Inspiring Oxford: Enrichment Travel

One snowy day in March, I was browsing the internet looking for foreign university summer courses. I love to combine my passion for lifelong learning with enrichment travel but also had to be realistic about my available resources including time and budget. Then I discovered the 1-week Inspiring Oxford program with seven study topics to choose from, and knew it was meant to be.  That afternoon I sent in my application for the “1000 Years of English Gardens” course. Two weeks later, my acceptance email arrived. Now it was real!

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On July 1st, sixty participants came together as a trial group, living and studying in Oxford University’s historic Merton College which dates back to 1264.  We each had our own comfortable dorm room with ensuite bathroom.  All our meals were included and served in the architecturally stunning Dining Hall, looking like it was straight out of a Harry Potter movie. 

Students ranging in age from 20 – 82 came from all around the world including: Iceland, Greece, Brazil, China, France, India, Sweden, Italy, USA, Canada, UK and Mongolia! It was fascinating to engage in conversations with people from such diverse backgrounds.   

Each course had a maximum of 12 students and each weekday morning we had two course seminars and a full group plenary lecture.  There were no tests or exams, so this was learning for the pure joy of expanding one’s horizons.  The rest of our time was free to explore the surrounding area and participate in the programme’s social activities which included:

  • Guided walking tour of Merton College & city of Oxford
  • Chauffeured punting on the river
  • Private string quartet afternoon concert
  • Croquet on the lawn in the evening
  • Invitation to join programme director and tutors on High Table at dinner
  • Visit to Blenheim Palace with afternoon tea at Clementine’s on the lawn
  • Wine tasting evening at Vincent’s Club
  • Welcome/Farewell receptions and last evening Gala Dinner 

Experiencing a nano-second of Oxford life – home to notable scholars, politicians, explorers, scientists and religious leaders dating back to the 13th century, was a feeling I will never forget.  The Inspiring Oxford was a huge success and so the University will be expanding its courses in 2024.  Anyone wanting more information can find details on their website at or contact us through the “Contact Us” page on our website.

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