Before you Travel
Identification – You will need a valid Passport to enter the United Kingdom and re-enter the United States or your country of residence. If you are a USA resident and do not yet have a passport, you may make application at most United States Post Offices. Allow at least six weeks to apply and secure a passport if you are a USA citizen, or you may obtain a passport more quickly (typically within two weeks) by paying an expedited application fee.
International Participants who are not USA Citizens – If you are a citizen or subject of a country other than the USA, you should contact the British Consulate in your home country regarding visa requirements and qualifications for entry into the United Kingdom. As requested, the Oxford Institute will provide you with a “letter of invitation” to assist with the travel visa application process.
COVID-19 Considerations – The Oxford Institute will continue to closely monitor the course of the pandemic and appropriate safety measures will be in effect at St. Hilda’s College. In the event of a pandemic resurgence and a CDC travel restriction advisory, registrations will be afforded an opportunity to cancel their registration and receive a full registration refund. Vaccination against the COVID-19 virus is strongly recommended. At present, we do not know if “proof of vaccination” will be required to enter the UK in July 2022. We will monitor and keep applicants updated on developments.
General Medical – Let your physician know that you will be visiting the UK. Minor medical issues may typically be paid “out-of-pocket” in the UK at NHS clinics at little or no charge – but there is no guarantee of this. Please check with your health insurance company to ascertain the extent of your policy coverage in the United Kingdom to ensure that you have adequate medical insurance coverage in the event of illness or accident. Bring documentation for any prescription medicines that you will be bringing with you, as well as any relevant health information (such as blood type, diabetes, special needs, etc.).
All Institute participants must maintain personal health insurance coverage while in the UK in case of a medical emergency. Each participant is solely responsible for the cost of necessary medical treatment or medical evacuation home in the event of accident or illness. Please note: Major airlines typically offer an “insurance option” purchase at a modest cost as part of the airline ticket purchase – this is one of the most economical ways to secure short-term medical coverage for your stay in the UK.
Travel to the United Kingdom – London Heathrow Airport is the recommended arrival airport into the UK for Oxford.
Travel to Oxford from London Heathrow Airport – London Heathrow (LHR) offers easy access to Oxford via motor coach. There is a bus station at London Heathrow airport that provides direct coach (bus) service to the Oxford central coach station throughout the day on a more or less hourly basis. The cost is approximately 20-25 pounds (one-way) with discounts for seniors over age 60, students, and children. This is the quickest and most economical way to travel from Heathrow Airport to Oxford.
Travel to Oxford from central London. Trains from London British Rail Paddington Station to Oxford throughout the day. Paddington Station is accessible via the “Tube” from any point in London.
Packing for the Trip. PACK LIGHT – you should limit yourself to one rolling suitcase and a personal bag (such as a “back pack,” computer bag, etc.) If you cannot personally carry everything with relative ease, you have packed too much! There may be times when you will be required to carry your belongings, unassisted, up a flight of stairs, and perhaps several blocks between taxi cabs, airport check in, train platforms, bus stations, etc.
Travel Safety – Despite the periodic news reports, travel and study in the United Kingdom in general (and Oxford in particular) remains statistically a safe activity with minimal risk. However, it is always a good idea to have a companion when going out, particularly in the evening. Stay in familiar areas and use good judgment when venturing out. Always keep your purse or backpack closed and valuables secure when out and about. The only “crime” we have experienced over the past twenty years in our visits to the UK have been a couple of “pick pocket” attempts in the crowded tourist areas in central London (a stolen camera and a stolen passport.) Using reasonable precaution and common sense, a person is at no greater safety risk in the United Kingdom than in any major city in the USA. Additional information about international travel safety may be found at the US Department of State website https://travel.state.gov.content/travel/en/traveladvisories
Personal Safety – It is advised that when venturing away from group activities and exploring on you own, particularly in the evening, that you travel in groups of two or more in case an unforeseen emergency arises (i.e. illness, injury, etc.) Carry extra cash or credit cards with you for unforeseen expenses. If you get “lost” in your explorations, you can always hail a taxi for return to St. Hilda’s College (Oxford).
Dress – Attire for all institute events is “business casual”. In the month of July, England usually has a mild warm climate. However, it can get cool in the evening requiring a jacket or wrap. In some past years, the group has experienced “freak” hot spells in lower England with very warm temperatures (or it can also get chilly.) England is also known for daily “light” rain showers in the summer months. Comfortable walking shoes are essential. Clothing stores in all price ranges abound in Oxford, so you can buy what you need, should you find yourself wanting.
Internet access – All Institute registrants who stay in campus housing will be provided with a personal internet “WiFi” access code for use on the St. Hilda’s College campus.
Laundry facilities – Washing machines and dryers are available to on-campus registrants at St. Hilda’s College for a modest fee, using a smart phone app. You will need a device such as a cell phone or tablet with Wifi capability in order to operate the machines.
