Alumna Louise Chantal (Lincoln, 1987) shares her love of the theatre in the latest Alumni Voices podcast
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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.
Alumnus and bestselling author talks about research and student days in new podcast
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.
Offers for alumni:
- 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.
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
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.
Dr Ben Goldacre, author of the bestsellers Bad Science and Bad Pharma, dissects what is wrong with modern medicine and argues for better evidence-based medicine in a 15-minute podcast.
The champion of evidence-based medicine describes his latest projects, including an Ebola trials tracker, to improve the transparency of clinical trials.
Dr Goldacre explains his research at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences' Centre for Evidence-based Medicine, part of Oxford University. He also refers to structural challenges facing medicine and highlights the lack of funding for evidence-based projects.
The self-confessed 'stats geek', who studied' medicine at Magdalen College at Oxford University, describes how he was inspired by his enthusiastic tutors during his studies. The doctor, academic, campaigner and writer also counsels against so-called miracle cures.
The interview is the latest in the monthly Alumni Voices podcast series.
On 10 October, we - The Oxford & Cambridge Society of Hong Kong - held our traditional Oxford & Cambridge Varsity Ball 2015.
The ball is a biennial fund-raising event which is organised to help provide scholarship grants in support of meaningful student projects in developing regions around the world for the benefit of needy communities.
Among the latest projects supported by the scheme in 2014/15 were an alumnus’s trip to Uganda to work with children affected by AIDS and an alumna’s six-week geology research project in Northern Italy.