An Exchange Student’s Guide to Oxford

23 Okt 2019

An Exchange Student’s Guide to Oxford

Art Café

Located at 14, Bonn Street, this is the best place to come across Rob in his natural habitat. If you are lucky, he might take you on a tour to London, Stratford upon Avon or Blenheim Palace, but don’t expect to use the bathroom at the latter. Situated near a rather nice square, Art Café is the best place to meet at seven o’clock in the morning when waiting to go on a trip  You can probably get a cup of coffee or tea and some sandwiches there as well, but opposite to it you find Westgate Shopping Centre which offers a chocolate shop and a legendarily beautiful Itsu Restaurant, so really there’s no competition for most people.



There are three major bus companies to be found in Oxford: The creatively named Oxford Bus Company, the Stagecoach Oxfordshire and Thames Travel. Despite the multitude of options you have in theory, you will nevertheless be forced to continuously take 4A going to Elm’s Rise, which is supposed to arrive at 20 to 30 minute intervals, but you invariably have to wait around 45 minutes for a bus to appear. During this timespan you are able to observe just about any bus going around Oxford arriving and leaving. Not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything…



Cars in the UK have their steering wheels on the right side, which many claim to be the wrong side, believing the left side to be the right side. However, if the left side is the right side and the right side is the wrong side, in accordance with the rules of logic, the left side has to be the wrong side because it is the right side. And then they wonder why some people have trouble telling right from left or right from wrong or similar problems. It is strongly recommended not to think about this while driving though, as it highly increases the chances of crashing straight into a tree on either side of the road.



The second most vicious creatures on Earth. Do not, under any circumstances, feed them anything while on a boat. They will tirelessly pursue you in great numbers once you show them, you’re in possession of food. The most vicious animals on Earth are of course the geese, made apparent by the fact that they have managed to imprison the human race without us even noticing. You can have a glimpse at freedom while punting along the river Cherwell, even though to the untrained eye it’ll look like someone put a fence around some geese, while in reality the opposite is obviously true


Excuce me

Something British people really enjoy saying.



British people love sandwiches. You can get them just about everywhere and they’re the most quintessentially British lunch imaginable. Often paired with crisps, which you can get in small packages rather easily. Besides their own cuisine, the British love food from all over the world especially India. Traditional Indian food turned out to be too spicy for many people though, which led to the creation of less spicy alternatives like chicken tikka masala.


Galleries and Museums

A chance to see irreplaceable historical artifacts and priceless masterpieces at absolutely no cost at all most of the time. Also you can go to the bathroom for free there.



A lot of British houses are rather narrow and two storied. Bedrooms can usually be found upstairs while kitchen and living room are situated downstairs. They also have a tendency to look almost identical to all the other houses in the area so orientation can be an issue. A description of someone’s home might not necessarily help you actually find it.



Something you get on the bus for free. It can be quite helpful for finding your way back home, especially when everything sort of looks the same.


Jacket potatoes

A British variety of baked potatoes that have very crispy skin and a fluffy melty inside


Killing people because of their religion

Something that happened frequently in Oxford in the old days. You would either be executed by Queen Mary I for being a protestant or by Queen Elizabeth I for being a catholic around 20 years later.


Lewis Carroll

Actual name: Charles Dodgson; a mathematics professor who also invented stories for children, who is now known as a famous children’s book author who also was a professor at Oxford.



If you still have old pound notes that most shops don’t accept any more, you can either keep on trying until you find a shop that still takes them, e.g. Primark or get ripped off by a money exchange shop. Both options aren’t ideal but



A store you can find at the Covered Market. The store next to it is called Next to Nothing and nearby you can find a store called Two Foot Nothing. This is the only attraction I personally took a photo of. Covered Market is a market in a covered structure, which closes way to early. There you can get a large selection of milkshakes, carrots, that are huge in comparison to the Austrian ones and much more.


The Oxford University

The reason why Oxford is internationally known despite being a fairly small city. Archrival to Cambridge University, who claim that they have bad students and bad teachers but good marmalade. Considering that current Prime Minister Boris Johnson graduated there, there might be a grain of truth in that. But I’d rather not open that particularly infamous can of worms that is known as politics right now


Potter, Harry

If you are a die-hard Harry Potter fan, you will feel at home in Oxford. There are about as many shops selling Harry Potter merchandise as there are shops selling generic Oxford souvenirs. Some shops just do both, which seems rather sensible.



An immortal elderly lady who’s never home at Buckingham Palace. She mostly seems to stay alive purely out of spite and to spend time with her dogs. It’s mainly her dogs though, probably.


Reality TV shows

The kind of show most often on at my host family’s home. Coincidentally also a kind of TV show I am barely interested in.



At some British shops, you can get the most delicious substitute for a swear word imaginable, fudge. There are different varieties of fudge, all of which should be tried. A very British kind of sweet are wine gums and the most popular British chocolate seems to be Cadbury, which is easily recognizable due to its iconic purple colour.



Golden Toilets will be stolen, so don’t bring yours along!


Uphill Blenheim Race

The single most important sports competition in the history of the universe. Only a select few were allowed to observe the peak physical performances on display there.



Fish and chips aren’t as popular in Oxford as one might think, not being anywhere near the ocean. However, if you happen to have it for supper once, you need to put vinegar on it to get the full experience.



The stereotypical English weather is rain, even though there is more rainfall in Rome than in London.



No matter the language, you can never find anything for x besides xylophone and there are really not many interesting things about xylophones that haven’t been said before.


Yeast extract

British people call it Marmite and eat it with toast. It can only be described as an acquired taste, absolutely appalling until you get used to it. Once you get used to it, it doesn’t necessarily taste nice, but you also somehow keep going back to it.


Zebra crossing

They exist and are actually respected by most drivers, unlike in some other countries.



Not everything in this guide should be taken seriously and not all claims presented herein are a 100% true. In some cases, reality hasn’t been updated to fit the information above yet. We apologize for the inconvenience.

(Jonathan Manke, 7b)