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.

Yesterday saw the congregation of 26 UK university exchange students for their country specific pre-departure session. It was really just a way for all of us to check that we were on track with our travel visa, passport and course requirements. Most people who would be going for more than 6 months require a tier 4 visa but having an EU passport means that I won't have to apply for one. As long as I enter on my Swedish passport, I won't have a problem entering and staying for the year. At the session, I met 3 others who will be going to UCL as part of their exchange and one other who will probably be attending the fresher/orientation event the week prior to the commencement of term. Apparently that week, UCL puts on quite a show for the Freshers Fayre (like O-day here) and hosts a number of renowned parties (apparently they book out the Ministry of Sound, woo! stuff of legends). There were two girls at the session who were from another UK uni on exchange here. They had some useful points regarding travel (get an Oyster card for the bus and tube), initial shopping (Primark has everything for nothing apparently) and cheap flights, mostly for 2 weeks in advance (EasyJet.com and RyanAir.com). After exchanging some contact details and experiences of the recent accommodation application (I got an email just today, confirming that I had applied before the deadline), we all split up and went home. I wonder whether I'll see them again around the UCL campus...

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