Pre-Departure Student Guide

Find useful information about preparing for EF Academy Oxfordall in one place

Traveling to Oxford, UK

Find out what to pack, get detailed instructions about flying to the UK, and know what to expect during your first days on campus.

Welcome to Oxford

Prepare for EF Academy Oxford by reviewing our Welcome Plan, which includes webinar dates and other useful deadlines throughout the year

View Welcome Plan webinar recordings below:

For help in selecting subjects please see our academic guides:

Please also review the School Handbook, so you are aware of this information before arriving to campus:

Documents and items

Make sure to bring the following documents and items with you in your hand luggage:

  • Valid passport

  • Printed E-ticket or boarding pass

  • Charged phone and other electronics

  • Emergency contact numbers in case of delay or a missed flight

  • Pocket money (in cash)

  • Visa documents

  • Any prescription medicines that you take

  • Your UK SIM card (see below)

Important!

Your UK phone number

EF Academy Oxford requires that all students have a UK phone number (UK SIM card) with country code +44.

Students should order one in advance to insert in their phones before travel. If you are not able to do so, you are will be able to purchase a 'Pay-as-you-go' SIM card from a local store.

Please share your UK mobile number with your home admissions office as soon as you have received it.

Packing list

This list will help you remember the most important things you’ll need as you study abroad. Don’t forget that you’ll always be able to purchase things you need if you forget something important!

Make sure you pack according to the climate you’re traveling to. Winters in England can involve wind and rain, so be prepared with a warm coat, gloves and a hat! Be sure to bring a couple of nice outfits, too. From events on campus to attending plays in Oxford, you’ll want to have some more formal attire for special occasions.


Please remember our school dress code and bring clothes that demonstrate consideration for a diverse international school community of students and teachers. Professional dress code for classes.

You can find toiletries just about anywhere you go, but when it comes to your favorite face wash or conditioner, it’s always best to come prepared just in case you can’t find the same products in the UK. Eventually, you’ll find something local that works for you, but for the first few months, you’ll be happy you have something from home to work into your daily routine.

Of course when you’re going to school, you’re going to end up with plenty of books throughout the year. But sometimes you’ll want a break from studying and other required reading. When that time comes, you’ll be glad to have a few easy reads. It will also come in handy during your travels when you can use the extra reading material to pass the time on the plane or train.

We’re not going to sugar coat it: homesickness while studying abroad can get real. Oftentimes it will be the little things related to your culture, like your favorite foods, that will make you miss home the most. Tuck away some of your favorite snack food for one of those homesick days. Plus, a great way to start a connection with your new roommate is to offer them something delicious to eat!

It’s obvious that while living abroad, you’ll need to have your passport with you, but some other key documents to have around include your visa, school ID and flight tickets. You should also keep copies of important details like flight information, school documents or identification numbers. When it comes to legal documents, nobody ever regrets being overprepared. Keep all your important documents in your carry-on bag when traveling! Just remember to store your information in a safe place once you arrive on campus.

While WhatsApp, Skype, and Instagram are all great ways to stay in touch with people you care about, there’s something to be said about a handwritten letter. You never know if you’ll want to write to your family back home or start sending postcards. On a day when you’re feeling homesick, there’s always something comforting about reading a letter in a loved one’s handwriting.

We recommend having some cash when you travel and to get you through your first week of school. Once you’re settled in, your best option will be to keep your money in a bank account. Your Pathway Manager will explain how you can set up an account in the UK during the Welcome Days.

Even if you like to take notes by hand, you won’t be able to do all of your studying without a computer handy. But what good is having a laptop if you forget your charger at home? Take it from your fellow students of the world: running out to buy a new device charger is pricey and annoying in every country, so remember to bring yours with you along with an adaptor.

Flights and arrival

Your flight information

It is very important that you share your flight details with the admissions office at least one month before arrival so we know when you are arriving. Please forward us your flight confirmation when you book your flight. We are also happy to help book the flight for you, so feel free to reach out to your local office for help. If possible, please book your flight for daytime arrival to London so your roommates and staff can be awake to give you a warm welcome!

Your arrival in the UK

When you first get off the plane, you might feel a little lost and disoriented. Don’t worry, this happens to everyone. Airports have good systems in place and it is relatively easy to find your way around. This is what you’ll do:

1. Go through immigration

When you land in the UK, follow the signs that say ‘Immigration’ or ‘Arrival.’ There are usually long lines here, so please be patient. When you get to the desk, the official will ask to see your passport, visa or 30-day vignette (which will be in your passport) and a Passenger Locator Form (printed copy or downloaded copy on your phone). If you have a Biometric Residence Permit (you will have previously had your fingerprints taken when you applied for the Visa) they will check your fingerprints at Border Control. You will also be asked questions about your travels. Be calm and honest. Tell them that you are coming to the UK to study and when you will return to your home country – this last one is very important!

