Oxford | Pre-College

Join us in Oxford for an insider’s experience of England on this Pre-College summer program for high school students. Broaden your horizons with in-depth, field-based seminars as you become part of an inspiring and supportive community of instructors and students from around the world. Choose two seminars and dive into your subject matter through engaging discussions, site visits, and hands-on projects that immerse you in British life.

Dates:
July 13, 2019  –  August 2, 2019
Eligibility:
Completing grades 9 – 12
US Gateway City:
New York
Focus:
Pre-College
Duration:
21 days
Typical Group:
30 – 40 students, 5 – 8 staff
Tuition:
$ 7,290 + airfare

Highlights

  • Investigate the artifacts at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum with your British History seminar
  • See the Royal Shakespeare Company perform in Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Hone your photography skills in the nearby Cotswolds
  • Punt on the Cherwell River as you float past Oxford’s Botanic Gardens
  • Visit 10 Downing Street with your International Relations seminar on an excursion to London

Leader Profile: SASHA MILONOVA

Education: London School of Economics, M.S., Political Economy of Late Development, Chapman University, B.A., Economics and Peace Studies, minor in Spanish

Sasha recently earned her master’s in political economy of late development from the London School of Economics, focusing on transitional economies and global inequality. Prior… read more

Sasha recently earned her master’s in political economy of late development from the London School of Economics, focusing on transitional economies and global inequality. Prior to coming to the LSE, Sasha spent several years working in Southeast Asia, first as a documentary filmmaker and later as an English teacher and business consultant for small, women-led social enterprises. Upon returning to the U.S., she served as the chief of staff to a Colorado state senator and then as a regional affiliate director for an international education organization called the PeaceJam Foundation, which connects youth to Nobel Peace Laureates and service learning opportunities. Sasha holds a joint bachelor’s degree in economics and peace studies (cum laude) from Chapman University, which awarded her the highest departmental honor in peace studies for academic excellence, as well as the Paul Delp Award for outstanding service to Orange County. Sasha is fluent in both Russian and Spanish, and has led Putney’s community service programs in Vietnam and Costa Rica.

Itinerary

Departure • Travel Day • Meet your fellow high school student travelers and a Pre-College representative at JFK Airport in New York, and fly together to London. Travel together with Pre-college staff on a chartered bus from London to Oxford. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Our Oxford Campus Reside on the historic campus of University College, one of Oxford University’s most prestigious campuses and arguably its oldest. Notable alumni include President Bill Clinton, Stephen Hawking, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Founded in 1249, University College is centrally situated within walking distance of Oxford’s iconic institutions, including the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums, the Bodleian Library, the Sheldonian Theatre, and Christ Church Cathedral. From this base, experience university life as you immerse yourself in the rich history and modern life of Oxford.  

Seminars • Choose two seminars—a major and a minor—and explore Oxford and the surrounding English countryside through the lens of your chosen seminars. Begin with classroom discussions that frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues. Take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits, meetings with local experts, and field trips. Capped at ten students, our dynamic seminars are designed to encourage hands-on, place-based, collaborative learning. Contemplate archaeological treasures at the Ashmolean or Pitt Rivers Museum, explore an ancient Roman villa in the nearby Cotswolds, and follow in the footsteps of Lewis Carroll or J.R.R. Tolkien among the magical gardens of Oxford’s venerable colleges. Head out with your photo or drawing seminar to capture the city’s towering spires. Sketch the Radcliffe Camera or the flora at the Botanic Gardens. Explore Churchill’s country palace at Blenheim with your International Relations seminar, and later visit his underground War Rooms during the final excursion to London. At the end of your program, showcase your work in a final project, installation, gallery, or performance. Display your photography or paintings in a pop-up gallery, present your findings from your International Business seminar, or share a piece of writing with your group.

Afternoon and Evening Activities • Explore subjects outside of your seminars, relax, and have fun participating in enriching, afternoon activities. Go punting on the Cherwell River, join a game of cricket, or discuss current events with locals in downtown Oxford. Participate in the British tradition of afternoon tea, and catch a Royal Shakespeare Company performance at Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon. Rent bikes and explore Oxford’s winding roads and gardens on two wheels. After dinner at University College’s dining hall, venture out in the company of your instructors to see a dance or musical performance, take in a comedy show, hone your photography skills during a night shoot, or stay in for a movie night or talent show at the residence.

Weekend Excursions • On weekend excursions, travel to the surrounding towns and countryside to see a different region of England with your peers and instructors. Explore the monoliths of Stonehenge at dusk, or visit the Roman ruins in the ancient city of Bath. Hike, bike, or explore market towns in the Cotswolds. End your program with an exciting, multi-day excursion in London. Visit Westminster Abbey and Parliament, take in the artistic masterpieces at the Tate Modern, and photograph the Tower Bridge at sunset. Visit 10 Downing Street, headquarters of the U.K. government, and the London Stock Exchange. Wander through the food stalls at Borough Market or try fish and chips in Hyde Park, and enjoy a play in the West End.

Return • Travel Day Fly from London to New York with your group and a Pre-College representative, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

A DAY IN THE LIFE: LONDON

8 AM Breakfast on campus
10 AM Meet with your Major Seminar
1 PM Lunch out with friends
2 PM Meet with your Minor Seminar
4 PM Play a pick-up game of soccer or take a bike ride through town
5 PM Explore the area around campus—rest, relax, and regroup at your residence
6:30 PM Community meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule
7:30 PM Enjoy dinner at our college and see a play in town

Seminars

Choose a major and a minor seminar. Majors meet three to four days per week and minors meet one to two days per week and on select afternoons. Capped at ten students, seminars are serious but fun, encouraging immersive, place-based learning. Frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues in the classroom. Take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits in and around Oxford that add context and depth to the course material. Cap off your studies with a final project or installation to share your work.

Major Seminars (Click the seminar title to read the full description)

Art History: Art Through the Ages

This interactive course in art history uses the bountiful artistic treasures of Europe as a starting point. Study world-renowned painting and sculpture in some of the world’s oldest and greatest museums, including the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the National Gallery, and the Tate Modern in London. Use slides to begin discussing classic works before visiting them, and consider these works from an art historical perspective: For whom were they painted or sculpted? What was their historical and cultural milieu? How did artistic styles evolve through the ages in England, France, and Italy? What lessons can art teach us about the world we live in today? This seminar is enriched by a closer look at the contemporary art scene, with visits to local galleries and meetings with artists in their studios.

Business & Economics

What makes a business succeed in today’s market and what are the steps taken between identifying a need and opening your (real or virtual) doors? This hands-on course begins by explaining the economic playing field on which firms operate, with discussions of supply and demand, regulations and free trade, international trade, and currency flows. Examine England’s role and the implications on business practices of Britain’s exit from the European Union. Through role-playing, discussions, field trips, and lectures, consider the practical aspects of business, including management, finance, marketing, advertising, public relations, organizational psychology, corporate leadership and culture, and business ethics. Working together as a team, put what you have learned into practice as you research, develop, and pitch your own small business.

British History: Roman Origins Through WWII

Experience England’s history firsthand as you travel back in time in this interactive seminar. Each day offers a unique glimpse into the past that shaped the country we see today. From Oxford’s storied halls of learning, to the mysterious monoliths of Stonehenge, to the Roman ruins of Bath, to Churchill’s estate at Blenheim Palace, England is a living museum with countless opportunities to experience its rich legacy. Marvel at the ethnographic treasures of the Pitt Rivers Museum and dig into the photograph and manuscript collections at the Ashmolean Museum. On trips to London, visit the world-class British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon Marbles, and discuss the controversy surrounding their removal from their place of origin. Visit Westminster Abbey, walk among the tombs and effigies of Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and Queen Elizabeth I, and wander the eerie halls of the Tower of London. To cap your experience, sketch a timeline map of Oxford, create a historical narrative of your favorite site, or interview a local historian on the time period of your choice.

Photography

Designed for photographers of all skill levels, this course teaches the basics of photography and composition before diving into more advanced shooting techniques and editing instruction. Whether your passion is portrait, landscape, adventure, or abstract photography, build your confidence and nurture your creativity through one-on-one workshops with your instructor and group critiques. Review other photographers’ work, and develop the visual and technical skills to capture the essence of the people and places you encounter. Discuss and explore the implications of digital manipulation in an age dominated by the power of the image, collaborate on projects with other seminars, and curate a gallery showing of your newly created portfolio. Students are responsible for bringing their own digital camera, which should have the option of being operated in manual mode. There is a $125 supplemental fee for this course.

International Relations & the EU

As European nations progress from monetary to political unification, they become an undeniable powerhouse on the international scene. England, however, finds itself both intimately tied to the ever-evolving European experiment, and also set apart as it retains an independent currency and navigates its exit from the European Union. Examine the larger issues of European integration or disunion, and its influence on the rest of the world, while exploring the economic challenges these options pose for British commerce. Guest lecturers and field visits lend insight into the major political and economic institutions of England, such as 10 Downing Street, Parliament, the House of Windsor, the Bank of England, and the London Stock Exchange.

Romantic Literature

The Romantic era in literature, which flourished during the first decades of the 1800s, was an artistic, literary, and cultural movement characterized by a deep connection to nature, individual thought, and emotion. In this course, delve into the works of renowned Romantic poets and novelists, from Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge, to Keats, Byron, and Shelley. Discuss the role of women in the Romantic movement, including Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Explore themes of freedom, the natural world, and even the supernatural, the occult, and transcendence as you immerse yourself in the landscape and countryside that inspired these writers. Discover why Oxford University has long been a center for the study of the Romantic period. Meet with Romantic-era scholars, and analyze the legacy of Romanticism and its continued influence on literature today.

