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spires from Carfax

the annual cycle

Oxford — March 2012

The daffodils are out in full glory, the cherry trees are starting to blossom, and busloads of tourists have started appearing.

One big change moving from Sydney to Oxford is the seasonality. At a higher latitude, Oxford has shorter winter days and longer summer ones, and the presence of so much deciduous vegetation - as opposed to the most common Australian flora - makes for bigger changes in appearance. In a university town drawing undergraduate students from all over the UK (and sometimes from further abroad), the cycle of the academic year is also pronounced, since most of the undergraduates go home over the long summer break. They are replaced by tourists, who peak in July and August but can be found in reasonable numbers except in winter.

Sydney has a fair number of students and attracts a lot of tourists, too, but in proportion to its population they were not nearly so significant, even living in central Sydney near a university.

1 Comment »

  1. The daffodils and cherry trees maybe in bloom; the seasons come and go, tourists are descending in bus loads in place of the vacationing student population in Oxford. But what about the rain, did it come? Is Oxford spared from the drought? I heard England is experiencing the driest spell ever, some rivers are completely dried up.

    Did you know 75% of NSW was under water a week ago? It is a far cry when we used to read 75% or more of the state was declared drought stricken not so very long ago.

    This is quite apart from the proportion of student to the total population in Sydney. It may not be as pronounced as in Oxford. But as a percentage of the total enrolment, the proportion of overseas students at universities are overwhelming.

    Earlier this evening, I was attending my daughter's graduation ceremony at UNSW. She attained her vocational master's from the University's Australian School of Business. Page after page of the graduands are with Asian names, including the university medallist and the sole Ph D candidate, and mostly Chinese. You could count on the fingers of one hand of those with an Anglo family name.

    It tells us three things : 1) education is indeed a major earner of export dollars. 2) the Chinese do emphasise education as a be all and end all means to security especially in fields of high demand. 3) the universities would find themselve in financial dire straits without the overseas income stream.

    Is Oxford any different?

    Comment by DL — March 2012

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