I’m Freya, a second year student at Pembroke College studying English Language and Literature. Last week, I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to work with the Oxplore team as a Content Development Intern. I have worked with Oxford outreach programmes before, and I think that it’s really important to bring people together, and education is a great way to do it! It just so happened that last week coincided with a certain outreach event: the Oxford versus Cambridge Varsity rugby match.
As a person whose understanding of sport is limited –- to say the least –- I definitely wasn’t expecting to have as much fun as we did. The Twickenham stadium is massive, but the rugby players weren’t daunted at all. The crowd consisted of school trips from all year groups, Oxbridge students and overly-invested dads! It was a very sociable atmosphere, and I felt like I learnt a lot about the power of sport to bring people together.
Lauren, the other Oxplore intern, was very concerned that we would be running our outreach event from the middle of the pitch, kind of like Beyonce at her Super Bowl performance. Luckily, we had a separate event room to run the Oxplore event. The event was held to around 200 students at a time, and we teamed up with about 10 student ambassadors to run the event. Our job was not just to help the leaders of the event, but to try and have a proper chat with the students and get the discussion flowing.
Firstly, we explained what Oxplore was and asked them to think about what a Big Question is. Then we asked them to consider the big question ‘Should celebrities influence you more than your parents?’ I had some really interesting conversations with students who pointed out that they probably spend more time on social media –- and celebrity ‘influencers’ — than with their parents. This led to real engagement with the question, and I thought it was great that these Big Questions have such personal implications and make you re-examine elements of your own life.
This has certainly happened for me too. In creating the new glossaries for Oxplore questions such as ‘Are humans ruining the Earth?’ and ‘Would you pay everyone the same’?, has made me really delve into the key ideas that these questions bring up. Trying to define the key terms has also made me re-evaluate my own knowledge of these things and led to a deeper understanding of these questions.
Overall, I want to thank the Oxplore team for welcoming me in so enthusiastically, and for the work they do for creating such an engaging and accessible platform. I learnt a lot over my week as an Oxplore intern – not just the rules of rugby!