Hopefully you and your guardians received an email from our Director, John Pendergast, detailing some important emails, phone numbers, and office hours in regards to the programme. Please check your inboxes! If you did not receive one, it may be that we do not have the correct address for you in our records. Please feel free to check by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For tonight’s edition of the program blog we shall be imparting some information regarding arrivals day and a few “FAQ’s”
Arrivals Day – July 2!
Plane arrivals to Heathrow and Gatwick
During your flight, you will most likely be given a “landing card” which you will need to fill out with information like your name, citizenship, and where you are staying while in the UK and for how long. When you touch down in London at your airport, follow the signs to customs and baggage claims (in Heathrow they are yellow). If you are concerned, ask a member of the airport staff (who wear purple in Heathrow) or one of the airline representatives, to help point you in the right direction.
Customs may be quite busy, depending on what time of day it is, you could be waiting 45 minutes to even 90 minutes. Make sure you have your correct paper work (passport and customs control letter saying where you are headed) when you meet the customs agent. Once you have gone through customs, you will head to baggage claim. There can be several different baggage carousels, so you will need to consult the T.V. screen and look for your flight to see which carousel will have your luggage. Head to the carousel and double check to make sure you remove your bag from the carousel.
In the rare case that your luggage does not arrive (might occur if you had a really close connection between flights), head to the corresponding airline baggage claim booth and they will help get you sorted about your luggage being delivered to the OxPrep Program at Oriel College, Oxford, OX1 4EW.
Once you have your luggage, head out the “nothing to declare exit” into the terminal. Keep your eyes up looking for our staff members who will be waiting for you in purple tee-shirts that reads “Oxbridge Academic Programs”. They will also be holding a big card that reads “The Ox Prep Experience”. When you see the Ox Prep staff member, go over to them and introduce yourself to them. You then will hang out with our staff member and other students who have recently arrived until the students who are on your bus group are all through security. You will then head with your staff member to join students from the other terminals on our private coach and head off to Oxford and Oriel College.
If you have arranged to meet staff at Heathrow and travel back to Oxford with the staff and students, please be at the “meeting point” at 11:00 am in Terminal Three “arrivals”.
When arriving at Gatwick, all the same steps apply regarding getting through customs, picking up your bags, and meeting your staff member after the exit from the baggage area. The only difference, is you will be heading with your staff member back by public transit to Oxford.
If you are travelling with your guardians to college, please arrive at Oriel between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Should you be driving your own car to Oriel, please note that many streets in Oxford are one-way streets, some are closed to private cars during certain hours of the day, and some are pedestrian only!
When arriving by train at Oxford station, it best to take a taxi from the taxi stand outside the station to the college, as it is a bit of a walk.
If arriving by public bus or public coach, you will want to get off at the High Street stop, walk up to Oriel Street and head down towards Oriel College. If you happen to miss the High Street stop, not a worry, you should get off at Gloucester Green Coach Station (end of the line) and hop a taxi back to college; otherwise the walk is a little bit of a distance.
Feel free to open the following Google Map which generally gives some directions towards Oriel and highlights the pedestrian and public-transport-only sections. (Oxford Map) But, please, double check what works best for you.
When you arrive at college (either with the airport-group bus or with your guardians), you will be greeted by our friendly Deans who will give you the keys to your room and collect any valuables you wish to store in our office under lock and key. (We keep your passports and any extra money you wish to withdraw a little at a time. At the end of programme we give you back your passport and remaining money in exchange for you returning your room keys and building swipe card).
Once you have your room key, you will be guided to your staircase building and shown to your room. Then you can unpack and meet your other staircase mates as they arrive. We encourage you to come down to the Third quad where groups will be heading out for tours of the college and neighbourhood. Your will have time to go into town with guardians or classmates (always in at least a pair) to grab a bite to eat or pick up any supplies you might need (example: shampoo at “Boots”).
Once the majority of the students have arrived on campus, there will be ice breaker games and activities in the Third Quad around 3:30, before our first assembly and dinner. After dinner, you will be having a quick meeting with the Deans before heading off to your staircases and then to bed as it will be important to rest up before Sunday which is full of introductory activities and your first chance to meet your teacher and classmates!
That is quite a bit of information and it is reiterated within the packages mailed out earlier by the New York Office.
Q: My student is travelling as an unaccompanied minor, what do I tell the airline about who is picking them up?
A: Please use John Pendergast and the OxPrep office at Oriel College in Oxford for contact information to complete UM forms.
Q: Are students allowed to go into town on their own?
A: No, they must have at least one other OxPrepper with them at all times outside of College. Should a student struggle to find someone to head out with, they should ask a Dean or PA to help them connect with some students to join up with.
Q: Are students expected to do their own laundry?
A: Yes, students will have the ability to do their own laundry in college. There are washing and drying machines that are operated by pre-paid cards. When students are ready to do laundry, they should seek out the PA to help them acquire a card and purchase laundry soap from the office.
Q: How often are students required to check-in?
A: Students’ check-in four times throughout the day: Attendance is taken in major class (as well as minor when it is a day with minor classes), at dinner time (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm), evening check-in (9:00 -10:00 pm), and then a visual check that students are in their rooms at 10:30 pm for lights out at 11:00 pm.
Q: What does a typical day look like?
A: Breakfast is served at 8:00 am – 8:45 am, Major class is from 9:00 am-12:00 pm, students then can head in pairs or groups to lunch in town. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays the students have minor class from 1:30-3:30 to attend.
When classes are finished for the day, there will be two to three activities run by the activities directors, some require signing up, others are for all to attend should they desire. There will also be several guest speakers through the week for students to listen to and enjoy.
Dinner and check-in are in the hall, they begin at 6:00 pm and last until 7:00 pm. After this time there may be other activities prepared for the students, or they have time to socialize or complete any reading they need to complete for major class. At
9:00 pm students come to the Third Quad to complete evening check in and sign up for future activities. They are then allowed to quietly socialize with their friends in college until 10:00 pm when they must head to their staircases. 10:00 pm until 10:30 pm they are allowed to visit with friends in their staircase. At 10:30 pm the residential staff will begin checking to see that students are in their rooms. We make visual contact with all students to ensure that they are in their rooms. 11:00 is lights out.
Should you have other questions that arise, please consult the information packet that was sent out from the New York Office and should you not be able to find the answer, please email or call the office between 8am and 5pm GST until July 1st, after which the office will be open 8am to 12am GST.
We look forward to seeing you very soon!