If you’re an overseas student thinking of studying at Oxford University or are already packing your bags ready for your first semester, then you’re more than likely feeling a little apprehensive about what’s to come and what to expect when you arrive.
Studying in a foreign country is very different from your own, but Oxford being the prestigious University that it is has a fantastic support program for all international students. You won’t ever feel alone, as you’ll meet many other people from around the world at the University – and they’ll be keen to get to know you and your background! Oxford is actually quite an unusual place for most students from the UK too due to the grandeur and presence of the University and its architecture throughout the city. You could say that it’s a very special city, and one of a kind.
Culture and Immersion
If culture is your thing then Oxford is certainly the place to be, as there is plenty of beauty to be admired within the city.
The stately and ornate Blenheim Palace and Gardens is a world heritage site and the birthplace of influential politician Winston Churchill.
Christchurch Cathedral is a wonderful piece of gothic architecture that is visited by thousands of people each year simply to enjoy the history that it inspires.
Bodleian Library is the oldest teaching room at the University and the setting of the famous Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.
Although studying at Oxford can be quite intense (and sometimes overwhelming), all students deserve some downtime outside of study hours. Oxford works on the college system, and every student is accepted into a community or college, with its own dorms, campus and traditions. Each college also has its own student union hosting pub quizzes, club nights and other social activities so this will be a great place for you to meet new people. Joining one of the many societies is another fantastic way to meet new friends and also take time out from studying.
Every Wednesday is sports night and you may find yourself heading to a nightclub such as Lava & Ignite or Camera with your new friends, or perhaps you’ll prefer a quiz night and a pint at popular pub The Royal Blenheim.
If you are in a rush or just feeling lazy, then hop on the great bus network between all University colleges and the city centre-- plus the OUSU (Oxford University Student Union) night bus service provides a safe means of transport up to 3am each night for all students at a small cost of just £1 per journey.
Culture Shock and Support
If you have already been accepted into Oxford, then visit the forums at The Student Room to meet fellow students and find answers to any questions that you might have. If you haven’t yet applied and are unsure how to then the first place you need to head to is the UK admissions service (UCAS) or to the site of your chosen program to submit an application.
Oxford isn’t the cheapest place to live in England and, being a student, all the socializing is bound to take a toll on your pockets so be sure to look out for student discounts that are available at many restaurants, bars and shops to help your money stretch that little bit further. You will simply be asked to show your student card upon payment at any participating outlet. Student Beans is a great site for finding discounted deals and freebies for a wide range of things from beauty products to theatre tickets.
You may need to set yourself up with a UK bank card when you arrive - most national banks offer great accounts for international students, so take a look at this guide for all the information you’ll need on opening an account.
Does studying abroad sound awesome but expensive? True, studying abroad CAN mean added costs, but there are still a ton of ways to offset the expense. If you're not up for bake-sale, check out the following scholarships:
- API offers a variety of scholarships for those participating in their programs
- Gilman scholarships
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships
Contributed by Leila Wright
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