Some weeks ago, a German law firm invited all German students currently enrolled in postgraduate programmes in the United Kingdom for a weekend out in the countryside.
We were picked up in our respective locations and brought to Tylney Hall in Hampshire. If this place does not look like Downton Abbey, I don’t know what does. Wooden walls, a vast park, rooms as huge as presidential suites…
After being served afternoon tea and scones, we were given a short introduction to takeover regulation in practice. This was followed by a great dinner and an open bar all night. The next morning was devoted to activities one would associate with the English upper class.
First, we played Cricket. Although it took all of us around half an hour to understand the rules, it was good fun in the end and even a little bit exhausting.
Second, we went clay shooting. Very exciting at first, but got a little bit boring after some time to be honest.
My favourite activity was visiting the falconry. Here, we were introduced to hawks, buzzard and – most importantly – OWLs! You would not believe how fluffy the latter were. I just had to kiss one. And she didn’t seem too reluctant after all to be honest.
Everybody thinks of Oxford as a small and green university town in the English countryside. This would arguably be more accurate for „the other place“. Although the University dominates not only Oxford’s image but also ist cultural, social and probably economic life, we are talking about a city with a population of around 180.000. For instance, did you know that Oxford is home to the Mini-factory?
To be sure, there are a lot of pubs, coffee shops and restaurants to be found in the inner parts of the city close to University. But that’s is nothing compared to what can be found in the neighbourhood of Cowley. On the one hand, this is one part of the city where ordinary people live (and attend quaint pubs at the corner of their streets like in the movies). On the other, it is very multicultural and vibrant. From Lebanese to Mexican, Polish and Indian food – every taste can be served here. This is the place to be if you want to have a drink and go out. Understandably therefore, undergrad students, when moving out of their college residences, often choose to move to Cowley.
As a consequence, this part of the city seems to experience the advantages and disadvantages of „gentrification“. Who would have thought that such a modern phenomenon would take place in the old city of Oxford?