The structure of each of our programs is similar, but beyond that, our programs differ according to size, physical situation and courses offered.
Of our high school programs, The Oxford Tradition numbers approximately 420 students who, due to the large number, are accommodated in two separate (but centrally-located and close) colleges, Pembroke College and Corpus Christi College.
The Cambridge Tradition numbers about 180 students in Jesus College in the town center, and this is the only college in Cambridge to have its sports facilities (soccer, rugby and hockey fields, cricket pitch, tennis courts), gardens and grounds immediately adjacent to the college. For this reason, it is our largest number of students in a single residence.
Both our programs in England for 8th and 9th graders, The Oxford Prep Experience and The Cambridge Prep Experience, are housed in centrally-located and smaller colleges that are ideal for these programs. Oriel College in Oxford is the oldest royal foundation of all the colleges in Oxford. Peterhouse is the oldest college in Cambridge and located next door to the University's museum of arts and antiquities, the Fitzwilliam Museum. Both programs number about 150 students.
L'Académie de Paris numbers about 175 students and is distinct in scene and style, located in the heart of Paris. L'Académie de France takes between 50 and 70 students and is situated in the historic center of Montpellier. Both French programs are housed in private boarding schools that, just like a college in Oxford or Cambridge, enjoy their own grounds, accommodation, classrooms and general facilities. L'Académie de France is a 100% immersion program, whereas Paris operates on a français d'abord philosophy.
La Academia de España numbers up to 90 students and is housed in the only official Universidad de Salamanca residence located within the old city. The residence features a fully modern interior with a large dining room, a large common area, a central outdoor patio, a library and a game room while the rooms have magnificent views and most include a private bathroom.
La Academia de Barcelona is housed in a residence that accommodates up to 130 students. Located in the upscale residential area of Barcelona known as Les Corts, it includes classrooms and a dining hall, and is air conditioned.
The New York College Experience numbers about 140 students in Barnard College, an extention of Columbia University that sits a short walk away from the Hudson River, Riverside Park and the urban oasis of Central Park. On campus, students can grab a bite in the dining hall, surf the net in the coffee shop and enjoy the university gym or lounge on the lawns or in the 17th floor student lounge overlooking the famous New York skyline. The neighborhood around the college is filled with shops, restaurants, cafes and one of the largest cathedrals in the world.
Another major difference to consider when choosing a program is the variety of courses offered in each location. Each program offers a selection of popular subjects (courses in literature, history, drama, art, etc.) as well as relatively specialized courses for students with particular interests and passions (Physics, International Espionage, Global Medicine or Filmmaking, and so on). Our continental programs offer language classes as well as immersion classes in either French or Spanish.
Oxford is a larger city than Cambridge, with a population of about 150,000 compared to Cambridge's 110,000. These are quite small populations compared to almost 8 million in London. Oxford has a busier city center than Cambridge and a larger shopping district; Cambridge has a greater concentration of colleges and university buildings in the town center, which gives the city a slightly more relaxed atmosphere and the appearance of being smaller in size.
Paris, with a population of about 2 million, is the capital of France and is much bigger than Montpellier. With approximately 500,000 residents, Montpellier is the eighth largest city in France. Montpellier is a cosmopolitan city, but has more of a small town feel, whereas Paris is simply 'Paris' -- renowned throughout the world for its history, culture, fashion, food, and shopping. Montpellier has fewer tourists than Paris, and one is less likely to hear English spoken in the streets. While Paris is known for its monuments and museums, Montpellier is renowned for its charming maze of medieval streets, its world-class art museum, as well as its 13th-century Jewish baths—it is at once a delightful provincial town and a cosmopolitan city.
If English is your second language, please provide your TOEFL score or a short letter from your English teacher confirming your fluency in English. Our programs are conducted primarily in English, and our programs in Oxford and Cambridge are taught exclusively in English. We want to ensure that our students are able to integrate fully and feel comfortable with the program community. In France or Spain, immersion courses are taught exclusively in French or Spanish, but program information, materials and literature are all available in English.
Oxford and Cambridge Universities are made up of "colleges", in which students are taught, supervised by college fellows, housed and fed. The "University" is the institution that controls the students' academic departments and administers the exams at the end of their degrees. You can think of "colleges" as consisting of student rooms, dining halls, chapels and places of worship, sports fields and student common rooms; the "University" is the institution that runs academic departments and faculties, examination boards and broad university government. By studying on one of our programs in Oxford and Cambridge, students do not become "members" of Oxford or Cambridge University, but they do gain invaluable and fascinating experience of college life in these great centers of learning.
