Pioneering alumni show how to harness the power of mobile technology

Our lives have already been transformed by mobile technology, but bigger and better developments are yet to come. That was the message from experts as they shared their insights and experiences from the digital world at a professional networking event for Oxford alumni. From advice about launching an app to the game-changing reality of mobile communications, the alumni speakers focused on how to maximise the opportunities created by technological innovation.

Tamara Sword (St Hilda’s, MSt Women’s Studies) set the context by describing transformative and rapid progress. She spoke of ‘seismic changes’ and referred to mind-boggling statistics to emphasise the ubiquity of mobile phones: there are 1.3 billion smart phones in the world, on average people check their mobile phones 150 times a day (some people even look at them 900 times a day), and 85% of time spent using mobiles is spent using apps.

The co-founder of the app infltr continued by sharing tips gained from promoting the camera app that enables people to apply filters to photographs taken with their camera phones. She explained the importance of improving apps in response to feedback, as well as the need to work with Apple’s developer relations team. Infltr has been named Best New App by Apple in more than 40 countries. Sword also encouraged entrepreneurs to engage with their customers, believe in their products, and to treat journalists like investors.

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Oxford & Cambridge Society of Peru - Conference on the Politics of Latin America

On November 25, the members of the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Peru got together in the British ambassador's Residence in Lima for a conference given by Dr John Crabtree, from the Latin American institute of the Saint Antony. 

Dr Crabtree is a well known expert and investigator in the politics of the Andean countries, and gave us an interesting introduction to the history and trends of the politics in Peru. The timing was perfect, since there is great expectation in the subject due that there will be presidential elections next April.

Marlborough Arms: bed and breakfast

Submitted by guy on Tue, 2015-11-24 14:00

Situated in the heart of Woodstock, The Marlborough Arms is a beautiful fifteenth century coaching inn that overlooks the town’s historical streets. Log fires are lit in the winter and the courtyard garden is a summer sun trap.

Local attractions include Blenheim Palace, which is within walking distance, and Waddesdon Manor, which is a short drive away.

Exclusive use hire is available for private parties and dinners for up to 100 guests.

Benefits for alumni: Oxford Alumni Card-holders benefit from:

  • a 10% discount off the best available rate for accommodation
  • discounted room hire when booking a function room for private parties

How to claim: Please quote your alumni card number at the time of booking and show your Oxford Alumni Card when you arrive. Discounts apply to Oxford Alumni Card-holders who pre-book their stay and are not available to on-the-day bookers. Please note that discounts are subject to availability.

Offer Category:

Start and end date: 
Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 13

Bursary funded my life-changing experience in Hong Kong

After countless hours spent practising my lesson plans, and 24 hours of travelling, the moment had arrived. I was standing in a classroom in Tang King Po College, Hong Kong, waiting for my very first Cantonese-speaking pupils to arrive for their English lesson.

The next seven weeks were a whirlwind of lessons, cultural exchange, sightseeing and friendship. My stay in Hong Kong in July 2015 and my travels afterwards through Vietnam and Cambodia were certainly life-changing. The whole expedition was only possible because of a £350 travel bursary from OUS Dorset – one of the 220 groups in the worldwide Oxford alumni network.

I taught English at two different schools in Hong Kong as part of three one-week camps run by the charity Oxbridge Summer Camps Abroad. The children’s ages ranged from 11 to 14 at Tang King Po College to 16 to 18 at the Ko Lui Secondary School.

The first day of each camp was always tough. The students were, in general, shy and cautious about their new teacher from England, but this shyness soon gave way to their unique personalities and an exciting day of teaching. A typical day consisted of three one-hour lessons in the morning, an hour of drama, and an afternoon event (such as a Dragons’ Den-style activity or sports day). Each summer camp was run by volunteer students from Oxford and Cambridge, and teaching assistants from universities in Hong Kong.

As a medical student, I could not resist teaching about the human body. My favourite lesson involved asking the children to describe the physical features and characteristics of superheroes, and they then drew their own. I encouraged the children to only speak English to boost their confidence about speaking in a foreign language. Some of them were also interested in my experiences studying at Oxford.

We taught every weekday and spent the evenings planning the next day’s lessons based on how the children had responded to previous classes. This meant our weekends were free, and the teaching assistants acted as our comprehensive guides to Hong Kong. They showed us many amazing islands, including Lantau Island famous for the Po Lin monastery and its giant Buddha, and the best off-the-map attractions. One of my favourite evenings was eating dinner at a teaching assistant’s apartment.

I have no doubt that the skills I have learned from this experience will benefit me hugely during my remaining time at Oxford, as well as during my career as a doctor and in my life in general. In addition to public speaking, I feel my ability to communicate effectively with children and young adults has improved – an essential skill for my medical career. I am also determined to encourage other Oxford students to volunteer for OSCA.

As I come from Dorset, I look forward to becoming a member of OUS Dorset when I finish my studies.

Nicholas Turner (St Hilda’s, 2013)
3rd year medical student

OUS Victoria - Walking the Camino

In 1985, fewer than 700 people did it. In 2010, a record number, 272,703 people, completed it. Our speaker at the OUS Victoria lunch on Friday, 13 November at the Kelvin Club in Melbourne did it with his son in 2011, a year when nearly 180,000 other people completed it.

In case you haven’t guessed, our speaker - our own member Dr Sanjiva Wijesinha - was describing the pilgrimage known as the “Camino de Santiago de Compostela” or the “Way of St James” across northern Spain, from St Jean Pied de Port in the Pyrenes in France to Santiago in Galicia, Spain.