After morning lessons, the students in Merton returned to their seminars, in which they are now beginning to prepare their projects for the rest of the fortnight. In the afternoon, workshops were held, with interactive practical learning focused upon improving students’ understanding of their fields. In the Public Speaking class, students took part in one of the famous ‘balloon debates’: each student chose a character, living or from history –and real or fictional—on whose behalf they would argue against being pushed out of a hot air balloon needing to shed weight. The task gave the students the chance to put into practice the skills that they have been studying in their lectures and seminars; and it was, in addition to the valuable learning experience, also a lot of fun.
In the evening, one half of Merton’s students had the chance to experience a dinner at one of the world’s most renowned restaurants, the award-bedecked Le Manoir— and the other half, though due to follow tomorrow night, had a dinner of their own to remember in Merton’s Hall. After an afternoon spent, at least by those in the Public Speaking class, arguing for their lives aboard the Debate Balloon, the students left in Merton were treated to the visit of a magician, who amazed onlookers by going round the tables with some impressive card tricks. If anybody had been watching, perhaps even the severe faces of the old Masters on the walls might have been seen to crack a smile. After supper, a games night quickly turned into an informal snooker competition. Early signs favour Max Veicht, but with discussion ongoing as to whether he was the overall winner, we will have to allow it to continue to unfold throughout the week!