What distinguishes Oxbridge Academic Programs from other study abroad programs?
There are many distinguishing factors separating Oxbridge from other programs, but the principal ones are the strength of our faculty, and the students we attract. For many years, we have recruited teachers from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, as well as the best universities in France, Spain, and America, who are eminent in their fields and eminently suited, in terms of character and experience, to teach young learners. Moreover, we encourage our faculty to use the stimulating and inspiring settings of our programs to fire the imaginations and interests of our students.
This carefully supervised and structured learning environment extends into the students' free time: we ensure our activities include the educational alongside the cultural and social; day trips, field trips, and guest speakers are planned to complement each other for true experiential learning opportunities.
This sounds great! Can I do more than one program?
Yes! You can attend our Spring and Summer Seminars in New York (grades 9-12), and or the Oxford Summer Seminar or Spring Seminar (grades 10-12), in addition to one of our four-week programs. If you do The Oxford Tradition, The Cambridge Tradition, The Oxford Prep Experience, The Cambridge Prep Experience, Oxbridge in Barcelona, or Oxbridge in Montpellier, you can also participate in The Paris Connection immediately after the conclusion of your program.
And you are of course welcome to come back for multiple summers. Some of our students have attended as many as four of our programs!
Are parents allowed to visit during the program?
Yes, parents may visit if they wish. Keep in mind, however, that between classes, extracurricular activities, and exploring your new surroundings, students will be very busy during their time with us! We suggest that any family holidays be scheduled either before the start or after the conclusion of the program, so that students can spend as much time as us with possible.
What is the security like?
Our programs take place on secure, supervised premises. Oxford and Cambridge colleges were originally designed to keep the townsfolk out. Today their "castle-like" walls keep our students completely safe. All our program residences are also extremely secure, as they are designed to house students year round. Entrances to all residences are supervised round-the-clock by College Porters (in England), Campus Security (in our other programs), and our own staff, who get to know all our students' faces. Many Porters are former police officers or military personnel. The colleges also have CCTV cameras that protect valuable works of art as well as their year-round students.
All students on our high school programs must check-in with the Deans on duty between 10:00 and 11:00 pm. Curfew is at midnight. On our Prep programs, students must check-in once at dinner and again in the evening between 9:00 and 10:00 pm. Curfew is at 11:00 pm.
Check-in means that students must present themselves to a Dean who records their presence, after which they are not permitted to leave the premises. Curfew means that students are in their own rooms, by themselves and quiet. After curfew, the gates are locked but our office remains open for a short while, and some staff patrol the grounds, in addition to (in Oxford and Cambridge) the College Porters. Some of our staff live inside the residences, alongside the students, so our presence remains throughout the night.
Are boys and girls housed separately?
We house boys and girls in separate hallways, staircases, or floors. The majority of our faculty and staff live in the dorms with the students, so there are adults available to monitor and counsel 24 hours a day. All students must be quiet and in their own rooms as of 11pm on our Oxford and Cambridge Prep programs, and by midnight on all other programs.
Will students be covered under parents’ medical insurance while abroad?
Please consult your family's medical insurance policy well in advance of the start of the programs to find out if you will be covered or not.
If students are traveling outside their home country in order to attend one of our programs, we strongly urge having full medical insurance. England, France, and Spain all provide excellent emergency medical care, irrespective of citizenship. Be prepared, however, to pay up front for their services - and keep your receipts, as many insurers will only reimburse you after the fact. American hospitals also offer excellent emergency care - but the costs can be extremely high, so it is particularly crucial that students are covered by an insurance policy if you are coming from outside the US to attend a program in Boston, New York, or Los Angeles. All our programs are within easy reach of medical surgeries and hospitals, should the need for such facilities arise.
What happens if a student gets sick during the summer?
For minor illnesses, such as a common cold, you will be given permission to miss class and spend the day quietly recuperating in your room. Our Deans will oversee your recovery and cater to your particular needs. In the event of a serious medical emergency, you would be immediately escorted to a surgery or hospital for professional treatment.
What kind of clothes should students bring? How much luggage can students bring?
You'll receive a detailed suggested packing list in the weeks leading up to the summer. Clothing in class should be appropriate for an academic environment. You should bring at least one outfit to wear to dances and to the formal Final Banquet.
In addition to your hand luggage, please do not bring more than one other bag/suitcase. Most airlines have a transatlantic limit of 50 lbs (23 kgs). Please check your airline's limit well in advance of flying. Overweight baggage can be heavily fined, and in some instances may be refused altogether.
Also bear in mind your luggage may be heavier at the end of the summer, what with souvenirs and classwork you want to bring home.
Do students need a laptop or tablet during the program?
