Jiaxian Shi









By Jiaxian Shi

Play better work better

During the very intensive assessment week, when your paper is due and you will have to take two exams in a row, Oxford MBAs may seem stressed. Why not spend a day at Blenheim Palace, a world heritage site which lies only about 30 minutes bus ride from Oxford?

The palace is not only a large mansion, but also a spectacular park over 2000 acres. It takes about two hours to take a walk around the perimeter. Just imagine the size!

On a sunny afternoon, one can enjoy the sunshine, which is very precious in England during wintertime, and the landscape designed by the Master Brown. Although it is said that the landscape was originally designed for best view from the horseback or from the carriage, it is still worth visiting. If you are not feeling energetic enough to walk or jog in the park, the formal gardens provide an easy alternative. These beautiful English gardens include the Water Terraces, Rose Garden and Churchill Memorial Garden. Never miss the Temple of Diana, a romantic place where Churchill proposed to his beloved Clementine Hozier.

During the Christmas period, there are two events that you will never want to miss at Blenheim Palace – Alice in the Palace and the Illuminated Light Trail. Being one of the symbols of Oxford, the motif of Alice is everywhere around Oxford. (The others are Tolkien, Lewis, and Harry Potter. By the way, in the park, there is the so-called “Harry Potter Tree”, where scenes of the ‘Whomping Willow’ in the film were shot.)

The rooms are decorated according to the story and all kinds of objects are arranged to transform the palace to the real Alice Wonderland. And you can meet a real Alice! The illumination is wonderful as well, you can grab a cup of mulled wine to warm yourself and walk with your friends through the long trail illuminated by all kinds of lights. The climax happens at the end of the trip, where animations are projected onto the palace walls in time exciting Christmas music.

Studying in Oxford means being busy every day. There are too many courses to take, too many papers to write, too many networking activities to take part in… it’s important not to forget to have a rest!

As an old Chinese idiom says, play better and work better!

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