2. Pick up your luggage at Baggage Claim

After you have cleared Immigration, you will follow signs to Baggage Claim, where you’ll pick up your checked luggage. To find out which conveyor belt will have your bag, check the flight numbers on the TV monitors. When you get your bag, be sure to check the name tag before leaving – a lot of bags look the same!

3. Proceed to the Exit or Arrivals Hall

From this point on, look out for our airport greeters. All students will be greeted at the airport on arrival day by a professional driver and escorted to campus. Please look for a 'Royal Cars' taxi driver with an 'EF Academy Oxford' board. Students must use the transfer service provided.

If you have any problems when you arrive at the airport, please call the School emergency number:

+44 7908479976

Getting to campus

All students will be greeted at the airport on arrival day by a professional driver and escorted to campus. Please look for a 'Royal Cars' taxi driver with an 'EF Academy Oxford' board. Students must use the transfer service provided.

If you cannot see the driver go to the meeting place noted below:

Heathrow:

  • Terminal 2 - the airport Information Desk

  • Terminal 3 - WH Smith (a shop)

  • Terminals 4 or 5 - Costa Coffee

Gatwick North or South Terminals:

  • Meet at Costa Coffee

St. Pancras Train Station:

  • Inside the station, go to the 'Meeting Place' - this is a famous landmark and is a statue of a couple embracing.

  • Wear your EF Academy hoodie. This will make it easier for the professional driver to spot you.

  • Ensure your phone has enough battery when you land.

  • Rest on the plane – your first days on campus will be busy!

  • Your first days will be packed full of activities to help you adjust to the new time zone.

Help is near

If you have any problems when you arrive at the airport, please call the

On-call phone

+44 7908479976


​School Phone

+44 1865 759667

If you miss a flight or have any problems along the way, please call the School emergency number: +44 7908479976

If something happens to your checked bag, you should report this before leaving the airport. Go straight to your airline’s service desk or the desk saying ‘Lost Baggage’. Show them the baggage receipt you got with your boarding pass when you first checked in. You will be asked some questions about your luggage, and they will give you a confirmation which you will need if you are claiming money from your insurance company. Remember, insurance companies usually do not cover any damaged or lost luggage if you don’t report it right away at the airport.

Welcome Days

As we welcome students from all over the world, we know what it is like to arrive somewhere new for the first time. Our Welcome Days are designed to help you to settle in and make friends.


Welcome Days for new students are an exciting and immersive experience designed to introduce you to your educational journey. Bursting with energy and enthusiasm, these days are filled with a vibrant atmosphere of camaraderie and exploration. You are warmly greeted by faculty, staff, and fellow classmates who are eager to extend a helping hand and foster a sense of belonging. From campus tours and information sessions to engaging workshops and social events, Welcome Days offer a comprehensive introduction to the academic resources, support services, and extracurricular opportunities available.

Campus life

During your first few weeks on campus, you will make many friends from around the world and discover a completely new way of learning. As part of your first weeks, you will:

  • Meet the adults who support you in residence, called HPs (House Parents)

  • Meet your roommate(s) if you are sharing a room

  • Get a campus tour

  • Take important placement tests for English and your teachers will assess you in other subject areas

  • Attend information sessions on activities available

  • Participate in activities that will help you start making friends. There is a team of returning student ambassadors that will help with all of this, called buddies, in addition to many adults.

  • Meet your Pathway Manager – the person who will discuss your course schedule, overall support and guidance, and will communicate with parents.

Residential life

Living on campus is a fantastic opportunity to learn how to take care of yourself while making friends for life. Just like being a solid student, successful and satisfying dorm living requires a high degree of personal responsibility and respect for others.

  • Twin bed with extra-long mattress

  • One set of sheets and towels (sheet, duvet plus duvet cover, pillow plus pillow cover)

  • Blinds or curtains

  • Desk, chair and lamp

  • A closet or set of drawers

  • An amazing roommate!

