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Living in Oxford
Oxford University is arguably the most famous university in the English-speaking world. Combined with the more recent addition of Oxford Brookes University, the city quite rightly takes a lot of pride in it's academic prowess.
Apparently a poet called Matthew Arnold once referred to the impressive university buildings as a ‘city of dreaming spires’. Wow. You can tell he got out a lot. Mr Arnold did have a point though: Oxford is a very good-looking city. Although it’s a modern place to live and work, this history is obvious in the older parts of town, which are still cobbled, and in all the amazing old buildings. On arriving as a student in Oxford you definitely feel that you’re joining that long heritage of students, many of them famously successful. No pressure!
On a less serious note, there are other things to do in Oxford than study (despite what your tutors will tell you). When you’re not working your socks off, take some time out to wander round the older shops in Oxford. It’s easily compact enough to get around without needing a car so make the most of it.
Oxford’s reputation draws a lot of international talent from the arts, and barely a day goes by without a concert, exhibition or play happening somewhere in the city. The drama scene in Oxford is extremely good so whatever your bank balance is looking like, there’ll be something to suit you. There are also museums to visit, and the cathedral. And then the pub. All students are aware that brainwork requires regular fueling, and no one knows this like Oxford students do. Some of the colleges actually used to have their own private breweries, with the precise recipes being closely guarded secrets. Sadly those days are over (although I’m sure you could still find someone brewing up a keg in their laundry cupboard if you tried) but getting a decent pint in Oxford is not difficult at all. There’s also a healthy club scene.
It’s advisable to bring your sports kit, as alongside its academic achievements Oxford takes it’s extra-curricular activities very seriously. The most famous event is the Oxford-Cambridge boat race that takes place on the Thames every year, but there’s also football, rugby, hockey and ice skating to have a go at. Competition is fierce, so have your game face on and your best banter at the ready.
But I have no money:
- Sneak into Christ Church College with some mates and a camera (we’re just kidding, you don’t have to sneak. Even for non-students it’s only £6 to enter as a tourist) and spend the morning hunting out locations used in the Harry Potter films. Extra points if you Facebook us photos of some scene re-enactments!
- Take a romantic moonlit walk to Radcliffe Square. Surrounded by the incredible architecture of the college buildings, this is renowned as the most beautiful spot in Oxford.
- Go to the Christ Church Meadows and down to the strip of the Thames that students call ‘The Isis’. It’s the perfect place to either relax in the sunshine, change your study environment, or just watch the rowing teams put in lots of effort while you just sit there and enjoy. Bliss.
Good to know:
- When we said you wouldn’t need a car, we meant it. There’s not a lot of parking, and the city is so flat that really you’re better off with a bike.
- However, if in a pinch, ring 001 Taxis
- The city bus service is very efficient, and there’s also the BROOKESbus. This goes between the halls at Oxford Brookes, the train station, and the city centre. A discounted BROOKESkey card is available for students travelling to and from the halls. Check the website for details.
Read Oxford Reviews
Very good public transport due to free brookes busses for students. Shopping is poor but I am aware this will be improved. Cost of living is very high and house prices for next year are very expensive. Restaurants and clubs are very good although I have experienced better.
In order to do the majority of the list above, you must take the bus into Oxford. And unfortunately it being Oxford the cost of living here is very expensive, which is why I prefer living in Halls, as it is all inclusive!
Oxford tube is very good, and free bus between campuses, halls and city centre helps. Although U5 is rather unreliable on the Cowley road - so I would recommend downloading the Oxford bus app. Shopping is rather limited - but Reading, London and Biceter Village are close.