Cherwell House Summer Blogs

Sunday 28th July to Saturday 10th August

Thursday 8th August 2019


After our normal routine of classes and independent study this morning, we had a quick lunch before another attempt at punting, after our rather wet attempt on Tuesday.



Luckily, the weather behaved for us today, so we all hopped in some punts by the beautiful Magdalen Bridge. Some students took to it like ducks to water, with Delta, Goncalo and Rushien showing a particular knack for it, where others quickly realised that this activity wasn’t for them, but they could all enjoy the experience of being punted for. Despite Rushien’s skills, she still ended up having an unexpected – and somewhat unwelcome – dip in the river, along with Simran and Hassan!




We then ran quickly off to the Oxford Union for a wonderful masterclass on debating, that saw Delta and Amisha win the Balloon Debates as Nick Fury and Iron Man. We also saw some lively debates on the sugar tax, which saw Adam, Banu, Eva, Hassan and Jingyi go through to the finals. Mitch gave another masterclass on the importance of dialogue, which culminated in a very relaxing meditation, showing how important it is to stay calm when having difficult conversations.



After a lovely dinner of burritos, our finalists took the stage to debate whether we should have a universal income. While the opposition won, great points were made all round, making the Cherwell team very proud of our students!





Wednesday 7th August 2019


Ready for a jam-packed day of activities, our students headed off for classes as usual. However, today’s class held something special in store for our Young Doctors, who dissected kidneys in class today!

After classes, we all headed off to Blenheim Palace for our final trip day of the summer school. After some free time in the extensive grounds, we went inside to look around Winston Churchill’s birthplace. Impressed by the grand interior, Abdallah commented on how much exercise you’d get just walking to the kitchen!



Once we finished our tour of the Palace, Eva and Kira went searching for the tree where they filmed some scenes for Harry Potter. On our way back, they excitedly showed all their photos to everyone.

After a quick turnaround, we all got dressed up and devoured some lovely pizza before leaving for the famous OSA Ball! As soon as we got on board the boat, our Cherwell students immediately got on the dance floor, quickly encouraging Lampl to join in. The boys all joined in a circle to dance to some of Drake’s songs, but as soon as the Macarena and Cha Cha Slide came on, everyone got involved in a perfect synchronisation. Mazin danced the night away, involving as many people as possible, when Amisha was teaching everyone some traditional Indian dance moves!



Out of breath, but with smiles on our faces, we headed home to finish off the pizzas and grab some sleep before our next fun-filled day.







Tuesday 6th August 2019


In the afternoon, we met at the Blavatnik School of Government ready for a fun afternoon of punting and outdoor games. However, the weather had other ideas, with us all getting to experience the water a lot sooner than expected. After we all got soaked in a rainstorm, we quickly dispersed for free time with the promise of another punting session in the near future, with most students cleverly deciding on sheltering in the nearest cafes they could find.



Having had a chance to dry off, we reunited ready for a lovely barbeque at Wolfson College, where Delta serenaded us beautifully on the piano. Brendan then led a friendship bracelet making session, which quickly attracted a large crowd. Some students were so focussed on their bracelets, that they brought them to the Pursuit of Happiness masterclass, presented by Michael Plant, on learning the importance of mindfulness and being in touch with yourself.



With the hopes of better weather for our trip to Blenheim Palace and our OSA Ball tomorrow, we headed off to bed.








Monday 5th August 2019


Having had their usual mornings of classes and independent study, our students embarked on their Success Masterclasses. The first session was on dealing with failure, where Mitch, our IRL tutor, got everyone thinking about what failure actually is, by asking about Vincent Van Gogh and Beethoven. Everyone got really involved, expressing their views, with Simran especially impressing Mitch, by saying that failure is failing to make yourself happy. Abdallah also blew people’s minds, by saying that if you’ve got everything but are unhappy, then you’re not successful, as it would be like a bird trapped in a cage that’s provided with food and safety but is not in control of its life and so that can’t be success.



Our second masterclass, “Setting Yourself Up for Success”, started off with the Marshmallow Experiment, leading the students to think about what their “marshmallow” in life would be and when they would get it. While most students agreed that they would be able to enjoy their marshmallows at retirement, Banu came up with the brilliant line, “there are smaller marshmallows along the way”.



After a lovely takeaway from Itsu, we headed off to watch an unusual production of The Tempest, which started off with us on a cruise and led us on a hands-on, scavenger hunt-style adventure around Oxford, featuring, spirits and even zombies! Poor Amisha was terrified and screamed whenever a zombie jumped out at us.