  • Kettle

  • Electric blankets

  • Irons

  • Hot plate

  • Heating coils

  • Halogen lamps

  • Sunlamps

  • Candles

  • Propane torches

  • Firecrackers

  • Weapons

  • Rice cookers

  • Lighters

  • Incense

  • Anything capable of reaching high heat levels or containing an open flame is forbidden. Nothing that is or remotely resembles a weapon can be anywhere on campus.

Room allocations

How rooms are allocated
Room allocations are made by the school before you arrive. Living arrangements are decided based on age and gender. We always try to have students of different nationalities sharing a room; after all, what better way to learn about a new culture than from your roommate!

Policy on room changes
It's not a good idea to switch rooms in the first few weeks of school if you're having problems with your roommate. If you give it some time, you and your roommate end up getting along better. It's important for building relationships and doing well in school to stick it out and try to work things out. If you're having issues with your roommate, the first thing to do is to talk to someone who can help you both find a solution. You can always reach out to your House Parent for support and guidance—they're here to assist you!

Living on campus

At boarding school, you are the primary person responsible for looking after yourself. Learn to live independently by organizing your responsibilities.

Pocket money

Although your daily meals are covered by school fees, you’ll probably want to spend some money on extra activities and weekends. We recommend a minimum budget of 300 GBP per month.

Parents: Please make sure your child always has access to at least this much money on a monthly basis. We recommend that you bring a bank or a credit card from home.

Laundry

This might be the first time you’ll need to do laundry by yourself, but there are plenty of people on campus to help you out. Washers and dryers are located on campus and operated through scanning your card, like you would in a shop.

Cleaning

You and your roommates are responsible for keeping your room tidy. Make sure to make your bed, hang up your clothes, and generally keep your room in good order. House Parents inspect rooms for cleanliness on a regular basis but also visit rooms at random intervals without previous notice. The school housekeeping team cleans communal bathrooms daily and student rooms are cleaned twice per week.

Traveling off campus

Travel to London requires a higher level of vigilance and self-awareness, but our students rarely experience difficulties. When students want to go check out a museum or a new restaurant in London, there are convenient transportation options close to campus. For day trips, students must ensure they’re back on campus in time for curfew. You can always call the emergency number if you experience any difficulties traveling to or from the city.

Settling in

Leaving home at your age and travelling to study and live in a boarding school with young people from all over the world is exciting and transformative, but it can also be challenging. Don’t worry if it takes you some time to adjust. Adapting to a new environment, schedule, people and even homework takes time and patience. It also takes a support network of adults here on campus, in addition to your parents back home, to work together to see you through until you are fully on your feet.

House Parents and Pathway Managers will interact with you most, especially at first. Go to these adults with questions and needs, but always feel free to ask any adult for support. Once classes begin, students also have Academic Tutors, Teachers and Course Co-ordinators for support.

Staying healthy

Proper hydration, sufficient sleep, good nutrition and exercise form the basis of good health. Keeping your room clean is helpful prevention as well. While residential staff will support you in staying healthy, you must also take responsibility for your own wellbeing.

ERIKA insurance: All students (except US residents) are covered by ERIKA insurance. The ERIKA insurance policy covers all accidents and illnesses.

If you get sick or feel unwell, you must inform your House Parent or Pathway Manager. EF Academy is within walking distance of a medical centre and there are many hospitals in the area. Our school can arrange for you to see a wide array of specialists as needed.

Make sure to let us know if you take any medications. No medication is allowed to be held in rooms unless approved by the school. All medication brought from home should be listed on the Medical Declaration form. Please note that there are many medications that are legal in other countries that are not legal in the UK or that require a prescription.

You must have a Medical Declaration, completed and signed by your parent or guardian, on file. Please note that you may not travel without first submitting the complete Medical Declaration. Make sure it is clearly scanned for us as sometimes students will need to bring a printed copy to an appointment. If you have indicated a current medical condition (which may or may not require medication), you must also provide detailed information about it from your doctor.

Staying safe

Boarding school provides you with a safety net, allowing you to try new things without fear or trepidation. At EF Academy, you are supported not only by teachers, but by House Parents and Advisors, club advisors, Pathway Managers and more.

The role of the Boarding team is to care for you and help you make good decisions. On campus there is a security team whose mission is to keep the school community safe. The security team screens guests and visitors and ensures that the laws are abided by. The way you conduct yourself, both on and off campus, is essential to staying safe. You will learn more about this once you are on campus.

Our professional security team is dedicated to preserving the safety and security of the entire campus community.


We have CCTV on campus, it covers some outside areas, in the residence building stairwells and the Student Lounge, but not in student rooms or bathrooms.

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