Wish I could fit a baby sheep in my suitcase…

Today we went to Oxford and Blenheim Palace! We started off with traveling on the bus to Oxford.

Upon arriving, I was amazed to see all the old, beautiful buildings. Like Stratford upon Avon, all the buildings were old with beautiful architecture. It was interesting to learn that Oxford has produced 28 prime ministers. Also, I learned that Oxford has 39 different colleges within it. I was expecting Oxford to be completely different. I was expecting it to have a beautiful central campus. However, being made up of 39 different colleges, it does not have a central campus. In order to be accepted to Oxford, you have to be accepted into one of these colleges, and then you are considered a part of the University. At dinner today, the group was wondering how many of us could have been accepted and how hard it really is to be accepted to this prestigious university.

At Oxford, we visited Christ Church. I recognized the Great Hall from Harry Potter, but seeing this hall made me wish I was more of a Harry Potter fan to appreciate it more. It was also interesting to learn about how dinner is served in the Great Hall. Dinner can be served as informal or formal. During the formal dinner, everyone wears gowns. I cannot imagine having a formal dinner like this on our Pitt campus, and I wish I could experience this dinner in Oxford. I found the Meadow Quad to be absolutely beautiful and I can’t imagine something like this being on my college campus.

It was interesting to learn that the sports teams at Christ Church are mixed of both undergraduate and graduate students. I wonder if they have good sports teams. I also learned that Oxford has a total of 12,510 undergraduate students and 13,044 graduate students, which has doubled in recent years. I wonder why the graduate student population has recently doubled. I also wonder if their undergraduate student population is growing like Pitt’s. Also, I learned that the teacher to student ratio at Oxford is 1 to 2 or 3, allowing for a very intensive learning process. I can imagine that the class sizes are very small, and I wonder if the students have good relationships with all their teachers. It was also fascinating to learn that Oxford tuition is 9,250 pounds a year. I never knew that college here was so much cheaper than America. Why are American universities so expensive!!

After spending some time in Christ Church, I went with a group to get lunch in Oxford. We went to this cute Sandwich place, and I got a delicious sandwich on a fresh baguette. We also went to Whittard’s to get some more tea and stopped at a chocolate shop to try out some new chocolate.

After spending time in Oxford, we got on the bus to travel to Blenheim Palace. The palace was absolutely beautiful. I was blown away by how grand it was right upon entering. Walking through the palace, it was fascinating to see all the intricate architecture. I wonder how long it took to fully design this palace. Also, all the rooms had detailed wallpaper, unlike anything I have ever seen before.

It was interesting to learn that they used to eat Peacock and Swan in this palace. I have never heard of people eating these animals before. I also learned that young women would not be considered accomplished if they were unable to draw, embroider, sing, and play the harp. I would not have been successful during this time because there is no way I could successfully do all these things.

After walking through the palace, I went to see the gardens outside. They were absolutely beautiful, and I really enjoyed spending the time walking around outside in the sunshine. After walking through the gardens, we went to see the sheep on the farm. They were so cute, and I wish I could take one home with me!

We then walked to see some more gardens and went to do the maze. When we started the maze, I thought we would easily make it through. However, we ended up getting lost and coming back out the entrance. After this, we walked around the property a little bit more. We found the butterfly house and saw some gorgeous butterflies and plants. After seeing so many gorgeous plants and flowers on this trip, I really want to learn more about plants and start my own garden at home.

After walking around for a while, we headed back to the meeting spot to catch the coach bus with the group. I got some cherry ice cream to end the day, and it was so delicious. On the bus ride back, I looked out the window most of the time, and I really enjoyed seeing the cows, horses, sheep, etc. on the beautiful farms.

I had a lot of fun today, and I am SO excited for London tomorrow!!!! See you at 5 a.m!

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