Happy but tired, we headed home to rest before another exciting day at OSA!






Sunday 4th August 2019


After enjoying a relaxing lie-in, we headed off to a lovely brunch at Corpus Christi, where our students got to experience the delights of a traditional Full English breakfast. They then had free time in the city, with an option to visit the shopping outlet, Bicester Village. This was – perhaps unsurprisingly – the favourite option, with all bar three of our students choosing to go. Coming back laden with shopping bags, we hurried off to the amazing rooftop terrace at Malmaison, in the Oxford Castle, to meet the new Lampl arrivals for a barbeque.



However, we quickly had to rush inside, when our students started to experience the typical British weather – rain. We got to know the other house really quickly with the help of some icebreaker games, including Splat, the Human Knot and Name Aerobics, to the point that when it was time to leave, the two groups were already hugging each other goodbye!









Saturday 3rd August 2019


Another busy day for the students at Cherwell House! After an early breakfast it was time to begin the Hero Sessions. All our students had small meetings within their class groups with a hero of that field. As an example, our Young Doctors had the opportunity to discuss with a paediatric consultant, while our Enterprise students spent some time with the CEO of a social enterprise aiming to get elderly citizens more active through community hip-hop classes.




Once the morning classes were over it was time for the students to explore Oxford. Much shopping and sight-seeing was done and the students were grateful to head to dinner at Pizza Express later in the evening. Rounding off the day was OSA’s Got Talent! It was fascinating to see the many talents that our students possess. From Eva recalling all the capital cities in Europe, to Hassan showing off his NBA fact file knowledge, Lukas wowing us with his magic tricks, and Amisha’s beautiful dancing, the show culminated in Delta performing an astounding improvised dance routine to an absolutely stunned crowd. We have an amazingly talented group of students at Cherwell House and we are so proud of them!








Friday 2nd August 2019


Nearing the end of the first week of classes, our students put their new-found knowledge to the test in their challenges. Our Young Doctors got to go to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, to interview real-life patients to try to diagnose them and practice the skill of taking a patient history. They all threw themselves at this exciting, new opportunity, while the Psychology students embarked on a more long term project that involved creating their own psychological surveys. They’ll then analyse the results of these surveys and write them up into a full report.



The Discover Business students teamed up with Jaden from Engineering, to create two identical rockets made from plastic bottles that they then had to create a pitch for to try to sell as many as possible. Anton, Sahar and Jaden all made their tutors laugh by using a picture of Buzz Lightyear as inspiration! 

At the end of their Challenge, they pitched their presentation to the Enterprise students, who had to create a presentation for their own enterprise; trying to pick the simplest idea possible, they chose to pitch a cardboard bottle of water. They quickly realised that making a company from scratch was so much harder than it seemed, when they had a laughing fit after realising they had been working with the Imperial system instead of the metric, for almost an hour, but they quickly fixed this, to deliver an amazing presentation to the Discover Business students.



International Relations and Leadership students enjoyed an exciting afternoon participating in their very own Model United Nations. Abdallah went head-to-head with our Head of House, Mary, on the pros and cons of worldwide peace, leaving Mary well and truly beaten afterwards!

Our Young Lawyers headed to Oxford Crown Court for a mock trial to discuss whether a case was GBH (grievous bodily harm). After a lengthy interrogation, which left both cross-examiners apologising to Jessie, who had been acting as two witnesses, for making her so nervous with their intensive questioning, Banu and Feaban for the prosecution won, with the court finding that it was a case of GBH.



Exhausted after an intense day, we all settled down to dinner and a quiz in the evening, featuring baby photos of our very own Activities Coordinators and Head of House.






Thursday 1st August 2019


After a busy morning of classes and independent study work, we headed off to the Old Fire Station for OSA’s very own Social Impact Conference, with speakers from Oxford based charities, including Keen and Oxford Hub. Everyone threw themselves into the conference enthusiastically, with Hassan revealing that he’d helped his school raise over $35,000 for a charity through one event!



Eva and Amelia also got involved when Rupert, from Keen, introduced his Share One World ambassador scheme, by volunteering to help spread Keen’s message of the importance of inclusivity to schools around the world.



During the Q&A session, Maria, Jingyi and Adam got very involved by asking questions about the difficulties of starting a social impact enterprise and advice on how to get involved.



