Founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope, Trinity College originally consisted of a President, twelve Fellows, and twelve Scholars, chosen from Pope's manors in Hertfordshire, or "from any county in England" if his properties failed to produce an adequate supply of suitable candidates. Pope's successors presided over the College's growth into one of the most impressive colleges in Oxford. The Dining Hall was constructed in 1618, and the chapel, begun in 1691, was completed three years later. The chapel has a beautiful wood-paneled interior with an altar carving by Grinling Gibbons and a ceiling painting of the Ascension by Pierre Berchet (1659-1720). In the early seventeenth century the first part of the Garden Quad was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and later additions, including one of the largest and most beautiful of the Oxford college gardens, make Trinity College a truly handsome residence.
Housing & Dining
All Seminar students reside at Trinity College, many in a quadrangle partially designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the seventeenth century.
Students live in either modern single rooms or traditional Oxford double suites, which include private bedrooms and large sitting rooms, as well as window seats, high ceilings, and wood paneling.
Meals are served in the College Dining Hall, constructed in 1618. The meal plan includes five dinners—Sunday through Thursday nights—and breakfast seven days per week. This plan includes the weekly High Table Nights on Tuesdays, which all students attend, and the Balcony Dinners on Mondays, which each student attends once during the summer. On Friday and Saturday, breakfast is the only meal provided, leaving students free to eat out in Oxford, or, if they wish, wherever they travel that weekend. Oxford abounds in delightful yet affordable small restaurants, cafes, and pubs. Cooking is not permitted in student rooms, but refrigerators in each room make it possible for students to keep beverages and prepared food for sandwiches or snacks. Sandwiches, salads, and other reasonably priced take-out items are readily available in nearby shops.
High Table Dinners
The weekly High Table Dinners hosted in the Trinity dining hall have proved one of the most consistent highlights of the Seminar. Typically, a High Table Dinner features a lecture taught by a guest speaker on a subject relating to British and Oxfordian culture, history, or art, followed by a dinner in formal attire. The three-course meals are as delicious as they are filling. This dinner often includes Seminar faculty, and provides an occasion for professors and students to open themselves up to friendly, casual conversation outside of the classroom environment. Many past seminar participants have emphasized that this time spent bonding with their peers and the faculty was instrumental in furthering their own confidence and speaking skills. It also serves as an opportunity for one to learn about some of the finer things – participants receive instruction in formal dinner etiquette, and learn to become comfortable in a new cultural environment. Each dinner provides fantastic new memories!
Trinity College's spacious gardens are among the finest in Oxford, and provide an exquisite setting for conversation, reading or a casual stroll. They include the protected front lawn, where no one (including the President of the College) is permitted to walk on the meticulously-kept grass.
But never fear; students are encouraged to sit, lie, chat, or study on the enormous and secluded back lawn, as long as they observe the following rules: no towels or blankets, no drinking red wine or coffee. (Fortunately tea, white wine and soft drinks are allowed.)
Recreation and the Outdoors
A few blocks away from Trinity College are the University Parks, with beautiful trails for running and jogging, fields for pick-up soccer and ample space to study, sunbathe, play or picnic. For those who need an indoor work-out, Oxford has several gyms that offer short-term memberships. The city also boasts an exquisite botanical garden, two rivers (the Thames and the Charwell), where students can swim and punt (i.e., boat), the latter being an old, well-established and thoroughly romantic Oxford tradition. Students will also enjoy the Oxford canal with its long tow path. Those who crave the sight of animals can walk 10 minutes from Trinity to visit the famous, centuries-old Port Meadow, common grazing land by the Thames, where herds of cows, sheep and horses mingle with the wild geese and swans.