Welfare Introduction

St Hilda’s MCR takes the welfare of its members seriously, and we work to provide a number of resources to help ensure that all members are getting the most out of their time in Oxford.  While supervisors, friends, and family may be your first resource when you have a problem or are just feeling a bit overwhelmed, as a community St Hilda’s has a number of structures in place to provide support when it’s needed.  The first of these community resources is the MCR Welfare Officer. The Welfare Officer and President are here to listen to you if you want to talk, give you tea if you prefer tea, provide information and connections to other welfare resources in College and in the University, and generally work to help resolve any problems or just minor stresses that may come up along the way.

We also keep the MCR stocked with welfare supplies, including university handbooks and advice, free condoms, dental dams etc., as well as cold rescue packs for when you find yourself feeling suddenly surprisingly stricken with a bit of the flu.  You can find all such supplies in the cabinet in the MCR kitchen labelled “Welfare.”

The Welfare Officer is contactable by email and pidge (see glossary!), anonymously if you prefer.

The college also has several senior members who are responsible for student welfare and will do what they can to help and student needing support. These people may be contacted directly if you would prefer not to approach a peer with a specific concern. The Tutor for Graduates, Georgina Paul (;), is available and helpful for pastoral and academic concerns.  The Dean, Margaret Kean ( can be contacted by leaving a note in her pidge, or by e-mail. The Dean traditionally handles disputes and disciplinary issues.  If an issue arises out of hours, there are male and female Junior Deans available who can be contacted through the Porter’s Lodge.

There are two Junior Deans at St. Hilda’s who work closely with the Dean and other College officers to assist in the smooth running of the College.  Their roles are identical and encompass both welfare and disciplinary aspects of college life.

They are good people to talk to about any concerns or problems that you may have, be they academic, financial, health, or whatever. They can act as intermediaries with tutors and other officers of the College if need be. The jurisdiction of both Junior Deans covers all members of the Junior and Middle Common Rooms.

The Junior Deans this year are Deeksha Sharma and Simon Hackett. They can be contacted by email, pidge, or phone if you would like to speak with either of them.

International Students

A swift change of environment and a new culture can be unsettling. Having said that, Oxford University embraces a very diverse community from all over the world and St. Hilda’s is one of the most international colleges in the University. You are not alone!

As part of the MCR’s welfare responsibilities (and an international student herself) the Welfare Officer is also concerned with making sure that international students settle in well. She is contactable by e-mail: and is eager to provide any information you need.

A few things you may need advice on before coming to Oxford from overseas:

Student Visa

New regulations require you to apply for a student visa prior to your arrival. Check with the UK embassy or British Council in your home country. Information about student visas can be found at:

Bank Accounts

Opening a British bank account is notoriously difficult for international students. Here are some hints for you:

  • Try to apply for a UK account in your home country, or online before you come.  Some banks, like HSBC, provide this service.
  • Check whether your bank in your home country has branches in UK.
  • Ask for the information and documents needed for the application procedure
  • It usually takes at least 3 weeks for the application process to be completed. You can get your card at your home country by post or get it when you arrive.
  • Be prepared. Bring all the forms of identification you can think of, e.g. passport, proof of home address and college address, bank statement from your bank in your home country etc.
  • Be first in line. Make a trip to the bank your priority in the first few days.
  • Be patient. It will take time, so bring enough cash to keep you going.

Staying in touch


–          Local line

  • Most graduate houses have a pay phone which you can purchase phone cards for.

–          Mobile

  • A mobile phone contract can be obtained if you pay a deposit; alternatively a ‘pay-as-you-go’ mobile service. There are many different service providers with different service plans. Check the different deals in shops and on the internet before purchasing.

–          Post

  • Every students has a pigeon hole in the Lodge where post and parcels from home can be collected

–          Internet

  • Email access is free to all students. All college accommodation provides internet access. MSN and SKYPE may be used on the network.



–          UK weather can be lovely but can also be daunting! Snow can appear in the winter, and it can get up to 37°C in summer! One thing you will need in Oxford for Michaelmas term is an umbrella! Check this website to see how the climate in the UK compares to your own:

–          If you’re staying in college accommodation, bed linen will be provided as will a limited number of kitchen utensils etc.

–          Most daily necessities and electronic appliances can be got in shops in town.  We are close to a large supermarket called Tescos!

–          There is a specific set of clothes you will need: sub-fusc, which is a traditional outfit worn for Matriculation ceremony and examinations.  It consists of a black skirt or trousers, dark tights, stockings, or socks, black shoes (not trainers), a white blouse and a black ribbon, and a black cardigan or jacket if it’s cold.  You will also need your gown, which you can buy here in Oxford.  Any smart skirt or trousers will be fine, as long as they are black, and any white blouse will also be fine, as long as it has a collar.  You can buy your ribbon here.  You can also buy your other sub fusc items here if you haven’t brought any with you.

