Studying at St Anne's
Tips and Hints from Recent Visiting Students
- Photos by Francis Szele and Rob Judges.
What to Pack
- No need to bring those space consuming, heavy rain boots. It doesn’t really rain that hard, it’s just always damp. REMEMBER, however, AN UMBRELLA AT ALL TIMES, especially during winter and spring.
- Bring something nice to wear for formals and balls.
- Ladies, bring a gown. Lads, you'll need a tux.
- You'll buy your normal clothes in Oxford, so don't worry about that. If you have any really good costumes, pack those instead.
- You will want warm socks.
- For girls, don't bother with rain boots. Just bring a pair of cheap flats.
- Bring shower shoes.
- Bring a hiking backpack as you'll need it for travelling around Europe during the break.
- Bring lots of sweaters – both lightweight and heavyweight. Even in the summer sweaters are worn.
Travel during Vacations
- If you plan on traveling between terms (and you should), make at least A FEW PLANS. Like where you’re living. As fun as spontaneity is, there is nothing that ruins a break like being homeless in a country where you don’t speak the language.
- Travel through England! The country is great and has loads to see. Sometimes you forget that by living there you’re still visiting an unknown place.
- Get your railpasses/tickets early, at least a month before your trips (it’s way cheaper).
Food and Drink
- Digestives are delicious cookies.
- Bring peanut butter and Jelly if you can’t live without it. They have neither. (You can get both, but they’re not the same as back home.) That being said, try the local food, it’s actually pretty good!
- Truck food is awesome.
- Get food from a truck.
- Make sure to get a sandwich at The Alternative Tuck Shop (in Holywell Street).
- Make sure you try the pineapple upside down cake.
- The work is hard but it by no means requires that you spend your entire time indoors. I know people who did that and did not really have an experience any different than if they had stayed in the States indoors. Go out and meet the students in your college. Their friendships are the best souvenirs you can find. Even better than the college hoodies with your school crest.
- Also everyone has really cool accents.
- Get your books for the next essay from the library immediately following your tute.
- Ask your tutors lots of questions, even if they don't pertain directly to the topic.
- The best library is the Phil. Fac. (NB This was a Philosophy student – she may be biased!).
- Take full advantage of SOLO for articles (Search Oxford Libraries Online).
- Speak up. Be confident.
- You can buy towels from Marks and Spencer’s and Primark.
- Find Primark immediately, and buy necessary dorm stuff there.
- Also, the bigger Sainsbury’s is cheaper on a lot of items.
- Things close really early, especially on Sundays.
- Studentbeans.com and Orange have great dinner deals.
- Register on studentbeans.com for coupons/discounts (food and shopping).
What to See and Do when you’re here
- Remember to go to the Radcliffe Camera at least once because after you leave you won’t be allowed back in since it’s only for students. And it’s very pretty with lots of old books.
- Do not expect things to come to you, go out and find them. Fume in your room about having no fun and you will continue to be miserable, which there is no reason to be because you are at OX. FORD.
- If you’re a Harry Potter fan, and statistically speaking I’m sure you are, visit the colleges they filmed at. They’re pretty and as a student you have access to wander the grounds more freely than tourists.
- Embrace bops.
- Right from the get go, try not to always sit with other visiting students in the dining hall, this could be hard for some but switch things up!
- The computer lab for the JCR is open 24 hours in case you ever have those 3 am cravings to print out lyrics for the song stuck in your head.
- If you shower in the early afternoon when the scouts clean your room, bring your key or you might be locked-out (rigorous empirical research has shown that this will happen at least once).
- Get a bike right from the beginning. Why? Be less late to tutorials, easier to get involved with sports, running errands is much easier, easier to get books from different libraries, not that expensive if you check out bike stores near Cowley (it might seem far at first but get a British friend to take you).
- Oxford is a parallel universe. Nothing is the same as what you're used to, especially if it seems similar. But it's fun to figure out.
- Don't miss Summer Eights. Go for at least one day and make sure it's Saturday.
- When you go punting, do not feed the swans.
- Always say "yes" to co-ed rowing outings, but always wear flip-flops and clothes that can get wet.
- Never miss out an opportunity to have Pimm’s, go punting, go to at least one formal hall, and if possible a BALL.
- Participate in a sport. It's one of the best ways to meet people.
- Student plays are amazing. Enjoy them.
Money and Phones
- Skype is the best way to call home. Also Lyca mobile sim cards have the cheapest rate to call abroad if you want to use your phone instead.
- Definitely get Skype. And a British bank account. And a phone with good British rates (don't worry about international rates, just use Skype).
- If you decide not to open a bank account in the UK, Bank of America does not charge to use Barclays (UK bank) ATM machines, so if you want to avoid ATM charges look into opening an account in the US.
- As soon as you find your room, look for the heater. The knob is usually at the bottom. Adjust this straight away or you will regret it later.
- Make sure to open the windows and doors occasionally (as ventilation) – even when it's freezing.
- Your scout's schedule will change without notice. It's generally best to have your room clean enough to vacuum on any given morning.
- Label your food before putting it in the refrigerator.
- Get up early. You don't want to be the only one in your room writing a paper when everyone else is out.