When asked to think about issues they would like to help tackle and skills they had that could help, we had some amazing answers, including bake sales, basketball matches and counselling to help raise money to combat issues like racism, bullying and climate change. After a quick turnaround, we all headed over to the Wig and Pen to experience some classic British food in a pub, with Anton educating everyone on the delights of fish and chips and Delta showing off her plaiting skills by expertly plaiting Anton’s hair!



 Filled to the brim with delicious food, we headed back to Cherwell to rest up for our next action packed day of the summer school.







Wednesday 31st July 2019


Today was our first trip day to Windsor! After a very sleepy coach trip to the lovely town of Windsor, some of our students stayed by the Queen Victoria statue to watch the Changing of the Guard – a traditional parade of Beefeaters, the Queen’s Guards. Our students then all quickly dispersed to make the most of their free time in the beautiful town. Lots of our students came back laden with shopping bags, with Eva looking like she’d spent half of her money on books!



We then set off to see the Castle, which as Brendan reliably informed his students is the largest inhabited fortress in Britain. Our students took their time going round, learning about everything the castle had to offer with the help of their audio guides, including St. George’s Chapel, where Prince Harry and Meghan got married last year, and where King Henry VIII is buried! After a little bit more free time, during which almost everyone got ice cream, we hopped on the coach and headed home.

After a great meal at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, we had a lovely evening in the house celebrating Jacqueline’s birthday, before we all headed off to bed.






Tuesday 30th July 2019


Our second full day at the Oxford Scholastica Academy did not resemble the summer weather that OSA had been getting used to. Rain scattered overhead for most of the day, but the one positive for this was the students rushing to get inside and be extra on time for their relevant activities!

Students spent the morning settling into their new routine, of breakfast, classes at the Blavatnik School of Government (the Politics Faculty of Oxford University), Independent Study time, and lunch. After lunch the afternoon activity was a series of masterclasses given by one of our veteran tutors, and qualified barrister, Simran. Simran spoke to the students about planning for the future, both academically speaking and in broader life terms. This talk was followed by an informative lecture on the process of applying for UK universities.



The day concluded with dinner of the students’ choice at the Westgate centre, followed by a movie night in Cherwell House. In true British fashion the students watched Johnny English, an excellent introduction for many to the unique brand of humour that the UK is known for.





Monday 29th July 2019


After a nice rest, our students started their classes bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. On the walk back from classes, one student was overheard saying that his International Relations and Leadership tutor, Mitch, was like a god, comparing him to “Dead Poets’ Society”.



Once everyone had had a chance to explore Oxford on their lunch break, we set off on our guided tours, which included pitstops at the Radcliffe Camera, the Bodleian Library, the Bridge of Sighs and most importantly, the Fudge Kitchen! Even Oxford local, Simran, was surprised by some of the facts the group learned on the tour, while Maria was giving her own private tour at the back of the group with her expertise of the historic city. Along the way, we stopped in the historic Covered Market for some Ben’s Cookies, Moomoo’s Milkshakes, and Bubbleology Bubble Tea – although Jacqueline wasn’t 100% convinced about the latter.



Our students then set off on their Scavenger Hunts, which took them round some of the more obscure locations, and involved the challenge of drawing a member of our team as a gargoyle! They all loved the competitiveness of the house point system, which led to them running back home, completely out of breath!

After a lovely dinner at Wagamama’s, we settled in for a relaxing evening with ice cream from the famous G&D’s, an Oxford institution.




Sunday 28th July 2019


Our final summer school started with a bang, with all our students arriving promptly to a warm welcome of fudge and soft drinks. One absence, however, was Lukas’ suitcase, that had its own separate quest to Cherwell College!

Some of our students, Amisha and Abdallah, started playing boules outside in the sun while waiting for everyone else to arrive. Adam then took it upon himself to act as one of our Activities Coordinators, by starting up his own icebreaker games, including a game that involved remembering everyone’s names and an animal that started with the same letter. While this worked well, Mazin now gets referred to as Monkey!



After our lovely barbeque, our team of Activities Coordinators, Brendan, Caitlin and Jessie, started their own icebreaker games, including a lively game of splat, another rendition of the animal-name game and a very long game of Sardines, that had Brendan hiding in the lift for 20 minutes before he gave up on being found and came out of hiding.

We then rounded off our first day with our first evening briefing of the summer school, followed by our tired cohort of students traipsing off to bed after an exciting but tiring first day.