London is located about 60 miles south of Cambridge, and about 60 miles east of Oxford. From Oxford to London it takes about an hour by train and between 1 hour 40 minutes to 2 hours by bus; to Cambridge, it also takes about an hour by train and about 2 hours by bus.
We take students in Oxford and Cambridge to London for one day-long field trip. We do not permit students to travel by themselves. They may only leave the program accompanied by a parent or guardian, with prior notice sent to the Director. We also require that these trips be done outside of class time - namely, Saturday afternoons or Sundays.
Yes, if you do The Oxford Tradition, The Cambridge Tradition, The Oxford Prep Experience, or the Cambridge Prep Experience, you can participate in Voici Paris (The Paris Connection)
immediately after the conclusion of your program.
Of course! We've designed our curriculum to include a large number of courses that are rarely offered at the high school level, such as International Espionage, Criminology, Zoology, and Social Anthropology, and we don't expect our students to have much, if any, background in these subjects. Even subjects such as English Literature or European History, which are taught at all high schools, will cover material you are unlikely to find at home. You can study an entirely new subject or new material in a traditional subject. Whichever you choose, you'll experience creative teaching in a stimulating, refreshing learning environment.
Students wishing to immerse themselves in French language and culture have two options: L'Académie de Paris and L'Académie de France.
L'Académie de Paris offers a wide range of courses for every level of French student – from pure beginners to fluent speakers – as well as a selection of courses in English for those whose primary purpose may not be to perfect their language skills. Whatever their priorities, students come away with a new understanding of their subject matter as well as an expert familiarity with Paris. Our philosophy of français d'abord (French first) makes it a goal for everyone to use as much French as possible both in and out of the classroom, by encouraging students to speak French first when addressing staff members, in the dining hall, during activities and field trips, and when participating in all program events.
L'Académie de France is a complete immersion program, catering to students whose aim is to improve their spoken and written French by communicating exclusively in French throughout their time on the program. Students must have already completed at least two years of French in school to apply, and may sign up for a variety of courses focusing on a wide range of themes (from cinema and cuisine to international relations and medicine), all of which are geared toward improving language skills. All communication, throughout the day – in the residence, in the classroom, during activities, during social hours, during excursions, with guest speakers – takes place in French, and students are expected to speak French every moment of the month. (Staff are bilingual and can communicate with parents in English.) Living this way in Montpellier for four weeks, students come away having had a true immersion experience. All students enrolling in l'Académie de France must provide a writing sample in French, and a letter of recommendation from a French teacher.
La Academia de Barcelona offers intensive Spanish language at all levels – from pure beginner to advanced and even fluent – as well as a selection of courses in English. Whatever their priorities, students come away with a new understanding of their subject matter as well as an expert familiarity with Barcelona. Our philosophy of español primero makes it a goal for everyone to use as much Spanish as possible both in and out of the classroom, by encouraging students to speak Spanish first when addressing staff members, in the dining hall, during activities and field trips, and when participating in all program events. The hope is to improve everyone's Spanish and to make everyone feel comfortable in a Spanish-speaking environment. Students can also opt to travel to Madrid for five days after the program, in order to extend their language-learning experience in the Spanish capital.
La Academia de España is a complete immersion program, catering to students whose aim is to improve their spoken and written Spanish by communicating exclusively in Spanish throughout their time on the program. Students must have already completed at least two years of Spanish in school to apply, and may sign up for a variety of courses focusing on a wide range of themes (from cinema and cuisine to international relations and medicine), all of which are geared toward improving language skills. All communication, throughout the day – in the residence, in the classroom, during activities, during social hours, during excursions, with guest speakers – takes place in Spanish, and students are expected to speak Spanish for the duration of the program. (Staff are bilingual and can communicate with parents in English.) Living this way in Salamanca for four weeks, students come away having had a true immersion experience. All students enrolling in La Academia de España must provide a writing sample in Spanish, and a letter of recommendation from a Spanish teacher.
While the continental programs of Paris and Barcelona are open to students regardless of whether they speak French or Spanish, or no language at all, more than half of our students choose to study the local language, either as a Major or Minor course. Furthermore, our number one goal is to work within the context of español primero and français d'abord. For those who have taken three or more years of a language (or who speak it at home), there is the option of taking immersion courses, which are taught entirely in French or Spanish and cover topics of cultural interest (art history, cinema, literature, etc.). Furthermore, students can choose to live on a hall where communication takes place in French or Spanish and to eat at the French Table or Spanish Table during meals. Students can also participate in activities in the local language, such as museum visits, plays, presentations by guest speakers, and movies.