Arrival and transport


–     The Oxford bus company provides a bus service from major UK airports to the St. Clement’s stop which is very close to college:

–     There are also 24-hour bus services between Oxford and London:

Oxford express:

Oxford tube:

Once you’ve settled in, it’s time to explore the city with your new housemates and pop into MCR! We have prepared a series of activities for new graduate students in 0thweek which will provide more information about the college, medical system (college doctors and nurses), college library and IT facilities etc., and, no less important, meeting new friends in Hilda’s!

The graduate student body is relatively active and there are more than a hundred student societies here! Meet them in the freshers’ fair and get ready for your exciting life at Oxford!

Still have questions?


–          Information available on internet:


–          Feel free to contact the MCR!

N.B. Matriculation

Is not at all painful and although it sounds bizarre it is actually really fun. Matriculation is the ceremony held in the Sheldonian which makes you official member of the University of Oxford. All you have to do is wear sub-fusc, listen to the speech of Vice-Chancellor and enjoy the day with all your new friends.

Shops for Essentials

The first thing to be aware of when coming to Oxford, especially if you’re coming from overseas, is that most shops will be closed or have very restricted hours on Sundays.  During weekdays and Saturdays, most shops will close around 5pm or 6pm and certainly by 8pm. Tesco usefully does have longer evening opening hours, as well as limited hours on Sundays.

Tesco on Cowley Road, a busy and average sized supermarket, is probably your best bet for food shopping and basic essentials such as laundry detergent or washing up liquid.

For more adventurous food shopping, you can try any of the many smaller international shops on Cowley Road, as well as the Covered Market, featuring bakers and grocers and butchers and more, in the centre.

Boots on Cowley Road is the most convenient area chemist and drugstore, as well as offering photo developing.

Honest Stationary Store next to Tesco is helpful for all essay crises and sudden presentations, as well as basic academic essentials.

For a step up in expense and arguably quality, you can go to any number of other High Street shops scattered through the Westgate and Clarendon shopping centres, as well as through the High Street and general centre, including Marks and Spencer’s (provider of fine quality and correspondingly expensive ready-made meals).

Boswell’s on Broad Streetis a one of kind department store in the centre, providing cheap housewares, dishes, kitchen goods, games, and all sorts of buseful things.

Blackwell’s dominates Broad Street, and its various incarnations offer a wide selection of academic and recreational books, as well as music and art extensions down the street. With the standard café upstairs and vast quantities of books in the Norrington basement room, be prepared to spend a long while if you have a weakness for books.

Bottoms Up,located just our side of Magdalen Bridge, is a large vendor of many things drinkable, in case you’re looking for a bottle wine for dinner with a friend.  Also, check Oddbins in various locations through the centre for wine and helpful staff.

In addition to the above recommendations, you will find a wide range of shops though the city, including additional supermarkets (Sainsbury’s), chemists, and stationers throughout the centre.

For those living in Jack Straw’s Lane Accommodation (Dorothea Beale House):


Transport: In the long run the best thing is to get a bike. There are bike shops on Cowley Road and also posts ads on second hand bikes. The Oxford Union holds a sale every in the beginning of Michaelmas Term for bikes as well. Other than that the buses X13 and 13 run from the various stops in the city centre to the bottom of Jack Straw’s Lane and back. The stop closest to St. Hilda’s is the one on St. Clement’s. For after hours the OUSU runs a safety bus (details of which you will find at the Fresher’s Fair) which you can call and access for free. Other than that taxi services (Royal Cars: 01865 77733 or ABC taxis: 1865 775 577 or Radio Taxis: 1865 242424) are available 24 hours a day.

Shops: The nearest shops to JSL are in Headington (go up the road, turn right on Headley Way, go down to the end and then turn left at the White Horse pub). Here you will find a Sainsbury (next to the petrol pump) and further down Waitrose as well as a Co-op Shop for groceries. You also get stationery here and there is a post office as well. Even closer is a cooperative shop at the bottom of the lane. Go down JSL, turn right and then turn left on Old Marston Road; you will find two shops there.

For a trip to London your closest stop for the Oxford Tube is either in Headington Shops (turn left from the White Horse) or in Gypsy Lane (turn right at the White Horse turning). Buses to airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick also leave from the Headington Shops stop.


This year you are lucky as Entz officer Laura is living in Dorothea Beale House and will be happy to help you and welcome you when you arrive.

Transportation: Bicycles

Oxford is a city full of bikes, and you may well find that having a bicycle makes getting around and out of the city considerably easier. There are a number of bike shops around the city, and it may be worth shopping around.  At the beginning of the year, bikes are in high demand, so act quickly if you find something you like.

It is also important to note that you are required by law to have bike lights after dark: white on the front and red on the back, just like a car. You can be stopped and fined if you are caught riding without them after dark. You should also remember to buy a good lock, as bikes will be stolen without one. Cycling whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs is also illegal and you are likely to be prosecuted if caught. You should invest in a helmet and wear it; most drivers are used to the many bikes in Oxford and are careful, but accidents do sometimes occur.

