Ancient and Modern

27th August 2019

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Twenty-two pupils from across the country have been exploring ‘Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World’ at Wadham’s five-day Classics Summer School. 

Many students do not have the chance to study Classics at school, and Wadham’s Summer School provides a perfect opportunity to discover the subject and Oxford student life at the same time.

Matilda (17), from a state school in Essex, has been learning about the Graeco-Roman world for the first time:  “It is interesting to see how many of the ideas we are hearing seem so modern and relevant. I was really surprised by reading Ovid’s Heroides – a poem written by a man but from a woman’s perspective; it could have been written now!”

Ayesha (17), from a state school in Bedford, says: “I am beginning to understand the scope of a degree in Classics – there is lots to learn and I love how you look at the topic through different voices. The people teaching us are so enthusiastic and their passion spreads to us.”

Ayesha heard about the summer school from her literature teacher. She also visited Wadham at the Open Day in July. “This experience makes me realise that Oxford is a very regular university, but with the benefit of the tutorial system, which makes it different from what others have to offer. I like that Wadham College is laid-back and friendly. Meeting the other participants in the summer schools has been a big plus. Everyone is from different places and different types of school, and we are learning from each other. Oxford is definitely one of my top choices for university.” 

“Meeting the student ambassadors has been very helpful,” added Matilda. “You have a vision of who goes to Oxford and think they are very different from you, but that’s not the case, and it is not a threatening environment at all.”

The Classics summer school programme includes daily language classics in Ancient Greek, a visit to the antiquities collection at the Ashmolean Museum, and a seminar series led by Wadham tutors (Peter Thonemann, Stephen Heyworth, Juliane Zachhuber) and former Wadham Classics students (Emma Searle, Supratik Baralay, Ella Sackville-Adjei), including lectures on gender in Latin poetry, sex-dreams in the ancient world, Greek priestesses, and Roman empresses.  The programme also includes talks from the Classics Outreach officer, Qasim Alli, and from Wadham’s Access officer, Hugh Munro, on Classical degrees at Oxford, preparing for Oxford admissions tests, and an interview and personal statements workshop.

Wadham College would particularly like to thank our wonderful student ambassadors, Zahra Grieve, Imogen Front, Taiwo Oyebola and Dhanya Nair, three of whom are themselves alumnae of the Wadham Classics Summer School.

This summer school programme is made possible thanks to the generosity of Wadham alumni.