I really miss Oxford, like to the point where I’m homesick for it. I figured the best way to tackle this homesickness is to write about it! I decided to create this mini-series to not only gush about one of my favorite places in the world but also to share my knowledge of the city in case you ever find yourself there!
A major part of the trip to Oxford was visiting each of the colleges that make up Oxford University. Often times we could connect a specific college of Oxford to one of the books we read for my literature course. (We read Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, Jude the Obscure, Persuasion, Brideshead Revisited and Antony and Cleopatra in a month) There are 38 colleges that make up Oxford University. I visited 11 of them.
The 11 I had the opportunity of touring consisted of All Souls College, Balliol College, Christ Church, Hertford College, Keble College, Magdalen College, Mansfield College, New College, Oriel College, St. John’s College, Trinity College.
The colleges of Oxford are unique in the sense that they are all built in the same quadrangle shape. What this means is that there is a wall in the shape of a square or rectangle. Inside of these walls are the colleges quad or greens. No one is allow on the greens unless they are a student or faculty. Inside this wall consists of a building that is in the shape of a rectangle or square. That building is the dorms where the students stay. The actual dorms themselves are stacked on top of each other with no hallways in between so you just take the stairs to your door to get into your room. Inside the quadrangle also consists of the college’s church, academic buildings and dining hall.
The rooms and buildings above were used as models for Hogwarts Great Hall, outdoor areas, and the Grand Staircase!
What I came to realize over the course of many visits to each of the colleges is that they all look very similar mostly because they were all built around the same time. Now I really appreciated everything that I got to see on this trip but after the 8 college I began to grow tired of seeing buildings that all look the same. A tip for someone who is visiting Oxford and wants to see the colleges, hit the major ones that people have most likely heard of.
No matter what college you get the opportunity to see, keep in mind that they are a place where students study and live and therefore be respectful of the students and the space.