It’s been a while since I have updated the Oxford Blog. This is partly due to the program ramping up in intensity in the later weeks, but also because I did not have access to my laptop for some time.
Needless to say, I am committed to finishing the Oxford Blog even though trip has just ended. Blogging about the program after the fact seems to make the reporting lose some of its magic, but actually presents some unique advantages. I am no longer bound by chronology — instead of mechanically describing events as they happen, I will instead recount similar experiences from different days together. I can now also use a greater perspective to find the most memorable experiences of the program and highlight them. Most importantly, describing events in the context of the whole trip will allow me to identify overarching themes and lessons derived from my stay in Europe.
From a logistical perspective, being done with the rigors of the program allows me to keep a more rigid timetable and produce quality content with greater consistency. Expect a blog post every other day (and hopefully usually more frequently than that).
Thank you for your patience and support. I look forward to you joining me as Zqueaky.com becomes a living record of this life-changing adventure.
Tolkien’s old neighborhood.
As Week 2 opens, the Summer Abroad session is now in full swing and each day is punctuated by either an intense class section, a tour, or some new group bonding activity. Soon after this blog last left off, the UC Davis students were treated to a guided literary tour of Oxford that covered Exeter College (Phillip Pullman’s college and the unsubtle inspiration for Jordan College in his books), the former neighborhood of J.R.R. Tolkien, the Radcliffe Camera, and the corridors and dining hall of Christ Church College (which look very familiar to fans of the first Harry Potter film).
A lot has happened quickly in the last few days, but after a flurry of activity things have finally settled down, classes have started, and the realization has finally dawned on me that I’m in Oxford, England.
My journey actually began a few days ago, when almost half of the students in the program boarded the same flight from California direct to London. For many of us, it was our first time flying alone. For some, like me, it was the first time traveling internationally as well. After an uneventful trip, we were greeted in the most traditionally English way: with rain.
The group gets ready to depart.
This summer I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to attend a four-week UC Davis Summer Abroad program at Oxford University. There, I will study fantasy literature and how the environment at Oxford shaped the ideas of novelists such as Tolkein and Pullman.
In order to preserve what is sure to be an amazing experience, I am converting Zqueaky.com to a blog of my adventures in the UK and subsequent travels in Europe. Oxford posts will be sorted into a brand-new category on the homepage and will all licensed with the Creative Commons – Attribution license.
This week I committed to studying abroad in at Oxford University in Great Britain! It’s a four-week summer program through the UCs that focuses on classic fantasy inspired by the environment at Oxford. Expect to hear about it some more on the blog as summer comes closer.
Public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons