Pre-Arrival Information for New Students
We know how important it is to settle into a new life quickly, both socially and academically, and we are confident that we can provide an environment that allows new students to make a smooth transition. From the first day of your arrival in the UK, staff will be available to guide and support you. The Principal and her team will keep an eye on your progress throughout your course and our full-time Student Services Manager provides a comprehensive and friendly welfare service. During the first week of term, students attend an induction programme to complete their enrolment and help them settle into their new home. Below you will find information on immigration, living in the UK, public transport, and anything from registering at the local health centre to opening a bank account.
Upon arrival in Oxford, the Student Services Manager will assist students in registering at the local medical centre which is located a short distance from the College. Please complete the College's medical consent form and health questionnaire prior to arrival.
Student Bank Accounts
Students will be assisted in opening a UK bank account at any of the major banks, all of which have branches in Oxford. We are also able to hold pocket money in the Bursary if parents wish. When planning a personal budget, any extras that may arise should be taken into account, such as any sporting equipment and social activities.
Students under 18 must have a guardian. Upon request, the College will recommend a guardianship company. Parents may also choose to appoint their own external guardian. Please complete the appropriate guardianship service form to inform us of your choice.
Students are expected to dress in smart casual attire. Boys are expected to wear a collar and sleeves. Trousers may be formal, chinos or jeans. Jeans with fashion rips are not acceptable. For girls, clothing should not be too short and jeans with fashion rips are not acceptable.
Airport Pick-up and Transfer
A free transfer from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Oxford is available on certain days. Please refer to the airport transfer booking form for details of dates, times and the meeting point at London Heathrow Airport. If you arrive outside of these dates and times you will be expected to meet the cost of your transport to Oxford.
The student services team will send out all the relevant information and forms to new students and their parents as part of the admissions process. The following must be emailed back to the Student Services Manager prior to arrival:
- Airport Transfer Booking Form (one of two)
- Medical Consent Form
- Health Centre Patient Questionnaire
- Guardianship Services Form (one of two)
- Internet Safety Form
- Permission to Stay Off-Site Form
- Parent Portal Registration Form
- Work Experience Form
- Photography and Social Media Form
- Permission to Travel Form
On the first day at College, students must bring:
- 4 passport sized photos of student
- Entry visa (if required)
- Original visa or Biometric Identification Document / Residence Permit with approval letter
- Documents as stated in their offer letter
- Home Office decision letter
- Printed copy of their CAS document
- If under 18 years old, a copy of the guardianship services form or the contact details of your UK appointed guardian
Biometric Residence Permit
Visa students are issued an initial 30-day entry permit in their passport which will enable them to enter the UK. The actual visa, in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), will need to be collected on arrival in the UK within 10 days of arrival to avoid a UKVI penalty. The BRP is a plastic card with a microchip that gives permission for students to remain in the UK for the rest of their course and is needed for accessing the National Health Service or to register with the police if required.
Collecting the Biometric Residence Permit
We highly recommend that you use the College's unique ACL code on your Tier 4 application form so that your BRP card will be sent directly to the College for you to collect. The code will be given to you as part of the pre-arrival guide package or by contacting our Student Services Manager. In the section 'Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Collection enter the ACL code in the 'Alternative Location' field. Your card will be delivered to Oxford International College, 1-5 London Place, Oxford 0X4 1BD. If you do not use this code and instead enter a residential or sponsor postcode, you will be instructed to collect your BRP from a designated Post Office. However, we advise you to use the College as the collection point unless you plan to enter the UK more than 10 days prior to the start of your course in which case collection from the Post Office may be preferable. The Post Office address to enter for this is: St Aldates Post Office, Oxford OX1 1ZZ. Strict rules apply as to the documentation that must be shown on collection and depending on the student's age, they must be accompanied by a registered responsible adult.
Living in the UK
Moving to a new country or even relocating within the UK is daunting at any age. You are never quite sure what to expect and for students coming from overseas, some aspects of living in the UK may seem very different at first. Oxford is a small, compact city with a population of approximately 150,000. Many of the shops, restaurants and cafés are located around Carfax Tower, at the intersection of Cornmarket Street and the High Street. Many of the colleges of the University of Oxford, as well as the Bodleian Library, Sheldonian Theatre and Radcliffe Camera are also located in the city centre. The Mathematical Institute and many of the science buildings can be found to the north of the city centre, in and around St. Giles'.
Oxford is centrally placed in Southern England, approximately one hour by train to both London and Birmingham. The international airports that are closest to Oxford are London Heathrow (LHR) and London Luton (LTN). All international embassies in the UK are located in London. The Oxford bus station is located at Gloucester Green and the train station is located just off the Botley Road, to the west of the city centre. It takes less than 30 minutes to walk from either station to the College. Cities, towns and villages are linked by either coach services or by trains. Journeys by coach are less expensive than the train, but tend to take more time. The Oxford Bus Company operates a route called the Oxford Tube, with buses to and from London Victoria Coach Station up to every 10 to 20 minutes, 24 hours a day. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes. Fast trains operate between Oxford and London Paddington station regularly and the journey takes about 50 minutes. Oxford's new train station, Oxford Parkway, runs services to London and Marylebone.
The pound sterling, commonly known as the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom. The pound (f) is subdivided into 100 pence (singular: penny). Larger denominations of money are in the form of paper notes: £5, £10, £20 and £50. Smaller amounts of money are in the form of coins: £2, £1, 5Op, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, and 1p.
The weather in the UK can vary from one day to the next. The winter months from November to February are cold with frequent frost and occasional snow. Winter is also when we receive the most rainfall. Students are advised to pack plenty of cold and wet-weather smart-casual clothing including waterproof shoes. The summer months of June through August are pleasantly warm and a daytime temperature of 23°C is considered hot in the UK.
Being Safe and Legal in the UK
UK laws may vary greatly from those of your own country, and it's important to be aware of what is, and what is not, allowed:
- It is illegal to buy alcohol if you are under the age of 18 and you would be breaking the law even by attempting to buy it. It is also illegal to provide alcohol to minors.
- Drugs (including cannabis) are illegal in the UK. The police have the right to stop and search you if they have any reason to suspect you are carrying illegal drugs.
- Dropping rubbish in the street is illegal and you can be cautioned and/or charged.
For your general safety and to be polite, it is worth noting the following:
- Traffic travels on the left-hand side in Britain.
- If you are going out, outside of College hours, always tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back.
- Do not carry important documents or too much money with you. The streets of Oxford are generally safe, but you need to use common sense and stay safe.
- Be considerate to others by not making too much noise (for example at the Hall of Residence).
- Expect to spend time queuing while you wait to be served. It is customary to queue in shops and for buses and taxis.
- Be polite when dealing with other people. Rudeness is considered very poor behaviour.