7 Reasons to Attend a Summer School in Oxford

Are you interested in attending a summer school in Oxford? If so, read on! There are many reasons why Oxford is the perfect place to spend your summer. From studying in a world-famous university city and exploring its many museums to its fascinating courses and fun summer activities. Here are our top seven reasons to attend a summer school in Oxford.

1. Famous Historic University City

Oxford hosts the oldest university in the English-speaking world so if you’re wanting to improve your English during the holidays, a summer school in Oxford is clearly the best place to be. It also takes the top spot in the 2020 World University Rankings. The university has a collegiate system with most colleges having their own accommodation, libraries, dining halls, sports and events.  Each college is distinctive in its character and history and this year SBC is working out of not one, but two Oxford Colleges. Wycliffe Hall, founded in 1877 located a short walk from the city centre and University College which claims to be the university’s oldest college founded in 1249.  Attending an Oxford summer school is an amazing opportunity to explore the best university in the world as well as a truly unique and beautiful city.

Headington Oxford Summer School Students

2. Diverse Mix of Students

Oxford is a world-famous university city. It is home to many international students, including both university students and English language students. Home to two universities (the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes), Oxford is a young city with 40,000 students in total, and with a third of the population aged under 30. At the University of Oxford alone, there are more than 24,000 students from over 140 countries. Moreover, the University of Oxford attracts 40% of its academic staff and 17% of undergraduates from overseas.

During our summer courses in Oxford (whether that’s Headington Oxford or Oxford College), you will be sharing the city with students from all over the world. You are guaranteed to experience a truly international and an immersive English language learning environment in the diverse city of Oxford.

students in oxford on the river punting

3. Fun Summer Activities

Oxford offers an outstanding range of fun and exciting activities for all interests. A visit to Oxford wouldn’t be complete without spending time punting along the River Cherwell, a tradition that dates back to around the 1800s.

For shoppers, Oxford offers a huge range of options, from small independent shops to the new Westgate Shopping Centre, which hosts all the major brands and shops. You can enjoy everything from open-air theatre shows right in the city centre to exploring the cobbled streets and grassy parks of this fantastic city while enjoying an ice cream from G&D’s, an Oxford favourite with visitors and locals alike.

students smiling in an oxford class

4. Fascinating Summer Courses

We have three summer schools in Oxford; SBC Oxford Summer School, Headington Oxford Summer School and Oxford College Summer School. At Oxford College, there are six fundamental summer courses which are designed to improve both knowledges of the subject, and knowledge of the English language too; including General English, Business and Leadership, Engineering, Natural Sciences, Medicine and Politics & Economics.

General English is the ideal course for students who want to improve their overall English language skills, in which students develop their problem solving, interacting, communicating and collaborating skills.

Our young entrepreneurs studying Business & Leadership will learn what it takes to become a young business leader while improving their English language skills.

Engineering introduces students to fundamental ideas in Engineering, such as key Engineering laws and principles, the uses and fields of Engineering, and features many practical and fun projects.

Students who study Natural Sciences improve their understanding of how Chemistry, Biology and Physics interact, and their practical uses in the modern world.

For students who wish to explore future studies in Medicine, our Medicine course introduces students to the subjects necessary to become future doctors: pathology, emergency treatment, medical ethics and First Aid.

Politics and Economics is the ideal course for students who enjoy geopolitics and would like to discover more about how democracies work, and how democracies dysfunction.

memorable locations in oxford

5. Harry Potter Locations

Though the Harry Potter films are set in Scotland, many of the filming locations for Hogwarts Castle are scattered within the city of Oxford.

In Christchurch College, the cloisters are instantly recognisable as the halls of Hogwarts. The dining hall at Christchurch College also inspired the set for the Great Hall, one of the most iconic locations inside the Hogwarts Castle.

The Divinity School is used as the Hogwarts infirmary – a location for many scenes since Harry is always getting into trouble and ending up in the Hospital Wing!

The Divinity School is inside the famous Bodleian Library, as is Duke Humphrey’s library where many scenes for the Hogwarts Library were filmed.

In New College (which was founded way back in 1379) the cloisters are used in many scenes, such as when students are wearing ‘Potter Stinks’ badges. The cloisters in New College are immediately identifiable and make you feel like you are in Hogwarts!

The courtyard in New College is where Mad-Eye Moody turns Draco Malfoy into a ferret. Just remember Professor McGonagall’s line: “Moody, we never use transfiguration as a punishment!”

Whether you are a big Harry Potter fan or not, these locations are really beautiful and definitely worth seeing in Oxford.

students in a museum together

6. World-Class Museums & Culture

When it comes to culture, Oxford really is a city that is second to none. The whole city has an amazing cultural atmosphere with history seeping from the walls and hidden treasures around every corner. The set-up of our well-being and free time programmes across our Oxford Summer Schools really allows you to make the most of your free time by getting out and about. Let’s start by thinking about the many world-class museums, Oxford has no less than 13 different important museums, many of which are free to enter and within walking distance of your accommodation.

The world-famous Ashmolean Museum is possibly Oxford’s most famous museum and it deserves all the kudos it gets. Amazing art exhibitions alongside cultural splendour, this mini version of the British Museum is a great place for an afternoon out.

Continuing on the theme of world cultures and history, the Pitt Rivers Museum is a favourite with Oxford visitors and residents alike. There are so many quirky and interesting exhibits in this museum of archaeology and ethnography that the only complaint is that sometimes it’s hard to fit in everything you want to see.

If you’re more interested in the natural world, don’t miss the opportunity to see a dinosaur and a dodo in the University Museum of Natural History, a place worth visiting for the atmosphere and ambiance alone. This magnificent neo-gothic building is exactly the kind of place you imagine when you think of Oxford, very grand and very beautiful.

Our budding scientists and medics will enjoy a visit to the History of Science Museum, the world’s oldest purpose-built museum, and you’re never too old to have fun celebrating the beauty of make-believe in the Story Museum.

a view of oxford from above

7. Wonderful Quirky Traditions

Oxford University has more traditions per square mile than any other university.

Such traditions include students wearing a carnation to exams as a sign of good luck, weekly formal dinners and Hustings debates.

One of its most famous traditions is the university running on its own time; all lectures are scheduled to five minutes past the hour, a tradition from before the introduction of railways when Oxford’s local time was 5 minutes behind Greenwich Mean Time.

Such traditions are not just for university students, the city of Oxford also holds several traditional celebrations throughout the year.

To bring in the start of May, every year over 25,000 people gather around the Magdalen Tower to hear the choir before continuing celebrations throughout the city.

Some of the famous figures to come from the city also get a festival day, Lewis Carroll, a student and lecturer at the university, and the creator of Alice and the World of Wonderland is celebrated every year in June with ‘Alice’s Day’ where the University and City celebrate all things, Alice.

Whether it be the small quirky traditions experienced by university students or the year-long celebrations for the entire city, it is clear that Oxford is truly a unique city to study and live in!