Airline Luggage Fees – Most international flights allow one checked bag at no cost. However, some airlines impose a fee for checked bags. Please consult with your airline regarding their policy. Since porters won’t be available in some places, don’t bring what you can’t carry yourself.
Money – ATM (Automated Teller Machine) cards work everywhere and provide direct access to your bank for cash withdrawals in British Pound Sterling at the most favorable exchange rate. However, you will need to have a four-digit code, since the European ATMs (called “Cash Points” in the UK) won’t accept longer codes. Also, if you lose your ATM card, you may be “out of luck” – though your bank may have a partner bank in the UK. As such, we recommend bringing a spare ATM card, or some back up traveler’s checks. Major credit cards are widely accepted. Dollars (cash) or traveler’s checks can be readily exchanged into British Pound Sterling for a modest conversion fee. American Express offices do not charge a commission fee on American Express Traveler’s checks (but they have a somewhat less favorable exchange rate compared to ATM cash machines and credit cards. Minimum allocation for food should be $30 per day (a bit more than the cost of fast food in the USA), plus any spending money. Add to this the cost of incidental purchases. Again, credit and debit cards are widely accepted.
Incidental Expenses – Expenses not expressly covered by the Institute are the responsibility of the participant (i.e. – meals other than breakfast, incidental expenses, bus fare, taxi fare, personal items, cost of medical treatment, travel for non-sponsored side trips, etc.)
Food – Daily Breakfast is included in the Institute housing fee. Lunch and dinner may be purchased at a multitude of eating establishments throughout Oxford and within a short walking distance from St. Hilda’s College. Although we often eat in groups, the cost of meals is “on your own”. Both London and Oxford offer great diversity regarding meal options, with prices starting at about $10 USD for a “fast food” meal (McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut.) If your palate seeks more authentic fare, many pubs serve meals that are tasty and relatively inexpensive (Pot pie, “bangers and mash”, curry, etc.). The cost of food per day will vary from person to person based on individual preferences. You should plan on bringing money equivalent to what they would spend eating out at home. Among the best ethnic food in the UK is Indian food (India having once been the “jewel of the British Empire” – there is a very large “Indian-British” community in the UK.) A multitude and vast variety of fast food and sit-down restaurants may be found in Oxford and London.
Independent Side Trips – A number of participants elect to engage in independent travel before and/or after the Institute dates, either alone or with other institute participants who share similar interests. The Institute organizers have traveled extensively throughout the United Kingdom and Europe and will be glad to offer suggestions. Outside of scheduled presentations and program sponsored field trips, all “extra-curricular” activities and travel are entirely optional and “on your own.” Each participant is encouraged to pursue their own interest and set their own pace concerning such activities.
HOUSING – Early Arrival and/or Extended Stay Housing is NOT available at St. Hilda’s College. The housing check-in date for the Oxford Institute is Tuesday 13 July 2022. The “official” check-in time is 3:00 pm. However, rooms may be available earlier as prepared by the house keeping staff. We are unable to guarantee an early housing check in time. If you plan to arrive before 13 July or extend your stay after 19 July, there are numerous hotel and bed & breakfast options in Oxford.
Refund policy on unused lodging – Due to the Institute contract obligations to St. Hilda’s College, Institute participants who arrive late or depart early, or who depart from the group travel itinerary and/or stay at locations other than program designated housing, will not be entitled to a refund or credit for unused lodging.
Spouse and companion participation – The Oxford Institute welcomes spouses and adult travel companions. Since our housing contract with St. Hilda’s College is on a “per person” (rather than “per room”) basis, a spouse or adult companion sharing a room with an Institute participant is the same cost as the Institute participant registration fee. A spouse or travel companion must complete, sign, and submit all registration forms, which should be submitted at the same time as the sponsoring professional participant’s registration materials and payment (parental signature required of minor participants under age 18 years.)
Accompanying Children – a minor child may share a room or have an adjacent room with their parent(s). Due to our housing contract with St. Hilda’s College, each child over the age of two years, requiring a bed will occupy one participant slot. As such, the fee for a child sharing a room with a parent is the same as the parent’s registration fee. The Institute does not provide or have access to child care services and supervision of children is the responsibility of the parent and will be required at all times. You will need to bring your own crib or bedding for infants or toddlers. Children, spouses, and travel companions are welcome to participate in all Institute social and cultural events and field trips. However, children are typically not permitted in institute presentation sessions due to subject matter and topic content, unless prior arrangements have been made with the presenter and Institute Director. Please contact us to discuss your particular circumstances and needs.
Enrollment Information – At the end of this information packet is an enrollment application. To register for the 2022 Oxford Institute, complete all application pages and return with full payment to the indicated address.