L'Académie de France is a 100% immersion program. Students choose one MAJOR course and one MINOR course, both of which are taught entirely in French. After class, students choose from a selection of workshops and cultural activities, all run in French, that give them more opportunities to practice their language skills in a fun and relaxed setting. Additionally, guest speakers and excursions into the Languedoc region and Provence are arranged throughout the month to promote language fluency. Please note that students need to have completed at least two years of French to apply to l'Académie de France.
La Academia de España is a 100% immersion program. Students choose one MAJOR course and one MINOR course, both of which are taught entirely in Spanish. After class, students choose from a selection of workshops and cultural activities, all run in Spanish, that give them more opportunities to practice their language skills in a fun and relaxed setting. Additionally, guest speakers and excursions throughout the month to promote language fluency. Please note that students need to have completed at least two years of Spanish to apply to La Academia de España.
In France and Spain, just as in Oxford, Cambridge, and New York, Oxbridge offers a collegiate residential experience for its students rather than a homestay. The primary reason for this is one of safety and security - having all our students under the same roof with our own staff allows us to have a much stricter control of the environment. Having students dispersed around big cities like Paris, Montpellier, Salamanca and Barcelona would make quality control far too difficult. Furthermore, living together in one residence creates a greater sense of community, emulating the college dormitory environment which goes hand in hand with the intellectual experience our programs provide, and expands the students' cultural experience, allowing them to take full advantage of our activities offerings, as opposed to being hindered by host families' routines and expectations. Given the exceptional improvement in French and Spanish made by our students every summer, we have no reason to believe that the residential experience diminishes language learning (see question above on immersion).
You should expect roughly one hour of homework per night for your Major classes, and none for your Minor classes. Drama classes tend to require greater rehearsal time, approximately 4-5 hours a day leading up to the final performance at the end of the program. Film and Journalism classes, which also conclude with a final production or project, also demand extra time. Please note, however, that if your Minor course is running as a Minor only, you may have some homework, which is often set at the students' own request!
No matter what course you take, your work will culminate in an exciting final project that will test your grasp of the course material: the law classes, for example, take part in full-scale moot courts at the end of the summer, complete with "judges" in gowns and wigs; Creative Writing students publish magazines containing their best work; Studio Art, Architecture, and Photography classes mount exhibitions.
Your academic work, however, is not the only thing you do - we have a full (but optional) curriculum of social and cultural activities, including films, lectures, dances, plays, sports events, and tours
After the conclusion of the program, you will receive a written evaluation, grade, and a description of the coursework completed for both your Major and Minor classes. We do not issue credit ourselves, but we are happy to issue copies of these gradesheets to your school to help you get credit there. The majority of our students also submit copies of their gradesheets along with their college applications.
In addition to the gradesheets made available upon completion of a program, students are able to request five copies when applying to college.
Shortly after of the program all students and their parents receive a comprehensive set of grade-sheets, presenting their course syllabus and highlighting their specific efforts and contributions during the month. These are accompanied by a letter from the executive director to the student congratulating them on completing the program as well as a letter from the founder of Oxbridge detailing the academic philosophy and structure of cultural enrichment Oxbridge strives for.
The majority of our students also submit copies of their gradesheets along with their college applications.
Our students are able to pursue a wide variety of activities and interests. In addition to the field trips (such as Broughton Castle, Stonehenge, Salisbury, Lincoln, and Canterbury Cathedral in England, Versailles, the Château de Vincennes, and Vaux le Vicomte in Paris, St. Guilhem-le-Désert, Avignon, and Nîmes in Montpellier, Girona, Figueres/Empúries, and Montserrat in Barcelona, and Madrid and Segovia in Salamanca), students are offered a range of local activities, which include discussions with eminent guest speakers, concerts, plays, dances, quiz competitions, talent shows, open house poetry readings and coffee socials.
We also offer a wide variety of sports: some favorites include basketball, softball, soccer, cricket, pétanque, swimming and Ultimate Frisbee. Classes in activities such as yoga, salsa and kung fu are sometimes offered. In Oxford and Cambridge, we do our best to make sure that rowers (crew) can get on the River Cam or the Thames at least once during the month.
We make every effort to ensure that our activities programs complement the cultural and intellectual enrichment at the heart of our academic programs. We structure and supervise them carefully to ensure that students get the most out of their time in Europe.