Oxford: I wouldn't choose any other program! Past Review

By (Political Science, Economics, Wellesley College) for

University of Oxford - Visiting Students

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I thought that I experienced an incredible amount of personal growth in addition to gaining a lot from the incredible academic experience. My experience at Oxford has only reinforced my love for learning and has made me set my sights so much higher in all areas of my life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The system at Oxford is radically different from at American liberal arts colleges; there were only two required contacts hours per week and all lectures were optional. That being said, tutors expected a lot from students, and it was necessary to spend a lot of time in the library reading and writing essays in order to do well in tutorials. The grading system is different in that everything is scaled downwards; for example, a 75 would be considered very good (A quality), a 65 would be considered good (B quality) and so on. In terms of teaching style, Oxford students get the best of both worlds; plenty of large lectures to choose from and individual instruction from tutors on a weekly basis.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

All of the staff at St. Peter's were very helpful when we arrived and made many efforts to make us comfortable and feel at home in the college. However, there was very little in the way of information sent along to us ahead of time, and there was often confusion re which activities and we were meant to attend as visiting students (as opposed to freshers). This could have been done more clearly. Overall, more information needed to be provided for visiting students, and it would have been helpful to have a more active advisor and more frequent check-in meetings.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing was very conveniently located, each of us had our own room with a bathroom, we had maid service ("scouts" came to clean our rooms on a regular basis), and bedding was provided.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Oxford has a fantastic social life - there are many societies (clubs), sports teams, and social events that enable visiting students to fully enjoy students life and make great friends. Oxford has many wonderful traditions and every visiting student I knew enjoyed taking part in them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Oxford is a very safe city; I at no time felt unsafe. In terms of medical help, no special vaccines were needed and health issues were similar to those faced in America. I would also note that we were all covered by the NHS.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about 100 dollars on food each week and about another 100-200 dollars on entertainment and personal expenses. This varied a lot based on whether I was traveling outside of Oxford.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would say that it is possible to get by without a lot of extra income but that students should note that there are fees outside of tuition for food, society and team participation (such as the Oxford Union, sports, or interest societies), and events such as balls. Students should save as much as possible for these types of things as well as for travel.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

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  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Even if you're unsure of the academic environment or are worried that your GPA might be too low to apply, don't be scared off so easily! If you're even remotely interested in attending Oxford and you're a strong and dedicated student in the areas in which you're applying to study, just put in the application and see what happens. Just consult with the study abroad staff and talk about alternate applications (for example to other British universities - UCL, LSE, University of Edinburgh, and St. Andrews are all fantastic options as well). I almost dismissed the idea of applying because I thought it would be too hard but I thought that there was just the right mix of work and play and enjoyed every minute of my time there! Also, don't be fazed by the idea of going for a whole year - that's the only way to do it - talk to your major department(s) and find a way to make it happen. You won't regret applying to Oxford!