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Erik's View: Oxford's Shark & Gap Years

Erik Redli is a university graduate from Slovakia who is currently living in London. Each week he gives his view on the events of the last seven days. This week he's looking at sharks at Oxford University and the benefits of a gap year.

The Oxford Party Shark

It emerged last week that Oxford students had been banned from hiring a live shark to appear at their end of year Ball. 

"A few weeks ago I mentioned the Oxford students and their game of ice hockey on the frozen university mews. At the bar at my former university, they have a goalkeeper hanging above the counter (as you can see in the photo above). Really original, but harmless.

But some ideas are really crazy, and I agree with the final decision of the university over the shark. Bringing animals to parties can be alright- you can see it in every American movie. Even in Slovakia, there is a joke about two students:

One of them suggests: "We should keep a pig in our room?"

"I don't know" replies the other, "How about all the dirt and mess?"

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Live Shark Banned from Oxford University Party

In one of the more bizarre stories of the year, student organisers of a black-tie ball at Oxford University have been banned from displaying a living shark as entertainment. The students at Somerville College had planned to make the animal the centre piece of their end of year party only to be told by the principal last week that it would not be allowed.

It all started in January when posters started appearing around the college advertising the May 4th ball. At £110 per ticket, it was billed as "one night of decadence, debauchery and indulgence". However, the really intriguing part came from the poster below.

Foreign Students's picture

Oxford University Questions Visa Changes

Oxford University is the latest high profile voice to condemn the changes in visa regulations, whilst welcoming Indian students to continue applying. With changes making it harder to gain a post-study work visa, Oxford Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton wanted to urge potential students form India not to be put off.

The new regulations kicked-in at the start of April, meaning that only a handful of international students will be able stay on and work after their studies in the UK. Since these changes were announced last year, there have been figures from throughout higher education criticising them.

"Confusing and Off-Putting"

Most recently, speaking to the BBC Asian Network, a number of Oxford students, graduates and professors all questioned the motives and effectiveness of the new visa regulations. There are more than 350 Indian students at Oxford University, making them the sixth largest group of overseas students studying there. University heads want to maintain this popularity amongst Indians.

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