While students are permitted to bring a laptop and/or tablet with them, few of our courses require either device. If your course instructor has requested students bring a laptop, you will be notified well before the start of the summer. Please keep in mind that Wi-Fi access can be unpredictable and unreliable in ancient University buildings! On all the programs, we provide a number of computers in a student common room, which are available for student use.
Can students bring cell phones, musical instruments, or a pet?
Students may bring cell phones with them, but using them abroad can be extremely expensive - it's easy unwittingly to end up with bills for thousands of dollars. We recommend you sign up to a roaming agreement with your provider in advance of the program. Better yet, consider a cheap pay-as-you-go deal from a local provider when you arrive.
We prefer that cell phones are used as emergency resources only. For this reason, the use of cell phones is not permitted during program activities, classes, field trips, meals, assemblies, or after lights out.
Musical instruments can be brought - within reason. Keep in mind that many instruments will be extremely cumbersome and almost impossible to transport. In the past, student bands have formed by renting instruments from local stores, and our residences typically have music practice rooms, some of which have pianos.
Each year, some students ask whether they can bring pets, such as dogs or cats. Sadly, from transportation to vaccination, and from import licenses to accommodation, there are many reasons that it is simply not feasible - so we do not allow pets on the programs.
Are there laundry facilities? Yes, all our programs have laundry facilities either in or very close to the residences. Whether coin- or card-operated, students can liaise with the Deans to learn where and how to use the machines to launder their clothes.
Do you provide Kosher or Halal food in the dining halls?
We welcome students of all faiths and orientations, and we pride ourselves on accommodating and welcoming everyone! We are able to provide Kosher and Halal meals in dining halls, and we cater to all manner of dietary requirements besides. We warmly encourage you to be in touch with our New York office to let them know about your needs.
Are all the programs the same?
The structure of each of our programs is similar, but beyond that, our programs differ according to size, location and courses offered.
A major difference to consider when choosing a program is the variety of courses offered in each location. Each program offers a selection of popular subjects as well as relatively specialized courses for students with particular interests and passions. Our continental programs offer language classes as well as immersion classes in either French or Spanish.
What are the differences between the cities of Oxford and Cambridge?
Oxford is a larger city than Cambridge, with a population of about 150,000 compared to Cambridge's 110,000. These are quite small populations compared to almost 8 million in London. Oxford has a busier city center than Cambridge and a larger shopping district; Cambridge has a greater concentration of colleges and university buildings in the town center, which gives the city a slightly more relaxed atmosphere and the appearance of being smaller in size.
What are the differences between the cities of Paris and Montpellier?
Paris, with a population of about 2 million, is the capital of France and is much bigger than Montpellier. With approximately 500,000 residents, Montpellier is the eighth largest city in France. Montpellier is a cosmopolitan city, but has more of a small town feel, whereas Paris is simply 'Paris' -- renowned throughout the world for its history, culture, fashion, food, and shopping. Montpellier has fewer tourists than Paris, and one is less likely to hear English spoken in the streets. While Paris is known for its monuments and museums, Montpellier is renowned for its charming maze of medieval streets, its world-class art museum, as well as its 13th-century Jewish baths—it is at once a delightful provincial town and a cosmopolitan city.
Can I go to any of these programs if English is my second language?
If English is your second language, please provide your TOEFL score or a short letter from your English teacher confirming your fluency in English. Our programs are conducted primarily in English, and our programs in Oxford and Cambridge are taught exclusively in English. We want to ensure that our students are able to integrate fully and feel comfortable with the program community. In France or Spain, immersion courses are taught exclusively in French or Spanish, but program information, materials and literature are all available in English.
Is there a way to attend a program in England and still visit France or Spain?
Yes, if you do The Oxford Tradition, The Cambridge Tradition, The Oxford Prep Experience, or the Cambridge Prep Experience, you can participate in The Paris Connection immediately after the conclusion of your program.
I've never studied some of these subjects before. Can I still take them?
Of course! We've designed our curriculum to include a large number of courses that are rarely offered at the high school level, such as International Espionage, Criminology, Zoology, and Social Anthropology, and we don't expect our students to have much, if any, background in these subjects. Even subjects such as English Literature or European History, which are taught at all high schools, will cover material you are unlikely to find at home. You can study an entirely new subject or new material in a traditional subject. Whichever you choose, you'll experience creative teaching in a stimulating, refreshing learning environment.
Can I do a homestay in France or Spain?
