Arriving in London brought on a complete mix of emotions. However, exhaustion after hours of flying did nothing to dull the excitement of being a world away from home and in a beautiful country entirely different from our own. Joyfully, I trudged from the airport to my hotel room where I would spend the night before heading to Oxford.
Even with everything I had heard about England there was nothing that could have prepared me for the beauty of the city. A mix of majestic old buildings intertwined with a more modern aspect was beyond comparable to anything in Australia. Even through the fatigue I immediately began exploring. The Big Ben and London Eye were high on my agenda before simply wandering the city. Having a friend who is now a local allowed me to explore places I wouldn’t have known about such as Camden Lock and the canal. The whole night made me thrilled for what was to come at Oxford. I spent the next morning again touring the city before my train. On my way to see the London Bridge I stumbled upon St Paul’s Cathedral. It was shocking how truly incredible the ancient architecture of the Cathedral is. Staring up at the glistening white building brought on so much inspiration, which will definitely be handy for the upcoming weeks studying Creative Writing at Exeter College, Oxford.
Arriving on campus left me awestruck. Once I finally managed to locate the door to the Porter’s Lodge, the streets and doors aren’t as clearly marked as in Australia, I was immediately greeted with the most incredible view of the campus. Exeter College looking like a castle.
The night was filled with chatter, drinks and amazing food as we all began to get to know each other – everyone was incredibly friendly. We were all here for the same purpose and despite being from entirely different backgrounds everyone seemed to gel almost immediately. This continued on during the week as we all began to learn more about each other in our intimate classes. Each day we have one seminar class and one lecture on a different aspect of critical reading or creative writing. With such enthusiastic and experienced tutors it didn’t take long before we were all inspired to begin spending free time either together discussing ideas or relaxing at a nearby café or park to work on individual stories.
Touring around the city was another highlight of the week. Jack and Joe took the group around to various different sites in Oxford. Each more exciting than the next. Ancient buildings, local pub hotspots, beautiful parks, while telling us interesting stories about the history of each location. These included things such as that at the Turf Pub Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke previously held the Guinness World Record for the fastest drinking of a yard of beer. It took him eleven seconds – he definitely seems more interesting than our current Prime Minister.
Going to classes each day is incredibly enjoyable. The speakers for our lectures always manage to help us leave with so many ideas about our style of writing, our passions, our future careers and what we want to get out of this course. Their energetic lecture styles somehow manage to wake even those still struggling with jetlag in the group. The first lecture gave us a unique perspective on public speaking, followed by lectures on finding an agent and seeking out inspiration. On Thursday we even listened to a charming reading by Professor Lucy Newlyn of some of her poetry.
That night as a group we went on a walk to a local Riverside pub to experience the nightlife that Oxford has to offer. In a beautiful location it was interesting to learn about the experiences of those in the group and to discuss our differing cultures – everyone naturally interested in the Australian ability to shorten every single word possible. It was a great social evening, those of us left at the end deciding to try out a Lola Lo, an interesting tiki bar.
Within the first five days of this course I am already inspired by all the amazing people in the course and can’t wait to see what the next two weeks will bring. We are all especially excited for a trip to Bath we will be taking tomorrow and to further explore this beautiful city.