June 5, 2010

Cards, Accounts and Accommodation

One of the points brought up in the pre-departure briefing the other day was how to deal with accounts while away. As we may already know, Australian banks do like fees, an issue that shows itself quite obviously when asking about transfers in currency and overseas usage of a card. With a 3% conversion fee and a withdrawal fee of $5 when using any overseas ATM, regularly using a bank card from Australia does not seem like the clever choice for a year long stay. As one of the Study Abroad Office staff said, it is quite common for exchange students to open a local bank account while away.

June 2, 2010

Oxford Accommodation and Final Pre-Departure Session

Another day and seemingly another couple of days have passed where a number of exchange matters have been addressed. Having known of the arrival time in London and the choral course date for some weeks now, I decided it was about time to finalize accommodation in Oxford the night prior to the course's commencement. Its amazing what fantastic resources there are available for this task. Within minutes, a quick Google of 'Oxford Accommodation' gave me a couple of useful search engines for local lodging. I used laterooms.com primarily since it gave good a good map overlay for finding proximity to my Oxford arrival point (the rail and bus stations to the west of the town center) and my first port of call being Merton College on the following day. With a bit of cross-referencing on the good old faithful Google Maps, I settled on the Oxford University Club which offered just what I needed for the night with the only vacancy being for the 10th of August. Perfect! I can already imagine myself walking the old town lanes with the noisy wheeled suitcase in tow and the smell of burning brains wafting over from the colleges scattered over the town.