Study Abroad Oxford University

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    Study Abroad Oxford University with CSA

    Oxford is home to one of the most famous and prestigious universities in the world. It has the world’s oldest public museum, Ashmolean Museum, set up in 1683 and the world’s oldest bridge over the River Thames, Radcot Bridge, built by Cistercian monks in 1150. One of the reasons the city wasn’t bombed during WWII was that Hitler was going to use it as his capital if he conquered England. You can take this all in while boating up the Thames surrounded by lush green and historic buildings. Here are 5 fun things to know when studying at Oxford, England.

    1. Get your bearings by climbing Carfax Tower

    Carfax Tower is the center of Oxford and at 74 feet, its tallest building – no building can be higher than it. The tower used to be part of a church that was demolished for road widening in 1896 – back in the horse and cart days. At least the tower wasn’t knocked down because from the top, you get a fantastic view of the Oxford skyline. There are 99 steps to reach the summit – worth every step. After you climb down, go to the east side of the church to hear the clock chimed by two ‘quarter boys’ every quarter hour.

    2. Visit Harry Potter’s dining hall at Christ Church College

    For fans of the Harry Potter films, view the inspiration for the Hogwarts dining hall at Christ Church College. You might also recognize the staircase leading up to the hall that was used in several scenes. Be warned: this is a popular attraction and some visitors don’t believe the wait or entrance fee is worth it. But if you love stained glass windows and a sense of history (ancient and modern), take a look. Other Oxford literary/film claims to fame include Alice, from Alice in Wonderland. Alice Liddell was the daughter of the Dean at Christ Church College who was a friend Lewis Carroll. An interesting sidebar – Lewis Carroll was contacted by Queen Victoria to say she would love to receive more of his books after enjoying Alice in Wonderland. He sent her his most recent release: The Syllabus of Plane Algebraical Geometry.

    3. Shark Sighting on the Roof: Jaws Goes Vertical

    It’s the last thing you’d expect to see in Oxford. Just east of the city is a house with a 25-foot long shark sticking out of its roof. Known as ‘The Headington Shark’, it was commissioned by house owner and radio presenter, Bill Heine, and installed on the 41st anniversary of the atomic bomb dropping on Nagasaki. It was Bill’s comment on nuclear proliferation: “The shark was to express someone feeling totally impotent and ripping a hole in their roof out of a sense of impotence and anger and desperation.” The shark eventually received planning approval: at one point, it was suggested it be relocated to the local swimming pool.

    4. Unleash Your Inner Rev Head at the MINI Cooper Plant

    If you’ve had enough of the library, why not check out a history-laden car plant? With Top Gear a popular British export, there’s likely to be the odd car enthusiast keen to put the figurative pedal to the metal at the MINI Cooper Plant. In a past life, the area was home to the Morris Motor Company – the first car factory in the UK to use Henry Ford-style mass production. It became the British Motor Corporation, British Leyland, Austin Rover, and the Rover Group. Now owned by BMW, the new MINI is made here and you can take a tour of the plant.

    5. See 90% of the World’s Plants at the Botanic Gardens

    Feel renewed at the Botanic Gardens, the oldest botanic garden in Britain. Founded in 1621, its original function was the study of medicinal plants. It’s now home to 8000 different plant species and includes representatives of over 90% of the higher plant families. The gardens were inspiration to Lewis Carroll and JRR Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame, amongst others.

    One last thing: check out the Iffley Road track and add the soundtrack to Chariots of Fire. It’s where Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile in 1954. His time was 3 minutes 59.4 seconds.

    View the Center for Study Abroad Oxford program.