After a weekend of fun travel (students jet-setted to Dublin, Paris, Cambridge, Sandwich, and the Netherlands), our group reconvened Monday morning for a second and final exam. Ouch. To stay in our students' good graces, we planned another fun Monday afternoon outing...this time to Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill and current home of the eleventh Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. The palace was built for the first Duke of Marlborough by Queen Anne in 1704 after the Duke's victory of the French at the Battle of Blenheim.
Our tour of the palace had a business theme and our group learned what it takes to keep such a grand building up and running. We learned about Blenheim's revenue streams, the less than stellar Dukes of the past who squandered money, and the more business savvy Dukes who have made Blenheim Palace what it is today.
As I write this post today, the group is packing up to leave Oxford tomorrow morning. We'll meet for a dinner tonight, then be on our way. At the beginning of our time here, we made a goal to really get to know Oxford. To move beyond the role of tourist and better understand the people and culture of this great town. As I've witnessed our students giving directions to other visitors, compare cultural differences between England and other countries, and wear their Oxford sweatshirts with pride, I think it's easy to see we've reached out goal. Though we all agree a few more weeks wouldn't hurt the process. This trip has gone by quickly. I have a feeling this is just the beginning (or middle, for some) of many experiences for our group as we continue to learn how each of us... our values, culture, and viewpoints... fits into this global world.