Second-hand bikes are good. However, they tend to be bought up quickly year-round.  For second-hand bikes visit:

Oxford Union Bike Sale

Wednesday mornings, term time *come early – good bikes may be gone by 9am* The Oxford Union, St Michael’s Street.

Oxford Cycle Workshop

39 Magdalen Road, Oxford

01865 204799

“a non-profit community project that recycles abandoned bikes in Oxford for

resale at low cost”

Daily Info listings

For a new bicycle, you might try:

Bee-line Bicycles (recommended)
61-62 Cowley Rd
Bike Zone
5-6 Market St
Cyclo Analysts
150 Cowley Rd
Walton St Cycles
78 Walton St


What’s available out and about in Oxford?

These are just a few assembled delights that can be found in Oxford. The list of recommendations comes from asking graduate students what they have enjoyed over the past years and would like to recommend:

Angel and GreyhoundTraditional Pub on St. Clement’s opposite Dawson St.

Alpha Bar – Found in the covered market, delicious fresh salads to take away, always has vegetarian and vegan options.

Ben’s CookiesWorth a mention on their own although housed in the covered market. Fresh baked daily in a variety of flavours, price by weight of cookie.
Covered MarketIn city centre; cafes, shops, trinkets, flowers…and Ben’s Cookies…yummy. Chang MaiThai restaurant found down a little side alley off the High Street.
Duke of CambridgeClassy bar on Little Clarendon St. Very nice for cocktails. Eagle and ChildPub of Inklings fame (CS Lewis, JRR Tolkein) and top pub grub.
Mario’sOn Cowley Road, fantastic Italian food and take-away pizza.

The Gardener’s Arms, Jericho.

On Plantation Road, right off Woodstock Road.  Fantastic traditional English pub, but with a completely vegetarian/vegan food menu for the non-meat eaters amongst us!

G &D’s Ice CreamLocal favourite with bagels, sandwiches and delicious ice cream flavours.  One on Little Clarendon St, one across from Christ Church College and one on Cowley Road near Stockmore street. Open until midnight every day.

The Grand Café

Tea Rooms on the High Street, just past the Exam Schools.  Good for a luxury cup of tea or coffee during the day; check out their half price cocktails in the evening.

Kazbar, Cowley Road.Drinks, tapas, ambiance and great happy hour deals.
The Old ParsonageA sophisticated yet cosy hotel and restaurant popular for afternoon cream teas with parents. Located on Banbury Road just North of Keble College. Natural History Museum/ Pitt Rivers MuseumShrunken heads and dinosaur skeletons;

Beautiful building on Parks Rd.

OdeonMajor cinemas in Oxford: one on George St. and one on Magdalen Street Vaults and GardensGreat little café/restaurant opposite the Bod which does lovely organic soups and light lunches, with a discount for Bod card holders.
Oxford PlayhouseTheatre on Beaumont St.  Hosts a variety of musicals, plays, ballets, etc. Phoenix Picture HousePopular cinema with art, foreign, and well-reviewed films in Jericho.
The Pink GiraffeChinese restaurant on St. Clement’s Road famous for its vegetarian duck as well as real crispy duck pancakes. They do takeaway too. Purple TurtleNightclub underneath the Oxford Union, off of Cornmarket St.
Turf TavernOne of the best in Oxford, down small alley off of Holywell St. Sheldonian TheatreIn Radcliffe Square; holds classical music concerts throughout the year.
The TroutAn amazing pub found in North Oxford over Port Meadow. Long walk there but worth the effort. Has a lovely garden and barbeque in summer. Ultimate Picture PalaceOne of a kind quirky film venue off Cowley Road.
University ParksLittle groves, riverside walks, and sports grounds provide a nice site for a picnic, an impromptu game of football, or a run.  Also forms one end of the handy cycle path to Marston and Jack Straw’s Lane. Christ Church MeadowVisible from Hilda’s, the classic meadow to take a walk or go for a run. Highlights include the river, boat house island and cows.

Additional Resources:

University Websites


8                                                        Oxford University homepage

8                                   Graduate studies prospectus

8                                            Oxford University Student’s Union

8         Student’s Union info for graduates

8                                       St.Hilda’s College homepage

8                                           St.Hilda’s MCR homepage

Living in Oxford

8                        Oxford information online

8                                                  Scholars guide to Oxford

8                                     Entertainment in Oxford

8                                                                Oxford City Council

8                                                   BBC Oxford homepage

8                                                               Oxford Information

Student Websites

8                                                      International Students

8                                       National Union of Students

Public Transport

8                       Coaches to and from London

8                                                                         Local buses

8             `Buses in and around Oxford


8                                      Student Health Information

8                                        National Health Help Website