Dear Rotary friends,

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the summer!

Since I left in August, I travelled through Russia and eastern Europe, arrived in Oxford and promptly got lost in my new house (which has parts dating back to the 11th century) I joined the ballroom dancing team and competed at Blackpool (probably the most famous ballroom in the world). 

I started rowing with my college novice crew, which came 2nd out of 62 crews in the novice regatta and was afterwards drafted into the M1 senior college boat. We just rowed at Henley two weeks ago, and have our big Oxford races (Torpids) this week.

I also joined what turns out to be the top student a cappella group in the UK (Out of the Blue Oxford), and went on a 2 week UK tour with them, running singing workshops in schools and performing all over England. Rather a surprise given I hadn’t sung in public before coming here!

On a different note, I figured that I’d gotten my bad luck out of the way early: after a (literal) team of friends managed to get my road bike here from NZ, it was stolen 33 hours after arriving in England, and after a hard decision to invest a lot of my remaining savings in replacing it, when I withdrew the money for it my bank card was hacked and my savings emptied!


The Oxford community and the Rhodes community within it are absolutely lovely and supportive and friendly. Part of me was definitely concerned that it would be awash with aristocratic and snobbish people, but I haven’t found that at all (with some notable exceptions). Everyone has been hugely welcoming (within a day of having my card emptied my college chaplain, college, the Rhodes trust and a number of my friends had offered to lend me money to get through!), and it is fascinating listening to others’ backgrounds and points of view.

I’ve been remiss with Rotary, and haven’t gotten around to meeting the clubs over here yet, but I will look forward to exploring them in 2017.

I hope everyone is well back home, and enjoying the summer! I have enjoyed keeping up with the notices, and following a little of what has been happening. My invitation is certainly open for the next 3 years, if anyone is visiting nearby, I would love to show you around some of the special places I have found in Oxford.


Best wishes, Oscar