The Oxbow School: Where students are educated and inspired
Source: The Oxbow School

“Oxbow was the perfect place for me because I came wanting to embrace the Oxbow experience and pushed myself to try new things.” – Dana Nguyen, Semester Abroad student, The Oxbow School

At the heart of California’s Napa Valley sits The Oxbow School – a Semester School dedicated to new ideas and possibilities.

Just 45-minutes from San Francisco – a cultural and cosmopolitan treasure trove – Oxbow students are exposed to the wonders of the world’s most innovative city. From the Golden Gate Bridge to world-class museums young learners adore this iconic city and all it has to offer.

But the school is also set close to the Pacific Coast; a conveniently close getaway where learners can relax, unwind or seek thrilling adventures for a well-earned break from the books. On top of this, students can visit breath-taking state and national parks located just a few hours from campus, promising the ultimate blend of natural world and city experience.

“One of the advantages of studying in Napa was that it kept me focused on Oxbow but also provided enough space to explore and hang out,” says Dana Nguyen, an 18-year old student who spent the spring semester studying at The Oxbow School.

“I’ve always lived in or near a major city, so being in a more secluded place allowed me to focus more on my art practice and the community I had at Oxbow,” she adds. “I think the location is student-friendly because there’s a lot of nature for hikes and also a downtown area to explore.”

Oxbow encompasses a four-month boarding program for Juniors, Seniors, and Gap Year students, with a popular Summer Art Camp catering to students age 14-17. With a curriculum designed to match or better the requirements of the top public and private high schools in the US, the school is as devoted to high-quality academics as it is to art creation.

All courses here are accredited, honors-level and college preparatory. It’s well-known that Oxbow hosts one of the best art programs in the country, fostering every creative modality both in and outside of the classroom.

“Oxbow made time for academics during the day by having three-hour academic classes followed by three-hour art classes,” Dana explains.

“I felt like there was enough time dedicated to academics and learning what I needed to in school.”

By offering multiple points of entry for each project, all students have access to this cutting-edge curriculum regardless of individual strengths, ensuring the perfect balance of excellence in academic and artistic pursuits.

“I learned many ways to research and produce work that I always wanted to create but had no direction on how to do it,” says Dana.

“For my Walden Project at Oxbow, I explored vulnerability and the relationship I have to it, as well as how others view it. I had conversations with a few peers exploring our past relationships and photographed them crying. The conversations we had drew us even closer as friends and changed me as a person.”

Here, studio practice is not about mulling things over and waiting for inspiration to strike. Instead, students are urged to design problems and then use creative action to solve them. This opens a whole new world of concepts and potential, instilling a broad range of skills that can serve fast-evolving goals and environments.

Having welcomed well over 1,200 learners from all over the US and the world, students here are driven by the courage to step into the unknown. Here, young minds gain insight and grow among like-minded peers, defining their path to a rewarding career in art and design, medicine, education, public policy and beyond.

“Oxbow prepared me very well for what I wanted to do in my future,” adds Dana. “I wouldn’t have had the confidence or reassurance needed for my future plans if it weren’t for the conversations I had with my teachers and peers, or the information I learned about pursuing art as a career.

“I applied to mostly art schools during the college application process and having Oxbow on my transcript was recognized by many of the colleges I met with during my portfolio day. I am currently attending my first semester at Parsons School of Design for a BFA in Photography.”

Like many students, Dana chose to study at The Oxbow School because she was eager for a challenge; keen for exposure to a broader, global environment that would help her push boundaries not just in art-making, but in all her endeavours as she moves through adult life.

“I had never been to a boarding school or lived away from my parents for months at a time, so I learned a huge sense of responsibility and time management during my Oxbow experience,” she concludes.

“I discovered a lot about myself and felt a lot more comfortable to express and be myself in such a safe environment.”

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