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Vacation Adventures in Oxford, UK

Over the vacation break some of our students used their time to explore different summer programmes. They will be sharing their experiences here in the weeks to come.

Oxford Royale Academy – Film Academy
by Jonathan Thompson of Grade 12

Ever since I was young, I dreamt of becoming a doctor, the stability behind the job complimented the idea of being able to help people on a daily basis. I built my academic life to suit the future in medicine I had wanted. However, almost two years ago, I was sitting in my Careers class where we were watching a TEDx talk. This was when I came to the life-changing idea of choosing a career other than medicine. I liked the comfort and pride that came with becoming a doctor; when I really thought about my passion in life, it was easy to decide on Film.

The Oxford Royale Academy (ORA) was one of the best learning experiences of my life. Over the course of two weeks, I was completely engulfed by the overwhelming amount of knowledge I received. The deans, counselors, tutors, and peers all made it a comfortable learning environment that allowed my creativity to flow. This was all a necessity as the reason for me being there, was to truly see if film-making was for me. In my program, the purpose was to teach students of all backgrounds the technical and artistic side of film-making. However, this is completely dependent on the choice of program. These range from Medicine to World Leadership. I learned through hands-on teaching, the technical and creative side of developing a short film.

On the Baliol College campus, one of the oldest in Oxford, my classmates and I stayed in personal dorm rooms which were all within 30 seconds of walking. The convenience and comfort gave each of us a sense of belonging as we also worked every day together on campus. Not to mention the breakfast and lunch provided by the full-time chefs who worked tirelessly to make every meal a better one. By the end of the course, my passion for film became even more apparent; this was massively thanks to the amazing environment I was provided with.

At the introductory talk.

Besides the brilliant academic side of ORA, the social side was perfectly balanced. Having the ability to leave campus during breaks, gave me a form of freedom I have never experienced.  During the 15 minute gap between class, I was able to hop across the road to the nearest cafe. A macchiato shot and blueberry muffin provided the ideal amount of energy to get through until lunch. My course was located in Oxford, England. However, ORA spans through England and in some American locations. This gives students options when choosing their course. Your location is also dependent on the course you choose; some courses are only available at specific campuses.

This experience both academically and socially was an eye-opening experience that I am grateful for having done. I was introduced to the course through word of mouth as I had not known of the school’s advertising of it. This gives Maple Leaf students a perfect path to joining one of these brilliant and well-respected summer courses. Being both a student of Maple Leaf and an attendee of ORA summer school, I highly suggest to anyone with the opportunity to join ORA to do so. It is a perfect way of deciding whether a career path is for you or not. It gave me the chance to focus my course selections; which many teenagers blindly choose.

The courtyard where they shot some Harry Potter scenes.

To reiterate, the Oxford Royale Academy offers teens with many different courses to help further their knowledge in a field of study; or to be introduced to one completely new to them. If anyone is interested in participating in any one of these summer experience programs offered by ORA, you can consult their website.