Student Blog

Studying Abroad in the UK! #03 Oxford in Winter

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Hello, everyone! My name is Natsuki, and I was an exchange student at Oxford Brookes University in England during the fall semester of 2023! This time, I would like to share my experiences living in the historic university town of Oxford during the holidays while studying abroad! If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out my previous articles, #01 Preparation and #02 Living!

Walking around the Center of Oxford Town

A stroll into the heart of Oxford was just what I needed to rejuvenate myself. After crossing Magdalen Bridge, a 20-minute walk from the campus, the ambiance of the town begins to take on a medieval feel all at once. The old buildings of Oxford University are everywhere, lined with heavily carved columns and gates. As you pass by the bell tower, the town’s iconic symbol, you will see pubs, cafes, daily goods stores, and souvenir shops along the main street called High Street. I visited there before Christmas season, so there were many people, the lights were on, and the atmosphere was uplifting.

Numerous narrow alleys branch off from the main street, and when you enter one of them, Merton Street, it becomes much less crowded, and a majestic building appears. I visited Merton College of Oxford University, where the Emperor of Japan studied in the past. It is known that the royal families of many countries often study there, and its solemn appearance is steeped in history. I also visited Balliol College, a few minutes' walk from Merton College, where Japanese Empress Masako studied in the past. Like Merton College, it was founded in the 13th century, and is a building with an overwhelming sense of history. These encounters reminded me once again that I was in the university town of Oxford.

Strolling in the Christmas Market

While exploring the city in December, I happened to find a Christmas market on a street. The street was a pedestrian-only street, lined with tents decorated with lights, music playing, and Christmas decorations, sweets, tableware, and accessories for sale. Despite the cold weather, many people were enjoying shopping and chatting with hot chocolate, hot wine, and churros in their hands. I bought small candles at a handmade store that smelled very nice. I am looking forward to using it. I went to the Christmas market in Trafalgar Square in London, but the Christmas market in Oxford was just as lively as the one in London, and it was a wonderful experience.

Winter in England may initially seem cold and gloomy, but the festive spirit in Oxford, particularly in the days leading up to Christmas, is incredible. It was a joyous experience, offering unique pleasures that only the winter season can bring.

Despite its compact size, Oxford offers a wealth of sights to explore, making it an ideal destination for visitors. I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to experience the magic of Oxford.

The center of Oxford has a lovely medieval-like townscape. The bell tower at the back is the symbol of the town.

The High Street, a main street in central Oxford, is crowded with a wide variety of stores!

The Bear, a pub that has been around since the 13th century, is located near Merton College, Oxford University. Notably, the Emperor of Japan used to frequent this pub when he was studying abroad.

A Christmas market I stumbled upon. The building in the background is called Balliol College.

Merton College, Oxford University.

Natsuki Aoki
Natsuki Aoki

Hello! I'm Natsuki, an APS 3rd year majoring in International Relations. I hope to inspire you all by sharing my interesting experiences, new discoveries, and encounters at APU. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

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