Your First Few Weeks at Oxford

Welcome to the time of your life! These tips are set up to help you settle into your new life so that you are free to soak in the wonder of our phenomenal university and City of Dreaming Spires.

You’re never going to have as much time as you will have in your first few weeks (and first Michaelmas for that matter), so take the time to settle in and organise everything you need for a slightly less stressful time in Oxford.

I’m landing at Heathrow or Gatwick, or travelling via London. How should I get to Oxford?

The cheapest and easiest option is the Airline bus, which is a part of the Oxford Bus Company. The Oxford Bus Company also has a few options on offer, including the Oxford Tube which travels between London Victoria Coach Station and Gloucester Green (and vice versa). These buses travel 24/7, with the exception of certain bank holidays.

Open a bank account (physical or virtual) and sign up for PayPal

There might be a bit of a rush at the beginning of the year, but access to a local bank account is going to make life a lot easier down the line. You will find plenty of physical banks in the city centre, near the corner of Cornmarket and Queen’s Street. PayPal can be used to quickly and easily pay for your formal tickets as well.

Alternatively, Monzo is a great and really easy bank account to use if you have the right to reside in the UK. It is an easy way to transfer money to friends and if you have pounds in your account, you can spend them in any other country and avoid all exchange fees. There is an app for Monzo
and it makes everything easier to have it on your phone. Wise (formerly Transferwise) is another app which you can get on your phone and it is an easy way to transfer money in other currencies to pounds or the other way around. It has low exchange fees and the money gets sent right away.

Phone plans

There is WiFi pretty much everywhere, but a phone plan will help you on your way when you leave Oxford (and also help when you live in Dickson Poon for those moments when the internet dips).

The easiest phone plan to get is GiffGaff. It is very cheap, and they send you free sim cards (which
is very handy when you lose your sim card… especially if you have a sim card from your home
country and a UK one). A sim card will make your life easier when phoning the GP, but there is now a workaround to have them call you online. GiffGaff has a lot of different ‘goodybags’ that you pay for each month. There is also no contract and you can stop your monthly goodybag whenever you want with no extra fees, so if you go home for the summer you won’t have to continue paying for your phone plan in the UK. A popular plan is 10 pounds a month for unlimited calls/texts and 15GB of data. GiffGaff also works in EU countries, but there is a limit (this information can be found on their website).

Save the Student is a helpful website that also has other student sim card deals.

Register with the GP

The College has close ties with the Summertown Health Centre and you are advised to sign up with them. You can register online:

Register your bicycle at the porter’s lodge

This registration doesn’t include insurance, but it means your bike can be traced back to College if it goes missing.

Sign up for Trainline and consider paying for a railcard

TrainPal is the best app to use for train tickets. You can then just scan your phone at the barriers instead of printing out tickets. You are also able to download your railcard onto the
app so it is easy to access if the train manager decides to check.

Make sure you get a railcard (you can buy it through the Trainline app as a digital railcard). You will make your money back if you go to London more than once. You can apply for a 16-25 railcard if you are a full-time student, regardless of age https://www.16-
. There are also railcards for other age groups, previous military service, etc.

Sign up for all the different discounts available to you

  • Sign up for UniDays: a central place for different student discounts (everything from clothes to toiletries to electronics!)
  • Open a Tesco account online (your ticket to the very popular £3 meal deal)
  • Six months free Amazon Prime (after which it is £4.49)
  • Take note of the following places in the Westgate Shopping Centre that offer student discounts:
    • Superdry, Dr Martens, New Look, & Other Stories, Superdrug, Calvin Klein, Accessorize, Moss Bros, JD Sports, Trespass, Office, Oliver Bonas, Urban Outfitters, Vans, MAC Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown