Trips & Outings


IB Trips to Oxford and Cambridge Universities


       TOK Walking Tour of Oxford

Oxford University


On Thursday 21st June 2012 a number of IB students accompanied by Mr Saha and Miss Walshe ventured to Oxford University for some post exam inspiration. Despite the term almost at an end (evident from the numerous champagne bottles lying casually about the town) we were lucky enough to talk to an admissions officer at St John’s College about the details of courses and the specificities of applying to the university with IB. As with every college, the buildings and quads were beautiful and the accommodation rather more promising than was expected. We learnt of the disadvantages of applying for joint honours degrees and difficulties of changing courses, but at the same time the clear benefits of a degree from such an institution.


After a brief guided tour we were able to wander the town on our own, investigating the other colleges and relevant departments at our leisure. Visiting the site ourselves, we got a feel for the ornate architecture and absurd traditions of the university-for the last three exams students wear a red flower, then pink and finally white, to signify the temporary ceasing of their studies. Formal gowns are also worn for exams, resulting in the appearance of gatherings of stressed looking dementors. In many ways, Oxford isn’t hugely different to CH. Despite proudly proclaiming to a solemn nodding of heads when we entered any college chapel ‘ours is definitely bigger than this…’ they too wear strange clothes (for formal occasions at least), maintain contact with and celebrate their alumni, and aim to make every effort to see the potential in their students.


Whilst many of us visited Oxford simply as a day out, for others the trip may have been a trigger to a new and exciting path in life. Whatever the purpose, it was certainly a memorable day for all.


Holly Porteous




In front of St John’s College Oxford



Cambridge University


Field Day on Thursday 21st June was the first time we saw a divide between the cohort of 2013 IB pupils. This wasn’t because of grades or stress levels but instead to visit two of the best universities in the world, Oxford and Cambridge.


Those of us going to Cambridge set off slightly earlier on our journey. Before arriving we discussed what we thought it would be like. Some people suggested that it would be full of egotistic workaholics while others believed introverted geniuses.


One thing that was present in everyone’s mind when we arrived was how beautiful Cambridge is.  Despite its rustic atmosphere and cobbled roads, Cambridge has managed to add some modern adaptations including a large shopping centre.


During lunch we were lucky to meet 3 second year Cambridge students. I think this was particularly interesting for everyone as we got to question them about life at Cambridge, interviews, stress and grades. I think to everyone’s astonishment the students were quite normal and seemed to live by the motto ‘Work hard, play hard’.


We also managed to visit two of the twenty nine colleges for undergraduates at Cambridge– Sidney Sussex and Downing. During this time we visited some rooms, talked to lecturers and had a tour of the colleges.  I couldn’t help realising that when we entered each building, people automatically started comparing it to Christ’s Hospital. I think CH enables us to be independent and therefore simple things such as using a washing machine or sharing a kitchen with other people will most likely be a breeze. Talking to the lecturers allowed us to talk to an insider about open applications, interviews and the secrets to the perfect personal statement.


For me the trip was a great success. It was nice to visit Cambridge and it further emphasised that visiting a university before applying is essential. However it is easy to become deluded by the beauty of the place and lingering in the back of our minds were the words of the lecturers that overall academics are the most important thing.


Mary Agbesanwa



Outside Downing College Cambridge



IB Trip to London



On 3rd October 2011, a trip was organised to take IB students the visit the Royal Society and the London Central Mosque. The topic being covered was 6th Century Arabia and the Rise of Islam and addressed issues of Theory of Knowledge (TOK), a compulsory extra subject for all those taking IB.


We caught the train up to London Victoria on the morning of Field Day with Dr Wines, Dr Keane and Mr Saha. An exhibition had been set up at the Royal Society to explain how much of the information that was known in Britain around the 17th Century actually originated from Arabia, from philosophy and language to medicine and astronomy. Indeed, it turned out that the Arabs had begun to track celestial movement hundreds of years before Europeans did, and the Bedouin tribes (nomadic peoples) had been practising a form of inoculation against disease generations before Jenner and Pasteur were even born. They were ahead of us in almost every way.


 After a brief lunch and an ice cream in the shade at Regents Park (it’s hard to imagine now, but it was boiling that day), we moved on to the London Central Mosque. A brief pause to fuss over our improvised hijabs (in other words, pashminas), and we were inside the building. You might think that it would be as elaborate as a Catholic church, with intricate decorations scattered all over the place, but in reality there was nothing apart from a gold painted gate at the front and a few Arabic words around the inside of the dome. When asked why, our guide replied with a simple “Islam is practical”. Can’t say we saw that one coming.


 It seems that with everything that’s been in the news about Islamic extremists, it can be easy to forget these are a minority within an ultimately peaceful religion that is responsible for a lot of what we know today.  







In front of the Royal Society





At Regent's Park mosque






Laura Bryer