I recently had the opportunity to visit Oxford University, during a trip to England. I was expecting to see a grand and stately educational institution - which I did. I had not done my homework, though, and was surprised by the history of the place. Teaching in one form or another has existed at Oxford since 1096!
A 1,000-year-old city wall dominates certain parts of the town, and in addition to the roll call of famous alumni, important parts of England's history took place at or near Oxford - including the burning at the stake of Henry VIII's Archbishop Cranmer, for heresy! Geometry professor Edmund Halley correctly predicted the return of the Halley's Comet. In addition, John and Charles Wesley started what would become the Methodist Church with prayer meetings at Oxford.
New College, one of 38 at Oxford, was part of our tour, and it's beautiful! Unlike the American system of higher education, students are admitted to individual colleges, where they live, eat, study, play, worship and become involved in sports and activities. They attend the same lectures and take the same tests, regardless which college they are a part of. Ultimately though, they all graduate from Oxford University. Also, students only study 1 to 3 subjects during their 3 or 4 years at the school, and do so intensely, rather than taking numerous "general education" classes, like in the U.S.