Cultural Enrichment, Activities & Sports

The Cultural Enrichment and Activities programs ensure that whenever students are not in class they have a wide range of opportunities available through which to immerse themselves in local life and culture. From museum tours to choral concerts, sports and movie-nights, students have multiple options every day to satisfy their creative, intellectual, and gastronomic ambitions. The Activities Directors transform the program sites into laboratories in which students can actively and safely engage with their surroundings.

From enjoying Cambridge’s Shakespeare Festival to discovering Oxford’s extraordinary Pitt Rivers Museum, and from seeing fashion exhibitions in Paris to visiting Camp Nou in Barcelona, students have almost unlimited daily opportunities to be out and about enjoying a range of educational and cultural activities. You might find a group browsing an antiquarian bookshop in Cambridge, retracing C.S. Lewis’s steps in Oxford, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge for ice-cream in DUMBO in New York, exploring the Sagrada familia in Barcelona with an architectural expert, visiting the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, or simply watching the world go by in a local café by the residence in Montpellier. 

Oxford has long been a center of cultural and intellectual excellence. Over the course of the month, students discover the colleges that make up the University (including the ones used for Harry Potter and other movies filmed in Oxford). They visit the University’s extraordinary museums: The Ashmolean, The Pitt Rivers, and The Natural History Museum. They sit in The Eagle and Child, reenacting meetings of the Inklings; and they watch Shakespeare in college gardens. They can also participate in a sports program that includes yoga, basketball, and English sports such as cricket, lawn-tennis, soccer, and touch rugby. Outside Oxford, students take in the mysteries of Stonehenge, the beauty of Broughton Castle, and day trips to London. 

In Cambridgestudents can experience the town by enjoying the Shakespeare Festival or even watching a Cambridge United football match. The wide variety of activities and courses offered are a reflection of our diverse student body and of the opportunities available in Cambridge. Students explore the University’s vast collections - from art at the Fitzwilliam Museum to the Museums of Zoology, and Archeology and Anthropology. They might go punting on the River Cam; take a stroll to Grantchester Meadows and The Orchard Tea Garden, where Bloomsbury Group members met; or visit Trinity College’s Great Lap, a lap of which was run by Olympians Harold Abrahams and Lord Burghley in the classic English film, Chariots of Fire. Students can also participate in sports, arts, and performances. 

At St Andrewsstudents can visit the well-preserved ruins of the Cathedral of St Andrews and St Andrews Castle, which are perched on a rocky promontory, and take in the spectacular views from St Rule's Tower. In their free time, they take a walk along the beach while enjoying an ice cream at West Sands, or hike along the scenic Fife Coastal Trail. In the afternoons and on weekends, they can escape to the oasis of the St Andrews Botanic Garden, experience traditional Scottish highland games, catch a play at the Byre Theatre, or check out the penguins at the St Andrews Aquarium. They can glimpse the lives and times of previous undergraduates and the history of this prestigious institution at the Museum of the University of St Andrews, or relax with tea and scones at the cafe on the grounds of Cambo Estate Gardens.

 

In Paris, athletically inclined students have access to a gym on-site. The picturesque Luxembourg Gardens, just next door, are ideal for jogging. Students can also practice yoga or aerobics in the school’s dance studio. The Activities Directors take them to the theater, the opera or ballet, musical concerts, a local carnival, and the Bastille Day celebrations. Recent activities have included Sunday picnics in the park of a nearby chateau; an excursion to the Canal Saint-Martin, made famous in the popular movie Amélie; and a visit of the Paris sewers, an historic network that dates back to 1370, and that Victor Hugo described in his 1862 novel, Les Misérables. 

 

Montpellier regularly welcomes a stage of the Tour de France, and hosts a major musical festival every year. Students can use the school gym, do laps at the Olympic swimming pool in the center of town, take a jog through the Jardin du Peyrou or along the Lez River, or join others for a game of soccer, dodgeball, or volleyball. Our staff will also accompany students to local beaches. Montpellier’s cultural resources include the Musée Fabre, home of one of France’s most important collections, and the Opéra Berlioz, renowned for its orchestra. Saint-Pierre Cathedral dates back to the 14th century, and a 12th-century crypt has been restored to house the Museum of the City of Montpellier. Other landmarks include two of the original towers from the medieval fortified city, a late 17th-century Arc de Triomphe dedicated to Louis XIV, and a stone aqueduct modeled on the Pont du Gard. On days with no Minor class, students participate in elective ateliers that they sign up for each week. These provide additional opportunities to speak French while learning French traditional dances, writing and performing skits, singing French songs, and exhibiting original works of art. 

