The 2024 Zhejiang University(ZJU)——Oxford Prospects Programmes(OPP) Winter School Successfully Launched


Oxford University, as one of the world's top academic institutions, has long been renowned for its outstanding academic tradition and excellent educational quality. Recently, students from Zhejiang University had the opportunity to participate in the Oxford Prospects Programmes, initiating a grand feast of knowledge and culture.

Nestled in the heart of Oxfordshire in central England, Oxford University enjoys a privileged location within the United Kingdom. Oxfordshire itself is a city steeped in both history and natural beauty, cradled by the meandering River Thames and conveniently positioned just 64 kilometers from the bustling metropolis of London.

Famed for its ancient architecture and prestigious academic institutions, Oxfordshire is home to a cluster of grand colleges, many of which are located within the central Oxford University area. These institutions showcase a diverse range of architectural styles, from stately Gothic to refined decorative arts, enveloping students in a rich tapestry of historical charm. The city also boasts enchanting parks, verdant gardens, and tranquil canals that contribute to its allure as a delightful place to reside. Moreover, the city teems with cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries, theaters, and music venues, offering students a plethora of enriching and entertaining activities to partake in.

Interdisciplinary Studies: Unlocking the Door to Future Innovation

The program is divided into four main modules: BFM(Business-Finance-Management) STEM(Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics)LLD(Language-literature-Digital Culture and Communication) and PPEL (Politics-Philosophy-Economics-Law). The curriculum includes lectures, seminars, and other forms of instruction, inviting experts and renowned professors from various fields. Through heuristic and discussion-based teaching methods, students' ability to think critically is stimulated, and they are encouraged to have the courage to speculate. At the same time, they also encourage students to ask questions and actively engage in discussions and debates with professors. This active and open academic atmosphere has been greatly beneficial to the students.

The launch of the Oxford Prospects Programmes not only opens the door to the world's top academic institutions for Zhejiang University students but also further promotes cooperation and exchange between high-level universities in China and the UK. It is believed that this study program will have a profound impact on the academic development and personal growth of the participating students.

Trip in Oxford

On January 22nd, local time, the first group of students from Zhejiang University officially embarked on a two-week course of study and visiting activities at the Wolfson College. There are ten lecturers in this program, all of them are elite scholars from various industries. The morning sessions primarily featured lectures, through which students delved into cutting-edge knowledge in finance and commerce, gaining deeper insights into banking and other financial institutions. The professors' extensive expertise and profound perspectives fueled the students’ thirst for knowledge. Interacting with them, students not only deepened their understanding of academic theories and practical skills but also broadened their academic horizons. The afternoon workshops aimed at refining general skills, encompassing academic presentation skills, critical thinking, short film production, and public speaking skills.

From February 4th to February 18th, 2024, another group of 21 students and faculty members from Zhejiang University, along with representatives from China's Academy of Social Sciences, Xiamen University, and several other universities, embarked on a two-week journey to the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom to participate in the Oxford Prospects Program.

In Oxford, England, students stroll through this academic palace and feel the perfect blend of ancient and modern times. Every Gothic tower and every quaint stone wall could tell about the profound history and rich cultural accumulation. Oxford is not only a city, but also an embodiment of wisdom, containing the dreams and pursuits of countless scholars.

Walking in the windy street, students seem to hear the discussions of those ancient scholars echoing in the air. The colleges of Oxford University are like the pearls of time, connecting the glorious history of every moment of the past.

There, students not only watched the essence of British classical architectural aesthetics, but also experienced the unique academic atmosphere of Oxford. Every time the bell rings, it reminds the students of the inheritance and innovation of the world's knowledge and culture. Oxford is not just a holy place for education. It is more like a seed that nurtures hope and dreams for the future and cultivates the power of dreamers to move forward.

During this journey, Oxford's long history and rich culture have given the students profound inspiration - as time goes by, the light of wisdom will never fade. This force guides human beings to explore the true knowledge and constantly inspires them to pursue a wider world.

Tours and activities

Asides from lectures and workshops, Oxford Prospects Programmes offered a variety of tours to students, who are arranged to visit famous tourist attractions such as Silverstone, Stratford-upon-Avon, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, the British Museum and the Houses of Parliament. Students can get fully immersed in the almost religious atmosphere in the Houses of Parliament, have a close-up appreciation of the most historic cultural artifacts in the British Museum, marvel at the austere and breathtaking regality in Windsor Castle, and be captivated by all the incredible sports cars and uniforms in Silverstone, where legendary car-racing events are held. These tours offer students plenty of opportunities to explore and experience British culture and customs.

