This is where I live: Oxford. It’s really very lovely.
Oxford is unusual in that the University is run by a collegiate system – the institution is divided into lots of different Colleges. They all have their own character and style.
Above is Jesus College in the warmth of September. Look, England does get sun and blue skies! Promise!
This is Magdalen in the chill of January. (Yes, it’s a Harry Potter corridor!)
My College however is not a quintessential Oxford postcard… but I really love it so I thought I’d show you round!
St Anne’s College is not old and therefore probably (almost definitely) does not look like what you’d imagine when you think of Oxford. But I applied to St Anne’s College because it seemed so friendly and the Tutors were inspiring and approachable. I don’t regret it at all; these continue to be the main reasons why I am so happy at St Anne’s.
St Anne’s has an important history. It was founded in 1879 as ‘The Society of Oxford Home-Students’ – it was a women’s college and non-boarding so that women could board with local families and therefore education was less expensive. Although it is now for men and women, it retains its reputation for being progressive, liberal, and feminist. There are few traditions and only an odd bit of Latin here and there.
Originally College grew by acquiring new Victorian red-brick buildings, and Hartland House (above) was the first purpose-built building in 1937. Since then, new purpose-built buildings have gradually appeared; therefore the architecture is very eclectic. The latest addition will be completed next year!
All Colleges are very strict about their grass. St Anne’s is liberal, so we’re allowed on it in the Trinity (summer) term. Other colleges have specific rules relating to whether or not you’re a Fellow or Tutor, etc.
Biking is an important part of life at Oxford. It’s how I zip around, from class, to lecture, to rehearsal or society meeting.
The College is building a new library which is opening next year and I’m pretty excited. When you spend so much time in the library, it’s hard not to appreciate the sound of a brand new library.
My College also has a café which is such a cute place to go and meet people and chat, or tap away at your laptop over a cup of coffee. No need for Starbucks here!
My room is in a building designed in the 1960s, but I’ve really grown to love the Brutalism. The dark wood makes it feel cosy in here. I have a sink but not an ensuite (which I’ll have next year – v exciting).
A very best friend, Alexandra, whom I have known since we were both aged four, bought me flowers on my birthday. We started Primary School together and have ended up at the same university. It is a small world after all! (You’ll hear more about her soon as she’ll be making a guest appearance on Thinking Japlish!)
It’s such a beautiful bouquet! Bright enough to cheer anyone during an essay crisis.
So there you have it! This where I am right now.
Here’s a video which an alumnus made a couple of years ago. I remember watching it just before I was about to go to St Anne’s and it calmed all my nerves. It really does feel like one of the friendliest places to live in the world.
Taro’s College is pretty different, by the way. He might show you around there another time.