0th Week is also known as Freshers’ week and is an important moment in every Oxford student’s social life.
Graduate Orientation Programme :As an international student, I attended the Graduate Orientation Programme for International Students. This programme was held at the famous Examination Schools, located at 75–81 High Street. The building was designed by Sir Thomas Jackson (1835–1924), who also designed the cricket pavilion in the University Parks. The designs for the building were prepared in 1876 and it was completed in 1882, in Clipsham stone.
It was also a great opportunity to meet the many international graduate students from almost every country in the world.
Freshers Fair: The Oxford University Student Union Freshers’ Fair was the big event of 0th week. Packed with stalls showing the best, biggest and weirdest of Oxford’s student life, it had something for everyone. Almost every club or society was represented. To heck, they even had the Underwater Ice Hockey Club. I ended up signing up for too many clubs, and went home with way too much junk.
Departmental Induction: We underwent a 2-day induction for all 25 students in the MSc Global Health Science class. Students were drawn from thirteen different countries with six students from Nigeria alone (not counting moi). Other countries represented included the USA, UK, Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Jamaica, South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Burma, etc. The class was almost evenly split between medics (doctors) and those of us non-medics.
Like every Oxford event, it was not complete without tea and home-made cones.
Weidenfeld Induction: 0th week was when I also got a chance to meet with other Weidenfeld Scholars in my cohort. At the event which held at Egrove Park, outside Oxford, the group was introduced to the Leadership Programme, spent time getting to know one another and had the opportunity to ask ISD staff and continuing Scholars questions about the Scholarships. An informal drinks reception rounded off the day.
24 Scholars are joining the 2011-12 cohort with your humble self as the first Nigerian-American, with another 24 Scholars continuing from the previous year.
Then I bought my bike!:
Purchasing a used bike is by far the best investment you make while on campus and a wonderful way to get around the city, so after much thought and visiting several bike shops, I coughed out my student’s pittance and bought my Jalopy!
Need I say more?
And I went punting: Punting refers to boating in a punt (small boat). The punter generally propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a pole. Rather different traditions have grown up in Oxford and Cambridge: in Cambridge they stand on the till and punt with the open end forward, while in Oxford they stand inside the boat and punt with the till forward. The Oxford position is closer to the orthodox.
So in true Oxford tradition, I bravely embarked on a Sunday afternoon punting trip with 4 other scholars along the Magdalen river, and all went well, till the swans showed up!