Over March Break, many Deerfield students travelled around the world on various school-sponsored trips, one of which was the Oxford trip. Accompanied by Ms. Fan, Mr. Nilsson and Ms. Steim, a group of 15 seniors spent two weeks in England.
The students were fully engaged with their surroundings. Upon reflecting on the trip, Ms. Fan said, “The students seemed enthralled, not only with Oxford as a place and Exeter College as an atmospheric and authentic setting, but also with the lectures and trips.”
The typical day consisted of breakfast in the Exeter College dining hall—“which was gorgeous!” said Elena Jones ’14—followed by one or two lectures by Oxford professors. Jones added, “The lecturers were so passionate about their subjects, and it was great to learn from them.”
Tina Monroe ‘14, another member of the trip, echoed Jones’ thoughts and said, “I was surprised at how interesting each lecture was, and the city of Oxford was just as or even more magical than writers described it in the books we read prior to our visit.”
The trip to England was also a bonding experience for everyone on the trip, and students agree that the group dynamic was special. “At night, we bonded over cards and board games,” said Jones.
“My favorite part of the trip,” said Monroe, “was spending time walking around the stone wall [around the city] and going out for ice cream or to a bakery during our free time with people I had never really bonded with.”
Not only did the group attend lectures, but they also went on outings, which included a trip to London. When asked what the best part of the trip was, Ms. Fan responded, “hard to say what was the best part—[there were] so many contending moments. Romping on the grass of Avebury Stone Circle? Taking the pilgrimage to Stratford and attending the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies? Listening to the terrific questions and comments of our students during our daily lectures? The students were wonderful throughout.”
The trip was part of the senior Honors Literature Oxford class, with students preparing since the beginning of the year, focusing on English authors and making decisions about activities. According to Ms. Fan, “the students prepared by reading poetry by some of the great British poets, particularly those who studied or stayed in Oxford, like Arnold, Yeats, and Eliot, and by reading texts that were set in Oxford and London, like Waugh’s Bridehead Revisited (only the Oxford part) and Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Occasionally we [even] looked at websites like the London Tube system.”