Seeing the wonders of treasures at China and abroad. The students’ footsteps echo in the vast corridor of the British Museum, as if they have travelled through ancient and modern times and experienced the long history of civilization. On the way, the students witnessed the brilliance of ancient times, the mystery of ancient Egypt, the glory of Greece and Rome, until their eyes stayed on the profound cultural imprint of the China Pavilion.

In the China Pavilion, the students have stepped into the brilliant cultural treasure house of all dynasties. Stone carvings, pottery terracotta warriors, murals, and various historical fragments are displayed in front of the students like vivid pictures. What impressed the students was the exquisiteness of the Women's History Map of the Song Dynasty and the painted tiles of the Ming Dynasty, as if they had travelled through a hundred years of historical dust and dialogue with those quiet artistic souls. However, when they saw those fragments of cultural relics that had been cut, the students couldn't help but feel the impermanence of history.

The exhibition is not only in chronological order, but also books as a window, which led to the wisdom of ancient and modern times at Chinese and abroad. During this time trip with close contact with the common cultural heritage of mankind, the students realized that although civilization is different, it has never been isolated. Every statue and painting is a witness of cultural exchange and mutual learning.

Stratford-upon-Avon is located on Henley Street in the center of the town, which was Shakespeare's childhood residence. The house is simple and cozy, with a pleasant small garden on the outside. The interior furnishings have been redecorated in the style of the 16th century, but Shakespeare and his family's furniture and ornaments are still mainly original.

The students visited his bedroom, study, living room, kitchen, and other rooms. There is a passionate guide in each room explaining Shakespeare's daily life and the history of some decorations to them. The exhibition hall displays many precious cultural relics and materials about Shakespeare, giving people a more comprehensive understanding of his life.

Located in the Royal Borough of Windsor Maidenhead, Berkshire, in the southeastern region of England, Windsor is the family castle of the Windsor dynasty and the largest inhabited castle in the world today. On February 15th, the students went to Windsor Castle for a visit. The sun was bright and the breeze was blowing. The appearance of Windsor Castle is extremely beautiful in British classical style, while the interior is magnificent and magnificent. Rare treasures from around the world are collected throughout the castle. The students saw porcelain tableware from China and white jade Buddha statues during the visit. European artistic masterpieces (mainly oil paintings from the Renaissance) are displayed in each small room. Visiting the interior of the castle is a journey to learn about the British royal family and also a tour to admire artistic masterpieces.

Complementary to outings, the program also provides participants with multiple activities in Oxfordshire. Students can enjoy a bountiful meal of afternoon tea right after the lecture in British Culture and Etiquette. Moreover, they are invited to the Winter Ball, which is held in Oxford Town Hall. In addition to Scottish dancing, students are also eager to take part in painting their faces, taking photos, having their portraits drawn and other fun challenges. Last but not least, the formal dinner, held on the last night of the program, is the most delightful of all. In the dining hall of Balliol College, which is amazingly similar to that in Harry Potter, students wear a suit-and-tie or a formal dress, seat themselves at four candlelit long tables, and proceed to share a night of fine-dining. Awards of Best Presentations and Best Films are also presented at this ceremony. Students get to watch the short films starred and shot by their peers and get to vote for the three best ones amongst the five that are nominated. It is a night of cheerful and reflective celebration.

Students overall agree that Oxford Prospects Programmes have long-lasting benefits. According to Wu You, she would describe it as “fruitful”, as she has acquired not only knowledge but also friendships and self-growth. She is grateful for the opportunities provided by the program. Another student, Cheng Tianyu, says that the experience “would be cherished memories of her life, and also had a profound impact on her future development.” During her two weeks at Oxford, Wang Jiale realizes “the importance of cross-culture communication” through cultural experiences and social events. In Gao Moce’s opinion, the world is an open book, and this program has been an enlightenment in which he recognizes that real knowledge is not in the textbooks, but rather lies in first-hand experiences of the world.

On the whole, the program is a remarkable success. It combines culture with modernity and challenges with entertainment. Two short weeks at Oxford have readily altered participating students and perhaps will be a source of lifelong influence.


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