Oxford visit: culture

This post isn’t meant to get into the major culture differences between the U.S. and England, but rather to point out some of the funny little things I noticed.  Oxford of course is a very old university, and with that comes many traditions.  This definitely includes the “college” system.  There are something like 39 colleges within the University at Oxford.  And not in the figurative sense, like the “college of agriculture and life sciences” is here.  They are standalone entities usually complete with a number of dormatories, dining hall, church, bar etc.  For my visit I stayed at Keble college.  Not one of the oldest, but one of the largest, and my building was recently renovated.  Anyway I snapped some pictures of the happenings at the colleges.

The first is the formal attire worn by the students.  Luckily I was there during exam week, otherwise I may not have noticed.  What you are looking at above are the required outfits for taking exams.  The students dress in black suits, complete with a white bow tie, and then additionally have a robe that drapes over the back.  There are also flowers on their lapel – different colored flowers for the different stages of exams.  I also learned that the students dress like this at their super fancy formal dinners.

The above picture is of the quad at Keble college.  In addition to having perfectly mowed grass, it very often had a bunch of students playing on it.  Here a couple of lads are having a go at croquet.

This was taken looking off the Magdalen bridge.  I’m not sure what these are called other than Punts, but they are use for the activity known as “punting”.  Also not sure why its called that.  From what I gather, people get into these boats and can either go with the “self-drive” or “chauffered” version.  These I’m sure everyone has seen, you push them along the river with a large stick.  I’m actually excited to try this with Chelsea sometime.

In addition to soccer and cricket, I also saw a number of students playing the above game.  I have no idea if its an official game, or if the students were just bored and made due with what they had, but I watched for a bit.  From what I could tell, they stand in two lines and toss the soccerballs into the basket, much like shooting dueling free throws.  Except when they miss the initial shot they just scoop it up and try to toss it in again as fast as they can from anywhere.  No defense.  Anyone have a better idea what this game may be?

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