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A Summer of Oxford Formals

By Rasadhi Attale

I find Trinity Term to be the best time to go for formals at other colleges. More students are keen for exchanges, specially if they are in their final year. This Trinity Term I managed a record breaking 5 formals in 13 days! I started with Keble and went onto Brasenose, Mansfield, Queens and concluded with Christ Church. My favourites are Brasenose and Mansfield. Both had good food, very friendly staff and my Brasenose host was a delight! She was happy to show us around the college and took us to see the amazing view of the Radcam from the library. Dining in the chapel at Mansfield was a unique experience too and true to their reputation their vegetarian food is amazing. I was alone at the Mansfield formal without a host or friends, but the lovely students at Mansfield more than made up for it. I ended the night having met 4 new friends!

Both Keble and Mansfield had their choir sing at the start of the formal, which made the formals extra special! Keble with its impressive dining hall and the choir singing from the balcony is a highly recommended experience to be had.

Queens was the shortest formal I attended. We were done with the dinner in 45 minutes. It’s a quaint college and probably the only college building in Oxford that reminds you of an impressive government building more than a college. It is apparently the most symmetric college building in Oxford. Queens also boast a lovely garden just like Brasenose.

My grand finale for this term was Christ Church. Dining in the great hall for a Harry Potter fan like me is a dream come true! And although most say the food is not good, I must say the food was acceptable. It was better than I had expected given what I had heard. Even with subpar food, dining at the great hall of Hogwarts is an experience that is unbeatable.

One aspect of all these formals are the hosts/fellow students you meet. My host at Queen’s had the most interesting thesis topic I have come across. Her thesis was on Black Widow and feminism. At Mansfield I met a soon to be corporate lawyer and I dined with a Duke at Christ Church.

Another aspect of all these formals were how each college can be different. At Kellogg, we have unlimited alcohol as a standard. In most colleges I realised this was not the case and you had to buy alcohol additionally. This fact is however reflected in the pricing of the formal, with Kellogg having a higher price tag compared to most others.


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