Minor Seminars (Click the seminar title to read the full description)

Drawing & Sketching

As travelers through the ages have discovered, sketching is a way to permanently etch in one’s mind the memory of a place. This field-heavy course takes students throughout historic Oxford and the surrounding countryside, pencil, charcoal, or watercolor in hand, to record their experiences through a series of drawings and sketches. Exploring the iconic sights and hidden corners of this inspiring city, students develop and refine their artistic vision, working on portraiture and landscape rendering alike. Taught by a practicing artist, students learn to constructively evaluate their own and their classmates’ work through regular critiques and conversations that complement opportunities for drawing and sketching. Field visits to area museums, gardens, and cultural sites lend inspiration. This course is meant for students wishing to hone their artistic skills as well as those who simply hope to try their hand at a new medium. Prepare a personal portfolio and present your work at a program-wide gallery opening at the end of the session.

Creative Writing: The Travel Journal

Whether you want to write your first novel or create a poem that captures a specific emotion or experience, this dynamic workshop-style course is a step toward finding your voice and pushing your boundaries as a creative writer. Through personalized, field-based exercises led by published authors, develop skills in the genre of your choosing while exploring important craft challenges such as dialogue, imagery, narrative structure, word choice, theme, and storytelling technique. Draw inspiration from your surroundings, the places you go, and the people you meet. Share your work and receive valuable feedback from your peers and instructor. Host a celebratory final reading and present your best pieces to the Pre-College community.

Globalization & Human Rights

As the economies, political philosophies, and cultures of sovereign nations integrate into a single, interdependent system, globalization takes root. This course examines how the globalization process and the economic, cultural, and political forces feeding it are contributing to our shrinking world. Examine how ideas of democratization, inclusion, and equality are informing an emerging understanding of universal human rights. Through engaging readings and discussions, explore the key issues that define globalization, including the flow of trade, capital, and people across borders. What constitutes human rights, and how do we value them? How do cultural norms and history influence our views about human rights, and what role should international law play in the process? How does today’s social justice movement play a part in the debate? Through site visits, meet with individuals and NGOs to learn how organizations are approaching these complex issues and what role you can play in the discourse.

Marketing & Media

What makes a targeted ad on Facebook successful? Why are buyers loyal to a particular brand of shampoo or jeans? In this dynamic, hands-on course, begin by learning about “The Five P’s”—the principles and strategies behind marketing and advertising, which have now expanded to include platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and more. Investigate the rapidly changing methods of marketing and how we, as consumers and global citizens, respond to and digest this information. Delve into the psychology behind the decisions businesses make to successfully market their products. Examine trends and brainstorm innovative and creative ideas for the future of the field. Working in teams, research a local company’s approach to marketing and come up with a new plan to improve their business strategy. Collaborate with other seminars and pitch your ideas in the “boardroom” at the end of the program.

Travel Photography

Designed for photographers of all skill levels, this course teaches the basics of photography and composition before diving into more advanced shooting techniques and editing instruction. Whether your passion is portrait, landscape, adventure, or abstract photography, build your confidence and nurture your creativity through one-on-one workshops with your instructor and group critiques. Review other photographers’ work, and develop the visual and technical skills to capture the essence of the people and places you encounter. Discuss and explore the implications of digital manipulation in an age dominated by the power of the image, collaborate on projects with other seminars, and curate a gallery showing of your newly created portfolio. Students are responsible for bringing their own digital camera, which should have the option of being operated in manual mode. There is a $100 supplemental fee for this course.

What to Expect

Seminars • Seminars are interactive and collaborative, taking advantage of the vast cultural and historical richness of Oxford to enhance your experience. You can expect to meet with local and regional experts, artists, entrepreneurs, and guest speakers during the program. Each seminar works toward a final project—a short film, a business proposal, a performance piece, a gallery opening, or a dramatic reading, to give a few examples—which you present to fellow participants on the final night of the program. Parents and families are welcome to attend this final presentation!

Physical Activity • This is a physically active summer program. You can expect to spend most of each day outside and on the move with your seminar group, and to walk the streets of Oxford or London, or explore by foot at destinations beyond. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

Accommodations • In Oxford, we stay in a dormitory at University College,a constituent college of Oxford University, in private singles, doubles, or triples, each with bathrooms en suite. In London, we will stay at a centrally located dormitory residence. Students have access to common space for class and community meetings and socializing. Leaders reside in the same residence as students throughout the program.

Meals • We begin each day with a hearty English breakfast at our dormitory in Oxford University. For lunches, seminars or small groups may eat together either at restaurants or head to a local market to shop for a picnic. Dinners are eaten in the dining hall of University College.

Ask Us

Call Alex at 802.387.5000 or email alex@goputney.com

The Pre-College Oxford program is directed by Alex Bodel. If you have questions, are interested in receiving more detailed information, or would like to talk further about the program or any of our summer student travel programs, please get in touch!

Alexandra Bodel

Dartmouth College, B.A., Romance Languages, B.A., Environmental Biology; University of Miami School of Law, J.D.

Originally from Miami, Alex spent childhood summers in Argentina and Uruguay, her parents’ home countries. During college, she studied abroad in Toulouse, France, and Baja, Mexico. After completing her law degree, Alex clerked for a federal judge and worked as a litigator in New York City. She has led or coordinated programs in Spain, Costa Rica, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the Indian Himalaya, Nepal, and Pre-College at Amherst College. Alex directs our Pre-College programs. During her free time, Alex enjoys yoga, running, and relaxing with her family. Alex is fluent in Spanish and proficient in French.