"Oxford Summer Courses was founded in 2010, when two friends and Oxford graduates decided to share the remarkable experience they had while at university there with the world. The founders - Harry and Rob - had the idea to create short courses based on an honest and authentic taste of Oxford education, Oxford living, and Oxford culture, all served up by Oxford academics.
"After our beginnings in Oxford, it didn’t take long for an expansion to Cambridge to occur, with Fitzwilliam College becoming one of our first college partners there. The model in Cambridge was different however, as we built a network of local experts - just as we had in Oxford - to tap into the true magic of the place. Our courses in Cambridge are based on a distinctive approach to natural sciences, unique interdisciplinary courses, and a whole new cultural adventure.
"In only two years, we managed to grow our courses in Cambridge to twice the size. From our beginnings of 60 students, we now host nearly 150 residential students across the summer. Further growth is expected in the future, as students are increasingly drawn to Cambridge for its start-up scene, and reputation for innovation.
"Since our beginnings in Cambridge, Fitzwilliam College has consistently supported us, and we have been proud to partner with them and host our students there. The college has been perfect for our small classes, of no more than eight students. Learning in a small group here has allowed our students to gain quality time with their tutors, and ask as many questions as they like. Fitzwilliam College is the ideal base for our students to expand their minds, and enhance their summer studies, and we are very proud that the College has hosted us and been so amazing to work with.
"Oxford Summer Courses now operates award winning short educational courses at over seven locations worldwide, for students aged nine to 24, with over 40 subjects to choose from. We are proud that many of our college connections and tutors have remained with us from the very beginning, and that our students are continually amazed by all that they see and learn.
"We are also very proud of the recent accolades we have won - including placing in the top 100 FT Future UK, in the top 1000 FT Fastest Growing Companies in Europe, placing 22nd in the Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100, and being one of Breathe HR and Real Business’ Top 25 UK Leading SME Culture Leaders in 2018.
"We are looking forward to the future, and to our continued partnership with Fitzwilliam College."
Monika Jerszynska, Cambridge Programme Manager, Oxford Summer Courses
A crash course in Nanotech by Rory Wilkinson – Chairman, Bucksmore Education
"When I was first asked to put on an introductory nanotechnology course I didn’t know what it was. The request came from the International Student Exchange arm of the Jiangsu Province Educational Authority (JESIE), based in Nanjing, China. They wanted the course for Jiangsu Province engineering undergraduates. Don’t be misled by the word province: there are more universities in Jiangsu Province than in the whole of the UK.
"We knew what JESIE wanted as we’d worked with them before and were already running two undergraduate courses for them in medicine and business. Those two courses were the most popular and highest ranked courses of all the international courses JESIE provided, so there was a lot of pressure on us to provide a course of the same quality.
"It meant a crash course for me and Bucksmore Education in learning about the complexities of nanotechnology and creating a format which would give students insight into different aspects of nanotechnology. We were very lucky to persuade Professor Bill Milne, who was the original director of the nanotechnology department at the University, and Professor Arokia Nathan, also eminent in the field, to be our lecturers. A course incorporating lectures, classes, workshops and projects – led by nanotechnology postgraduates – English lessons to help with the students’ English was devised. It also included a full social programme supervised by a mixture of undergraduate and postgraduate counsellors, who accompanied the students throughout the course and ensured that their social life and UK experience was as fulfilling and as unforgettable as we could make it.
"It was no surprise that we chose Fitzwilliam College, my old college, as the location for the course. Fitzwilliam is one of the best colleges we work with in accommodating our courses and we have been working with the college since 2003. Our Chinese students particularly like Fitzwilliam. They like the campus feel to the college, the gardens, the greenery and the variety of buildings. They also really appreciate the conference, catering and cleaning staff and the porters who are all magnificent with them. The college and its staff are extremely welcoming and kind to international students during the summer. But, above all, they love Fitzwilliam because it is modern. Living in old buildings doesn’t always go down that well with our Chinese clients!
"The first nanotechnology course was held in Fitzwilliam College in July and August 2016. It was a great success. This coming year will mark the fourth year we have run this course. We also run an undergraduate business course at Fitzwilliam over the same summer period.
"I was proud of my college when I was an undergraduate and I am proud of my college and its excellent conferencing and events departments now. I am also delighted to have a close professional relationship with Fitzwilliam College now which I have enjoyed for more than 16 years."
In August 2018, a five-day intense Residential Russian Summer School was held at Fitzwilliam College, open to anyone interested in either improving their knowledge of Russian, or learning it from scratch. There were 60 participants, ranging in age from 16 to 86, who thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There were classes at five levels (from absolute beginners to very fluent speakers), taught by skilful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic teachers of Russian, who were all native speakers. The students particularly valued the inclusive and stimulating atmosphere of camaraderie, friendship and support. In addition to formal classes, various clubs ran in the afternoon, such as singing, dancing, and drama, while evenings were busy with talks and films, culminating with the concert put on by the participants!
Tanya Yurasova, Independent Teacher of Russian in collaboration with The Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society, Cambridge