Frequently Asked Questions
- Where is Oxford?
- What should I bring/leave behind?
- What do I need to know before I leave?
- How will I get around while in Oxford?
- How much spending money should I bring?
- Will my financial aid transfer?
- Does the Oxford semester cost the same as a semester on the main campus at APU?
- Will I have a meal plan while in Oxford?
- What is the housing like and who will I live with?
- What is an Oxford College? How is an Oxford College different from Oxford University?
- Will I be a member of the same college as other APU students?
- Do I have the same privileges as regular Oxford University undergraduates?
- Can I participate in extracurricular activities?
- What is a tutorial and how do I choose what tutorials to take?
- Are there any other required courses besides tutorials?
- How much time will I have to spend in class or doing homework?
- Can I get a job while in Oxford?
- Do I need a visa to study abroad in the UK?
- Will I have any opportunities to travel?
- Is there a chapel component to the Oxford semester program?
What should I bring/leave behind?
A detailed packing guide is provided as part of the acceptance paperwork new students receive when they are accepted to the program, but some essential items that you will definitely want to take with you include warm clothing (a rain jacket, scarves, gloves, etc.), boots or other durable walking shoes, an umbrella, a backpack for travel, a laptop, and any items from home that you think you might really miss (such as Oreos or your favorite DVDs).
Some items that you should seriously consider leaving at home include high heeled shoes, toiletries (these are available in the UK and add unnecessary weight to your luggage), heavy books and office supplies, etc. Oxford has grocery stores, pharmacies, bookstores, and office supply stores where you will be able to purchase these items. Generally speaking, try and pack as light as possible. Remember, whatever you pack, you will have to transport from the airport to your flat and back again.
What do I need to know before I leave?
You should be up to date with the current exchange rate of the British pound versus the dollar and you should notify your bank that you will be abroad well in advance. It is also a good idea to have a general knowledge of the subjects you will be studying so that you don’t feel completely overwhelmed in your first tutorials. You might want to also start thinking of some places you would like to travel to during travel break.
How will I get around while in Oxford?
The cheapest, most convenient way of getting around the city is to walk. Your living area will be within walking distance from your Oxford College and the city center. Many people in Oxford either walk or ride bicycles. The bus system is a great resource as well and goes everywhere in the city. Taxis can also be useful to you, especially if you are going somewhere late in the evening. They can sometimes be quite expensive, however, so if you are planning to travel by taxi it is a good idea to go in a group. Generally speaking, you will be walking a lot in Oxford, on average no less than three miles per day.
How much spending money should I bring?
The amount of money you bring really depends on you. If you eat out every night and spend a lot of money while traveling, you will need to bring a lot more money than if you plan to cook your meals in your flat and travel cheaply. As an average you should plan on having between $2,500 and $3,000 on hand to spend on food, travel, and other necessities throughout the semester. Remember to take into account the current exchange rate when planning financially for the Azusa Oxford Semester.
Will my financial aid transfer?
Yes! All of your student financial aid is transferable to the Oxford semester program - this includes federal and state aid (Cal grants, Pell grants, Stafford loans, parent plus loans, etc), and any institutional aid that you receive from APU (academic scholarships, sibling discount, etc.). The only types of aid that may not be transferable include scholarships that you get from a specific department on campus, or scholarships that require on-campus participation. You must speak with your department about whether or not you may transfer such scholarships to a semester in Oxford.
Does a semester in Oxford cost the same as a semester on the main
Tuition fees for the Azusa Oxford Semester are the same as a semester on the main campus, and housing charges are comparable as well. However, students must pay for their own airfare to and from the United Kingdom. In addition, there is no meal plan available in Oxford, so students must have enough funds available to purchase food throughout the semester. Students must also have money available to travel during the travel breaks should they desire to do so. In addition, all students who study abroad through Azusa Pacific University must purchase the required international medical insurance. For more information on fees and costs for the Azusa Oxford Semester, please visit http://www.apu.edu/oxford/tuition/.
Will I have a meal plan while in Oxford?
There is no standard meal plan available through the Azusa Oxford Semester. However, meals in the college dining halls are very affordable. Some Oxford University Colleges offer block meal plans, some allow you to put meals on a tab to be paid at the end of the semester - whatever the method, eating “in hall” is a great experience and a wonderful way to connect to other students as well as eat a balanced meal. In addition, all of the student flats are equipped with full kitchens, so you may prepare your own meals.
What is the housing like and who will I live with?
Housing in Oxford is very different than it is at APU. Students will be living in flats (tall, skinny houses with floors stacked on top of each other) with students from APU and from other colleges in the United States. Each student has his/her own bedroom, and common areas like the kitchen and bathrooms are shared. The different housing assignments are located in areas all throughout Oxford. For a fee, students may choose to live in “upgraded housing” which contains additional accommodations or is in a better location then non-upgraded housing. All housing contains a fully functioning kitchen, at least one bathroom with a shower, and a communal living area. It is important to remember that all of the buildings in Oxford are older than is common here - part of the experience is living in a place slightly different than what you are used to. All housing will be located within walking distance of your Oxford College and the city center.
What is an Oxford College? How is an Oxford College different from
Just as the USA is made up of 50 separate states, so Oxford University is comprised of 38 different colleges. Each of the Oxford Colleges has its own dining hall, library, chapel, and JCR (Junior Common Room - think student life), and each has its own history and quirks as well. However, they all operate as parts of Oxford University, with the same standards for academic excellence and the same rules and regulations. Students will be placed (according to space availability and subject areas) at one Oxford College as a visiting student. This will allow them to participate in extracurricular activities, as well as to use the college library and dining facilities. All students will also be inducted into Oxford University’s main library, the Bodleian.
Will I be a member of the same college as other APU students?
The college you are assigned to is dependant on the particular subjects you are studying as well as available space. In the past, students have been placed at one of the following: Hertford College, New College, Christ Church College, or St. Catherine’s. It is fairly common for multiple APU students to be members of the same college. Information regarding your college placement will not be available until you arrive in Oxford at the start of the program.
Do I have the same privileges as regular Oxford University undergraduates?
Because you will be a visiting student, you will not have all of the same privileges as regular Oxford University undergrads. However, it won’t affect you too much. The most common limitation is that although you are able to check out books from your college library, you will not be permitted to check out books from certain faculty libraries. Other than that, you can participate in almost all other activities and privileges available to non-visiting Oxford students.
Can I participate in extracurricular activities while in Oxford?
Yes! Fall students have a slight advantage when it comes to signing up for sports teams, clubs, and organizations because activities start up again for all of these groups during the fall. However, there are multiple opportunities to get involved during both semesters. The best way to do so would be to talk to other students with interests similar to yours, hang out in your college JCR, look for flyers posted about upcoming events and activities, talk to the JCR president, and get involved in a local church. In the past, students have participated in many different kinds of activities, including drama, fencing, rugby, rowing (crew), salsa dancing, soccer, and many more!
What is a tutorial and how do I choose what tutorials to take?
The bulk of your academic units in Oxford will be from tutorials - One primary tutorial (worth 6 units) and one secondary tutorial (worth 3 units). A tutorial is a weekly, one-on-one class session between you and your professor (tutor). Each tutorial session is about an hour long, and you will need to prepare a lengthy research essay in advance. During the tutorial, you will discuss your essay at length with your tutor, defending what you’ve written and elaborating on any points your tutor may bring up for analysis. The great thing about tutorials is that you don’t have to stick to any pre-set list of available topics. Rather, you have the freedom to create tutorials that correspond to your interests and degree requirements. You can even pick topics that are not regularly offered as courses on the main campus at APU. For advice on subject areas to choose from or to find out what topics may or may not work for a tutorial, please speak with a study abroad advisor in the Center for Global Learning and Engagement. In addition, the following is a link to a list of tutorials that have been done in the past: http://www.oxfordprogram.com/Program/listings.html.
Are there any other required courses besides tutorials?
Yes. All participants in the Oxford semester must enroll in a course entitled British History, Culture, and Society (HIST 335). This 3-unit course will not count as your heritage and institutions core requirement for general studies, but it does count as an upper division general studies elective (of which 6 units are needed to graduate). In addition, there will be at least one optional seminar offered every semester that corresponds to the area of expertise of APU’s resident director in Oxford. Students can earn between 12-15 units of academic credit by participating in the Azusa Oxford Semester.
How much time will I have to spend in class or doing homework?
You won’t spend any more than approximately five hours per week attending classes. However, the nature of the tutorial system requires you to complete extensive research and writing. You will most likely spend a minimum of 30 hours per week completing work for your tutorials. However, the fact that you won’t be spending very much time in class (along with the fact that you cannot work while in Oxford) means that you will be able to do all of your schoolwork and participate in extracurricular activities should you so desire. Your schedule in Oxford is yours to arrange according to your personal study habits and preferences. If you work better in the early afternoon and evening, it is feasible to arrange your schedule so that you are able to sleep in almost every day. Your responsibilities will be of a different nature in Oxford, and you may very well find that you have more time than you expect.
Can I get a job while at Oxford?
No. As a student visitor, it would violate the immigration laws of the United Kingdom for you to seek employment during your semester abroad. Under no circumstances will you be able to legally work in the UK during your visit as a participant in the Azusa Oxford Semester.
Do I need a visa to study abroad in the United Kingdom?
As long as you are enrolled in a study program that is part of your degree program here at APU, staying in the UK for less than six months, and not seeking employment of any kind, you do not need a visa to participate in the Azusa Oxford Semester. You will be staying in the country as a “student visitor”. If accepted to the program, the Center for Global Learning and Engagement will provide you with paperwork to assist you in getting through customs. A visa is not required unless you are planning to stay in Oxford for more than six months. For more information about visa requirements, please visit http://www.apu.edu/oxford/resources/visa/.
Will I have any opportunities to travel?
Yes! Each semester, students have about a week that is officially set aside for travel. During the travel breaks, program participants have time off from classes to go wherever they want. In the past, students have used the travel break to visit countries such as Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Austria, Ireland, and Scotland, among others. In addition, students make their own flight arrangements to and from the United Kingdom. It is common for students to arrive in Oxford before the program begins or stay for a few weeks after the program ends to allow for additional travel around the European continent.
Is there a chapel component to the Azusa Oxford Semester?
Yes! Each student enrolled is required to attend the Faith and Learning Colloquium which is led by the APU faculty director in residence in Oxford. The colloquium is an hour and a half long each week, and changes a bit from semester to semester depending on the needs and desires of the students who are participating in the Oxford program. Generally speaking, it is a laid back environment where students are guided in discussion about how faith relates to life and learning in another culture. In addition to the faith and learning colloquium, students can join one of the many churches in Oxford. Two student favorites in the past have been St. Aldate’s and St. Ebb’s, both of which are within walking distance of the city center and student housing. Many students have also participated in the Oxford Christian Union, which hosts debates and other weekly activities.