For some of us, this is the top reason to study in Oxford. Oxford is where the old and the new meet, where the ancient and the modern intertwine. In Oxford, you can look back at the past, live the present and create your future. Oxford is as cosmopolitan as it is quintessentially British. In Oxford, you are driven to work as hard as you can; you are inspired to find yourself, your dreams and to fulfil them. How can you say no to such a city?