Live and Learn at the Oxford Summer School

The Beatles – Shakespeare – Henry VIII – Cotswold Towns

A suggestion for your first and best new year’s resolution: learn something!  Consider a vacation this summer at England’s legendary Oxford University, surely the oldest (almost a thousand years,) most prestigious and eternally elegant in the English-speaking world.

The vast and varied menu of more than 60 summer courses, called “The Oxford Experience,” is an intellectual smorgasbord – - heavy and light, serious and amusing, indoors and out, across a variety of disciplines, and open to everyone. No requirements, no exams and no papers. All classes are taught by friendly tutors and usually limited to 12 students:

Charles Dickens • Paradise in an English Garden • From Rasputin to Putin • Cathedrals of Britain • The Victorian and Edwardian Home • The Gothic Novel • Alice’s Adventures in Oxford • The Operas of Verdi •  The Indian Empire • Political Philosophy • 20th-Century Poetry • Spies in British Fiction… and more.

Live and study at Christ Church, one of the most prestigious and beautiful of the 40 Oxford colleges.  Dine in the ultra-aristocratic Hall which attained celebrity stardom in the Harry Potter films. Sleep well in good dorms.

Most courses also offer excursions to stately homes, cathedrals, museums, tours of Christ Church and the city of Oxford. In the evenings: a pub crawl, a special lecture, wine and croquet in the Master’s Garden, the vetty British “Morris Dancers,” or Evensong in the college chapel which is the Oxford Cathedral. All enjoy the college gardens, riverside walks in Christ Church Meadow and boating on the Thames (known as the “Isis” in Oxford).

Summer students range in age from 25 to 85, though the average is about 60 and the mix is cosmopolitan: Europeans, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Asians and lots of Americans and Canadians.  Some sign up for two or three weeks and many have been returning for 10-or-more years.

A one-week course costs approximately $1,885 (extras for excursions and rooms with private bath.)  Tuition, accommodations and all meals (a full English breakfast, buffet lunch and a served three-course dinner) are included.  Everyone dines together in the legendary Hall and on one night during the week each participant is invited to wine and dine at High Table. The last night, everyone dresses up and gathers for champagne in the flowering Cathedral Garden and a celebratory farewell dinner.

Their very popular summer session runs from June 30 to August 10, 2013, Sundays to Saturdays. Registration deadline is May 1, but early application is urged as courses fill quickly. Please use the following site for information and registration forms:, or send a snail with mail to The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA, U.K.