Oxford, England: Prestigious University – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite


Oxford, founded in
the 10th century, is home to the oldest university
in the English-speaking world. Its university was born
back in the early Middle Ages, and ever since the first
homework was assigned, the university of Oxford’s
graduates have helped to shape
Western civilization. It brags that its teachers
and alumni include a couple dozen prime ministers, over 50 Nobel Prize winners,
and nearly a dozen saints. Today, it’s a thriving town
of 160,000 — part industry, part university, and part
bedroom community for Londoners. It’s a lively town
filled with fun and energy during both the academic term, when you’ll see
students everywhere, or during summer break. We’re here in July, when
tourists outnumber the students. Like in Cambridge, the river
is filled with tourists still working on
their punting skills. -Oh, we’re going to smash. Ooh.
-Ah! -Oxford’s main drag,
High Street, is lined with both
shops and colleges. Again, it’s a mix
that illustrates that town-gown division. ♪♪ There’s been a tension between the privileged
university population and the hardscrabble
regular people of Oxford for over 800 years. In fact, it was a town-gown spat
back in 1209 that drove a group of professors
and students out of Oxford and to the more welcoming
town of Cambridge, where they helped to found
that rival university. The historic heart
of Oxford University is its
Old Schools Quad[rangle]. In the courtyard
of its main library, the quad is surrounded
by the university’s first set
of purpose-built classrooms each marked with
the original curriculum — metaphysics, astronomy, music,
moral philosophy, and so on. Oxford, like Cambridge, is designed on
the collegiate system. While each of the many colleges nurtures its students
in its own way, the university
provides the curriculum, and while students
live and study and are mentored in
their respective colleges, it’s here in the university
buildings that they go to class, are tested, and enjoy
the great ceremonial events that come with being a student
at Oxford. To imagine studying here
in the 1400s, pop into the Divinity School to see the university’s
first formal classroom. Here, under this impressive
fan-vaulted ceiling, the mission of higher education
was particularly respected. ♪♪ Upstairs
is Duke Humphrey’s library. In those days, libraries were
placed above classrooms for maximum sunlight
and minimum moisture. It’s a world of books
dating back to the Middle Ages stacked neatly under
a painted wooden ceiling. ♪♪ Books were considered
so precious that many were actually
chained to the desk. Of course, there are plenty
of modern buildings, too. In a wing of the university’s
fabled Bodleian Library, visitors are free to peruse
its treasures gallery, a literary treasure chest celebrating the genius of Oxford
over the centuries. You’ll see a Shakespeare
first folio, 18 plays from 1623; an original score of Handel’s
“Messiah” written in 1741; a copy of the Magna Carta
from 1217, when King John was forced to grant his nobility
certain rights, opening the door to democracy. It seems this copy
was nibbled on by a mouse. Fancy meal. ♪♪ Across the street is the Museum
of the History of Science. It’s filled with
scientific equipment that the scholars of Oxford
used to change our world. There’s chemistry,
the 18th-century boom in the study of oxygen
and other gases. Medicine — after 1850,
anesthetics and antiseptics made major surgery
more survivable. Microscopes
helped scholars observe and tell them unseen worlds. Science enjoyed the support
of England’s royalty. King George III had
his own ornate microscope made of silver in 1770, and Einstein’s chalkboard
still features his hand-scrawled equations
from 1931. Obviously,
from the last four lines, the universe is expanding. Like at Cambridge, you can visit
many of Oxford’s colleges. Magdalen College, where C.S.
Lewis taught, is the prettiest. Established in 1458, its cloister is
a monastic-feeling square ringed by the dining hall,
chapel, and student dorms. The grounds are
meticulously kept, as if to inspire
Magdalen students to excellence. Christ Church is Oxford’s
grandest college, with the most esteemed
list of alumni. ♪♪ It was founded
by King Henry VIII back in the 16th century
on the site of an old monastery. While it still has
a close connection with the royal family,
it’s most popular these days because scenes from the “Harry
Potter” movies were filmed here. ♪♪ “Harry Potter” fans
love the dining hall. The grand hall, with its
splendid hammerbeam ceiling, is ringed with portraits
of alumni gazing down, as if wondering,
“Who is Harry Potter?”

