Greetings from Hogwarts! by Ellie Blakeslee
Ellie Blakeslee, CUAdrama junior, is currently studying abroad at Oxford. Even though she has only been there for 2 and half weeks, she updates us on all her grand adventures and all the things she has learned so far while she is there! Keep checking the blog for more updates as the semester continues!
Greetings from Hogwarts!!
Well, not Hogwarts, but pretty close. Parts of Oxford University were used in filming the Harry Potter movies, like Duke Humphrey’s Library, which is in the Bodelian Library where I spend most of my days studying! Duke Humphrey was King Henry V’s brother and donated the library and many of the books in it, which was the beginning of the Bodelian that still exists today. There are millions of books in the Bodelian, which is a good thing because most of the work you do for classes at Oxford is reading for essays. I only have two classes for this term, in which I’m studying Shakespeare’s women and Joan of Arc, but if you think I’ve got a lot of free time, you’d be wrong! Most days I’m in the library reading and writing for about 7+ hours, and as soon as I’ve finished one essay it’s on to the next!
Professors here also have you read your essay aloud to them in your tutorial. It’s a bit terrifying, but there’s no better to make you own your writing, and it definitely does make you proofread your essay before you go to class. Class is mostly talking about the week’s subject and your essay. In my Shakespeare class, my tutor Tom and I discuss the play for most of the hour and only talk about the essay at the end, but in my Joan class, Rowena has me start off reading the essay and conversation goes from there. It’s different, but I’ve grown to love it. I’ve only been here 2 and a half weeks and already I feel like I’ve learned so much! A lot of that comes from all the reading every day.
Here’s my usual view from inside the library. This is just one of seven reading rooms within the Bodelian, which are usually pretty full because you can’t actually borrow books from the Bod. The dome you can see through the window is the top of the Radcliffe Camera, which is also part of the Bodelian (“camera” here is the Latin definition meaning “room”).
There are also libraries within each college of Oxford. Colleges are a bit like houses of Hogwarts. You live there (though I, as a visiting student, don’t), eat meals in the dining hall, and have access to the library, from which you can borrow books. I’m in Trinity College, which is one of the smaller colleges but infinitely beautiful. And our library is open to students 24/7
365 days a year! That comes in handy when you’ve got an essay due in the morning and you haven’t finished.
This is the courtyard outside of the Trinity library. Surprisingly enough it was noon when I took this photo, despite the shadows. The sun never gets above about 45 degrees above the horizon this time of year! And though it doesn’t rain every day, it is definitely cold.
Here are some things I’ve learned while in Oxford:
– Baths are lovely and don’t have to take much longer than a shower.
– Baths are preferable to showers because showers consist of a choice between the frigid waters of Niagara Falls or the fires of Mordor.
– Hot water runs out when the bath is about half full, so you better be paying attention so you don’t end up with a cold bath.
-The tea is better than the coffee.
-It’s quite easy to get to London, and you can get anything in London.
-Despite having a variety of opinions, beliefs, and backgrounds, the people you live with become your friends.
These are the people I live with at one of our house dinners. We’re studying a wide variety of subjects, and because we’ve all been placed together, we’re friends despite being very different. As worried as I was about coming to a country where I knew no one and starting an unfamiliar program, I now have friends I might otherwise not have made and I’m glad of it.
Travel here is incredibly easy. Last weekend our OSAP abroad program took a day trip to London on the bus, and the Oxford Rail Station has trains every half hour that go to London, and in London you can get trains to almost anywhere. Also in London are some friends you’ll recognize! Lauren, Lindsay, Noah, Kenny, and Emma are studying at London Dramatic Academy, and we met up for lunch while I was there!
This weekend I’m off to Paris! I figure you only turn 21 in Europe once, so why not? Be on the lookout for pictures on Facebook and Instagram.
Signing off from Hogwarts!
That’s me now me on La Grande Roue (which is a Ferris wheel near the louvre) with the Eiffel Tower in the background!