In Barcelona, on site or just nearby, students have access to a gym, tennis court, and basketball courts. Our sports program includes soccer, basketball, yoga, fitness classes, and jogging, as well as outings to local beaches. In addition to the sports facilities, there are a range of spaces where students can gather to relax with new friends or do homework.  Outside the residence, students are encouraged to join in daily expeditions to the city. These include visits to discover the old port, the Gothic church of Santa Maria del Mar, and the cultures and countercultures in El Raval. Students arrive in time to experience both the Barcelona Grec Festival, which features nightly performances of theater, music, dance, and circus, as well as several of the typical festes majors which fill the city's plazas in summertime. Students marvel at the demonstrations of traditional dances and the gravity-defying castells, or human towers, the Catalan tradition which has been recognized by UNESCO as an element of the Intangible Cultural History of Humanity. 

In Salamanca, students are able to immerse themselves fully in the sounds and spirit of the Spanish language. They visit Salamanca’s old (12th century) and new (16th century) cathedrals, and enjoy the Baroque Plaza Mayor, considered one of the most beautiful in Spain. Activities Directors plan visits to Casa Lis, the Museum of Art Deco and Art Nouveau, picnics in public gardens, and outings to music and theater performances hosted in university courtyards or in the Cueva de Salamanca, a cave in which the devil was rumored to have taught classes in black magic until Queen Isabella ordered it sealed off in the 15th century. In the afternoons, students can continue practicing their language skills through a variety of afternoon talleres including calligraphy, flamenco, and improv workshops, or they can develop their language interactively through our sports program. The residence is just a short walk from the University’s Salas Bajas sports facility, which includes a gym, soccer and rugby fields, tennis and beach volleyball courts, and a small golf course. Students can also jog over the 1st-century Roman bridge and along the banks of the historic Río Tormes.


In sunny Los Angeles the Oxbridge at UCLA students use the state-of-the-art UCLA gym with its weight rooms, cardio machines, climbing wall and blue-and-white outdoor track. They take advantage of the nearby tennis courts, Olympic size outdoor swimming pool, and relax on lounges in the California sunshine. During the afternoon, students take the 10-minute walk into Westwood Village to see a movie, grab an ice cream, or visit the Armand Hammer art collection. Activities Directors organize tours of the Getty Museum, Downtown LA, Venice Beach, and a trip to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Students can choose to enjoy beach days on the beautiful Pacific Ocean at Malibu and in Santa Monica on the weekends, and yoga classes, talent contests, and movie nights during the evenings. We also organize various college tours so that students can see USC, UC San Diego, Pepperdine University, and Pomona College in addition to UCLA.

In New Yorkstudents may use the Columbia gym; and the residence is only minutes away from the basketball, tennis, and soccer facilities of Riverside Park and the wide open spaces of Central Park. Students might run a lap of the reservoir in the Park or jog along the Hudson River pathway; explore local farmers’ markets or play speed chess in the open air; or participate in games and tournaments with fellow participants. Other possibilities include joining a member of staff for a walking tour of Greenwich Village, SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown, Times Square, or Governor’s Island; visiting the plethora of museums at their disposal; going to Broadway to catch any number of plays or musicals; or ascending the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center for spectacular views of Manhattan.

Students joining The College Experience in Boston explore Boston and Cambridge, towns that reverberate with culture and history. Landmarks include everything from the Boston Public Library to the Museum of Fine Arts, from Symphony Hall to the New England Aquarium. Walking the Freedom Trail takes them past sites dating back to the revolutionary era. Meanwhile Faneuil Hall, the Italian Quarter, and Quincy Market offer an array of cuisines from around the world. Students can watch a ball game or take a tour of Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox and one of America’s oldest baseball stadiums. Those who want to see everything at once can go to the Top of the Hub, the café on the 52nd floor of Prudential Tower, which boasts magnificent views of the Charles River.


All our cities host summer music and theater festivals, and contain art and museum exhibits offering unique opportunities for cultural exploration and adventure. With the assistance of our staff, students are sure to make the most of their time wherever they choose to be.

Activities Directors on every program also organize a full daily program of elective social events. These typically include dances, quiz nights, talent shows, fashion shows, movie nights, cinema trips, and poetry readings.