99 thoughts on “Oxford, England: Prestigious University – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite

  1. My son-in-law went to graduate school there. I fear it's a very liberal school, by the ideas that spout from his mouth. Perhaps just a victim of the times.

  2. Oxford certainly warrants more time than the usual tourist's quikie day trip from London. It is worthy of several days just meandering and exploring all tge wonders and beauty. I highly recommend the Randolph Hotel with its historic atmosphere that captures the city. Across the strret is tge Ashmolean Musuem where one needs to take a peak at the Wolvercote Tongue. The city is full of cozy pubs where once should relax and sip a pints. An easy bus ride out of the city is Churchill's Blenheim Palace where one sees a glimpse of Churchill's lonely childhood. To catch a feeling for tge industrial side of Oxford, Mini offers factory tours to see how the Mini is built. A bus or taxi takes you through the more modest neighborhoods built during the industrial age. Enjoy!

  3. The University of Oxford (legally The Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Oxford) is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096,[1] making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation after the University of Bologna….
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Oxford

  4. My favourite place in Oxford is the covered market which is just off the High Street. It has lots of interesting small shops. There are specialist food shops, luxury accessories shops and loads more. I know you should see the colleges and the architecture but if you need some retail therapy this is the place. It's small enough to not be tiring but can keep you interested for at least half a day.

  5. One thing I would say is if you are driving to Oxford for the day leave your car at one of the park and ride car parks situated on the outskirts of the city. You can then catch the bus. Parking in the centre is a nightmare unless you are going to a specific place such as a hotel.

  6. Education is the Discipline for the Adventure of life. Great informative video,love to watch your videos rick. Much love and respect from Pakistan. 🌍🌷

  7. Philippine Boxing Icon, Manny Pacquiao an erstwhile guest speaker of this University. 🎓👍💪 🥊🥊🥊😊

  8. Christ Church was NOT founded by Henry VIII but his advisor Cardinal Wolsey. It was then taken over by Henry VIII after Wolsey fell out of favor. Please do your research.

  9. I wouldn't be surprised if all the old buildings are bulldozed in the name of diversity and as atonement for colonialism.

  10. Oxford is so beautiful and inspiring. I fell in love with this university. This is one of my favorites universities.

  11. Hi Ricky Steve I too want to study in oxford university ..can you help in getting there as I have no acquaintance in britian

  12. NICE….I have done Ph.D. in Physics from University of Pune, India. I had wanted Post doc at this University but they were not found my application is suitable for their criteria. Anyway, When I will get chance and have lot of money to travel UK, one day I will here in Oxford, to see this University and Cambridge University…my dream to see old University of the World. Wait I will be there definitely one day….

  13. Wow.i always wanted to study in these kind of colleges.
    In our country educational institutions become useless. They are interested to make money.

  14. England is a historical country.
    And Oxford University is my favorite university ❤️❤️❤️❤️
    From Bangladesh 🇧🇩🇧🇩🇧🇩

  15. Wow very good subject have considered for the video so thank you. But it is not enough when talking and video making especially about Oxford University. The length of the video would be at least fifteen minutes.

  16. You mentioned C.S Lewis (the lion the witch and the wardrobe) but failed to mention his best Friend Professor JRR Tolkein who was an Oxford Don and taught at the university.

    And one day whilst bored marking papers he wrote the opening chapter of the hobbit and based the Shire on the surrounding countryside.

  17. Is there any possibility for eastern students to study here after completing my medical education???? Im very much curious about this

  18. 1. Oxford was founded in the 11th century, not the 10th.
    2. Magdalen is one of the prettiest, sure, but there are plenty of others.
    3. Christ Church doesn't have the most esteemed alumni. The most prime ministers, but not esteemed.
    4. I somehow feel Cambridge should be compared with Oxford, not Oxford with Cambridge, as Oxford is older.

    Yours,

    An Oxford Student

  19. Oxford is more beautiful and charming than Cambridge. Also found it weird how he matter of factly stated that Magdalen College is the prettiest. Erm, beauty is utterly subjective. I personally find Brasenose to be the most stunning college.

  20. English people hate americans. I visited once and was told I wasn’t welcomed in their country. I’ve never been back.

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