Oxford University - Exeter College. Image courtesy of Billy Wilson.

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What is it Like to Study at Oxford University (and Live in Oxford)?

Oxford University - Exeter College. Image courtesy of Billy Wilson.

Living and studying in Oxford is quite the experience. The city has a vibrant social life, endless activities and things to explore, and some of the most beautiful architecture in England. Plus, a few ancient and sometimes quirky traditions! Whether you’re getting ready to go to College or are visiting Oxford, this is what you can expect in the city.

Can Anyone Move to Oxford?

Anyone can move to and live in Oxford. Although most Oxford University students live in colleges, Oxford is a vibrant city with plenty of jobs and opportunities. A lot of them are linked to the university, so there’s plenty of temp agencies and flexible options. But there are also several large companies hiring experts.

One of the best things about living in Oxford is the access to events, conferences, workshops, concerts, and shows. Every single day of the week, you will find several things to do and try, which makes Oxford a great place to live in.

What is it Like to Live in an Oxford College?

Colleges are the centre of Oxford University life, though. That’s where students eat, socialize, and do their washing. Colleges have entrance lodges staffed 24/7 and tutors that teach and support students’ learning. There are also several university-wide events, so people frequently visit other colleges and have friends over. 

All Oxford students are given a college room for their first year. The college arranges this, so new students don’t need to sort it out themselves. Students living in a college can use all facilities, but those who choose to live independently do too. Although each Oxford college has its own character, life in them has similarities. The degrees, for example, are taught in the same way – regardless so the college is old or new. 

What are Oxford University Rooms Like?

If you’re an Oxford University student, you might live in a room in the main college building or somewhere nearby. Rooms vary in size. Some are large, furnished, and have their own shower or bathroom. Others share facilities. New students are normally given rooms close to each other, so can socialize and share their experiences. All students can eat subsidised hot meals in their college dining halls. They also usually have access to kitchen facilities if they want to cook their own food. 

Why is it so Great to Live in Oxford?

Oxford creates an environment that facilitates personal development – for all. The research going on here is amongst the best in the world, and there’s plenty of interesting people to meet and connect to. Communities tend to be interdisciplinary and have people from all over the world. The different events allow you to meet others studying, researching, or working at Oxford. Walking around the city is just a transcendental experience. Oxford is small enough that you can walk it side to side in about 40 minutes. Yet, it is a history-dense location, with medieval buildings, Victorian neighbourhoods, and modern marvels of architecture.

The university also attracts some of the best speakers in the world. The libraries are almost unrivalled in the United Kingdom, and there’s always an opportunity to mix with leading scientists. For academics, though, all this access to culture and people come at the price of… well, academic pressure. Excellence is expected, and so are long working hours. This can result in people getting severely stressed and sometimes isolated. 

Should You Move to Oxford?

If you’re looking to surround yourself with incredibly driven, insightful, determined, creative people, Oxford is a great place to live. If you love history, museums, concerts — there’s little competition. However, as we have mentioned, living in Oxford can be expensive. Most people who are not part of the University live in the surrounding areas – which are easily commutable! To be admitted to Oxford University you need to be an outstanding top-level student. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have access to this world. The colleges and institutions frequently held events that are open to everyone, as well as short courses and workshops

Explore the university traditions, learn more about the different academic terms, the halls, common rooms, and beautiful medieval quadrangles. Browse All >

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