「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


My life at Oxford

By Kip A. Cates


Everybody knows Oxford University! It's one of the oldest universities in the world. It's ranked among the top five universities worldwide. It's attended by 20,000 students who belong to 38 colleges. Among its graduates are 26 prime ministers and 47 Nobel Prize winners. Famous alumni include Stephen Hawking, Bill Clinton and Margaret Thatcher. One less famous person who spent time there was a young Canadian — me!

It was the 1970s and I was backpacking around England. I'd just arrived in Oxford and was walking into the city. On the way, I fell into conversation with a local guy. "Where are you staying?" he asked. "I have no idea," I replied. "I work for the university," he said. "There's a student in my college named John. He may be able to help you."

We soon arrived at Hertford College, a medieval school with roots going back to the 13th century. Just then, out stepped John. "I just met this Canadian chap," the man told him. "He's traveling around the world and needs a place to stay." "What a coincidence!" exclaimed John. "My classmate got sick and just went home. His room's empty. You can stay there!" Of course, this was against college rules. But how could I refuse? I ended up staying for five weeks!

John introduced me to his classmates — Hugh, David and Tim. We soon became best friends! They showed me around the university, found me a bicycle and got me a meal card for the college dining room. Meals were very formal. The professors sat at a high table and the students at wooden tables below. Everyone wore academic gowns. It was like a scene from Harry Potter!

John and his friends were classics majors, studying Latin, Greek and ancient history. During the day, I joined their lectures. In the evening, we went to pubs to drink beer, play darts and discuss Socrates. At night, we strolled the cobblestone streets, then climbed the college walls to sneak back to our rooms after curfew.

My five weeks in Oxford passed quickly. Each day was filled with adventures: watching cricket matches, attending plays, punting on the river and cheering for Oxford during the annual boat race with our archrival, Cambridge. By the end of my stay, I knew all the pubs, had explored all the colleges and could easily give directions when stopped by foreign tourists on the street.

Just before I left for London, my British friends managed to sneak me in to the official college photo with all the students and profs. This is still on display in the lobby of Hertford College!

I felt privileged to live in Oxford and to experience the life of a British student. Now, when I want to impress someone, I always say, "I remember when I was at Oxford …"



The Japan Times ST: January 3, 2014

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




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