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The Beatles, The Black Death and The British Empire



Oxford University Summer School Has Varied Courses, No Requirements


Oxford, England, December 2, 2013—Little did they know, when Texans Charles and Sherry Heard took a course called The Beatles, Popular Music and Sixties Britain at The Oxford Experience, that they would actually meet Sir Paul McCartney. But they held up a sign at his Tulsa concert that said “We studied Beatles at Oxford,” and Paul said “Anyone who studies The Beatles at Oxford is a friend of mine,” and called them up on stage.


The Oxford Experience is a one-week residential summer program at England’s legendary Oxford University. Some sixty courses, spread over six weeks, include not only The Beatles, but also The Black Death, The British Empire at War, Creative Writing, William the Conqueror, The Golden Age of the Romanovs, The Craft of the Opera Composer, Understanding the Cosmos, Oxford’s Medieval Jewish Quarter, Introducing the Human Brain, Spies in British Fiction, Ireland’s Troubled Past, the World of the Vikings and Paradise in an English Garden.  Classes are small, with only 12 students, and tutors are friendly.


The program is open to everyone; there are no requirements, no exams and no papers to write.  It’s an interesting and enjoyable way to spend time—and learn something—at Christ Church, the most beautiful and prestigious college in this “city of dreaming spires.” The students, aged 25 to 85, come from all over the world.  They stay in comfortable rooms at Christ Church and dine in the college’s impressive Tudor Hall, which is recognizable from the Harry Potter films.  (Though Christ Church was founded by Cardinal Wolsey almost five centuries ago, the dorms are considerably younger and an elevator to the Hall makes life easy for those with mobility problems.)


The residential program includes not only accommodations, but also three daily meals: a full English breakfast, a buffet lunch and a delicious served three-course dinner.  On the final night everyone gathers for champagne in the flowering Cathedral Garden and a gala farewell dinner in the Hall.  Through the week there are excursions to stately homes, cathedrals, museums and such; tours of Oxford; pub walks; whisky tastings; lectures; wine and croquet in the Masters’ Garden, and Evensong in the college chapel, which is also the Oxford Cathedral.


The price of a one-week course is £1,230 or approximately $1,983 in U.S. dollars or $2,077 in Canadian dollars.  There are additional charges for most excursions and for rooms with private bath.  The registration deadline is May 1, but early application is recommended as courses are filling quickly.  Information and a registration form are available at or from The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1  2JA,  U.K.

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