So I have finally arrived here in Oxford and now have a little over a week of classes under my belt. Let me start by talking a little about the university and the town of Oxford. The picture in the bottom right is my college(Linacre college) and is comprised mainly of graduate students. The university itself contains twenty something colleges that are each self governing and collectively come together to interact with degree programs making up Oxford University. Thinking about it another way, the Oxford university is set up much like the United States, with individual states governing themselves but tied together by the greater federal government. In this system I have found some strange English traditions over the past week:
1. I have formal dinners in my college once a week where I have to wear a suit and a gown(yes, a gown, and it looks ridiculous)
2. I have my official matriculation into the university on Tuesday which includes a two hour ceremony for all new students as we officially become part of Oxford. It is supposed to be three hours long and it is entirely in Latin. Should be a blast.
3. The college where I live has a bar right next to the library(I thought this idea was brilliant)
4. There are over 100 libraries here in Oxford, all of which are older than pretty much everything in the United States and rest of the English speaking world.
5. Every time I take and exam, which will be twice in the two years I am here(once at the end of each year), I am required to wear my gown and bring my cap. However, I am not allowed to actually wear my cap until I graduate, but I have to bring it anyway. Weird.
6. Nobody knows anything about basketball as I would have probably guessed and I still cannot bring myself to sit through an entire soccer game.
7. Education here is different. I have two classes a week and a few language sessions but the majority of the material they kind of just give to you and expect you to learn it on your own. There are now weekly tests or assignments, and everything pretty much culminates in two end of the year exams which determine whether you pass or not.
So these are things that I have learned about Oxford so far. On a side note I have decided to play basketball here for the university which should be interesting. We had our first practice yesterday and it is quite different than playing for Rick Pitino. For starters, we don't really have a coach right now because apparently the coach that they had last year got deported back to France and is no longer allowed back in the country for some reason. Go figure. Anyway, that's all I have for now, hope all is well back in the states....