In France and Spain, just as in Oxford, Cambridge, and New York, Oxbridge offers a collegiate residential experience for its students rather than a homestay. The primary reason for this is one of safety and security - having all our students under the same roof with our own staff allows us to have a much stricter control of the environment. Having students dispersed around big cities like Paris, Montpellier, Salamanca and Barcelona would make quality control far too difficult. Furthermore, living together in one residence creates a greater sense of community, emulating the college dormitory environment which goes hand in hand with the intellectual experience our programs provide. Given the exceptional improvement in French and Spanish made by our students every summer, we have no reason to believe that the residential experience diminishes language learning (see question above on immersion).
How much homework is there? Will I have time to do anything else?
You should expect roughly one hour of homework per night for your Major classes, and none for your Minor classes. Drama classes tend to require greater rehearsal time, approximately 4-5 hours a day leading up to the final performance at the end of the program. Film and Journalism classes, which also conclude with a final production or project, also demand extra time. Please note, however, that if your Minor course is running as a Minor only, you may have some homework, which is often set at the students' own request!
No matter what course you take, your work will culminate in an exciting final project that will test your grasp of the course material.
Your academic work, however, is not the only thing you do - we have a full (but optional) curriculum of social and cultural activities, including films, lectures, dances, plays, sports events, and tours.
Will students receive grade reports at the end of the program?
Shortly after the program all students and their parents receive a comprehensive set of grade-sheets, presenting their course syllabus and highlighting their specific efforts and contributions during the month. These are accompanied by a letter from the executive director to the student congratulating them on completing the program as well as a letter from the founder of Oxbridge detailing the academic philosophy and structure of cultural enrichment at Oxbridge.
The majority of our students also submit copies of their grade-sheets along with their college applications.
What kinds of activities and sports are available?
Our students are able to pursue a wide variety of activities and interests. In addition to the field trips (such as Broughton Castle, Stonehenge, Salisbury, Lincoln, Ely, and Canterbury Cathedral in England, Versailles, the Château de Vincennes, and Vaux le Vicomte in Paris, St. Guilhem-le-Désert, Avignon, and Nîmes in Montpellier, Girona, Figueres/Empúries, and Montserrat in Barcelona, and Madrid and Segovia in Salamanca), students are offered a range of local activities, which include discussions with eminent guest speakers, concerts, plays, dances, quiz competitions, talent shows, open house poetry readings and coffee socials.
We also offer a wide variety of sports: some favorites include basketball, softball, soccer, cricket, pétanque, swimming and Ultimate Frisbee. Classes in activities such as yoga, salsa and juggling are sometimes offered. In Oxford, we do our best to make sure that rowers (crew) can get on the river at least once during the month.
We make every effort to ensure that our activities programs complement the cultural and intellectual enrichment at the heart of our academic programs.
If I apply, but am not accepted, will I get my deposit back?
Yes. Students are not accepted if their academic or behavioral record suggests very clearly that they will not cope with the standards and policies that we uphold. In cases where this is unclear, references will be approached to clarify the student's suitability. Any student that is not accepted will receive their deposit back in full.
Are scholarships available?
We do have a number of full and partial scholarships available for students, based on both demonstrated financial need and academic excellence. For more information on the specific scholarships and the application process, read our Scholarship Pages.
How much spending money will I need?
This really depends on how frugal or extravagant you are in your spending habits in general. Students tend to spend the majority of their money on lunch, but it is definitely possible to eat very cheaply in all of the cities where we are. Our own research has indicated that students tend to spend the equivalent of about $15-30 US per day on average for meals, incidentals and the like. More may be needed for any souvenirs for you and your family.
Please note that meals will prove cheaper if students dine in the residence. We provide breakfast and dinner each day – so one needs only to buy lunch – and, for this reason, we expect all students to eat breakfast and dinner in the residence. The evening meal especially is considered an important part of the collegial atmosphere we create as a program community in an academic environment. Students who regularly spend money unnecessarily to eat dinner out – effectively paying twice, as they have already paid for their residential meals as part of their tuition – can be seen by other students and the faculty as flaunting their financial advantages. For these reasons, we ask that students eat meals in the dining hall or canteen, out of consideration for everyone else on the program.
Where do the students come from?
Our students have come from countries as diverse as Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Monaco, Morocco, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey - as well as the United States and Canada. The majority (roughly 60%) come from all fifty states in America and Puerto Rico. Over half arrive knowing not a single other student, and about 50% come from public schools.
How can I stay connected to Oxbridge?
Let us know if your contact information changes so we can get in touch with you in the event we have a reunion.
Keep us updated on how your summer with Oxbridge continues to affect your college experience or career, or let us know if you …publish a book, win a grant, or any of the many other impressive things we know our alumni go on to do - we’d love to include it in our Alumni News and Achievements.
Alumni sometimes serve as Oxbridge Ambassadors, sharing about their experience at our receptions or schools. We also have a limited number of spots every year for alumni to work on the programs or as interns in our New York office.
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