Another historical town, this time in England... My Russian postcard pal Katya sent this to me on her holiday in England this summer.
The University of Oxford is the second oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although the exact date of its foundation remains unclear, there is evidence of teaching there as far back as the 11th century. The University grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.
After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge, where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two ancient English universities have many common features and are often jointly referred to as Oxbridge. In addition to their cultural and practical associations, as a historic part of British society, they have a long history of rivalry with each other.
There are thirty-eight colleges of the University of Oxford and six Permanent Private Halls, each controlling its membership and with its own internal structure and activities. All resident students, and most academic staff, must be members both of a college or hall, and of the university.
League tables consistently list Oxford as one of the UK's best universities; the university regularly contends with Cambridge for first place in the tables. Oxford consistently ranks in the world's top 10. For more than a century, it has served as the home of the Rhodes Scholarship, which brings students from a number of countries to study at Oxford as postgraduates or for a second bachelor's degree.
I've been to Oxford a couple of times, and found the city really beautiful, like a huge open air museum. The university and its student seem like something out of the real world, though. I think it might be a great deal due to so many students being from public (which actually means 'private' in this country :p) schools. It doesn't seem like there's much social mix in the University of Oxford.. I was just reading some statistics about recent admissions, and it seems like over 40% of those gaining a place studied in an independent school (while independent schools only educate about 7% of the total UK school population...), and most pupils who are accepted from state schools come from 'elite' grammar and selective schools, rather than comprehensives. I think that says something about the level of education in some state schools in this country... :/
I find these postage labels a little confusing.. In some places you just get these boring grey ones, while in some others you get ones with pictures of birds that are much nicer. ...although only a limited number of post offices actually have these machines, and none of the ones in Wolverhampton do. I wish at least the main post office there did because it would be more convenient to use that to post a letter rather than having to queue for ages, especially when you won't get nice stamps on the letter anyway even if you do queue to the counter. :(