Oxford: Open Sesame!
August 31, 2012 10:03 AM Subscribe
Visiting researcher (also, a rower) at Oxford- in a land of gated communities- how do I 'get involved'/'dive in'?
posted by iiniisfree to human relations (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'll be in Oxford soon for an extended collaboration. All the logistics (transport/housing/uni cards etc) are squared away (whew). I'll be hosted by a School, but I didn't request affiliation with a specific College (at least for this term). What tips do you have so I make the most of my experience anyway?
Last year when visiting the school, I spoke to a visiting scholar who'd been involved in as many events/social circles/traditions as he could (especially anything with ceremony or black-tie). He explained it wasn't what he'd ever normally do, but he saw it as part of his 'Oxford experience' and a totally unique time in his life. Upon hearing this, another scholar lamented he'd spent much time 'observing' these from afar as a cultural curiosity. He wished he'd pushed himself to be more social and get more involved, but confessed to being intimidated. It occurred to me there was a fine line in respecting the traditions/closed doors and being open/expressing interest/attempting to be active in various communities.
Not to be unrealistic- I know many, many things are not accessible to non-permanent faculty/non-college members... but which ones are? I really appreciated the invites to lunch at the Colleges (as a guest)- is that very common? What are places/experiences/events not-to-be missed? In ostensibly an entire town of 'gated communities', how does one know how/where/when to 'dive in' or get involved without offending tradition? I normally live in a tourist town inundated with people who don't seem to pick-up well on the local norms... there must be funny/ typical Oxford faux pas?
I'm equal parts extrovert & introvert- left to my own devices, (and with a cool new project to work on) I often hole up and time just disappears- like _months_! But Oxford is a much bigger town than I've been living in, I'd love to be much more social, go to evenings & events, meet interesting people etc. Also, I'm newly single and looking forward to meeting new people in a new place.
Lastly, I rowed in undergrad... Div I, so basically, I majored in racing & crew was life to the exclusion of all else- including social life. I'd love to try something lower-key (fun?- yes! fun!), sweep or scull, _as_ something social. The college boathouses are limited to members- but which public clubs are best to inquire with? Are there any public clubs that have higher quality singles for hire? (that's a rowing question ha-ha)
I'm mid/late 30's, female, apartment near to St.Hilda's College/The Plain, also I'm considering a half-marathon so any running routes near town would be awesome!