Yesterday, to cap off a wonderful two weeks of deepening friendships, academic excellence, and cultural expansion, the students in Merton formally graduated from ORA.
Before the ceremony, however, there was a final morning of lessons, ending after lunch with a last tutorial. In the tutorials, students were led on an academic retrospective of all that they have learnt over the past fortnight: a short space of time but with a lot, as the students quickly realised, fitted into it.
The Graduation Ceremony was a lovely affair. Julia Abbott, the Programme Director, gave a short speech congratulating the students, and observing how proud she was to have been able to help to look after and get to know the students gathered before her. Truly, it has been a very successful time.
After the chance for the Student Ambassador, speaking on behalf of the students, to thank the staff and express their pleasure at having been able to take part in the course, and after the prize winners had been congratulated for their effort and achievement, the party headed to the Merton College Bar. It has been a source of great pleasure, for both staff and students, to be able to spend evenings talking with each other and getting to know on a personal level a great many people over a few drinks; and in the College Bar, this very enjoyable tradition was carried on for one last night.
Certainly, the staff in Merton are sorry to see the students go, as much as the students are to bid goodbye to the staff and their new-found friends amongst themselves; but we are sure that whatever they do, they will be successful. We have been deeply impressed by them, and hope to see them all again next year.