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bCrawlSeeYouInTheKitchenMCRPaintingLove Table of Contents WE LC OME !

BASIC S

ARRI V AL

SE C U RI T Y

TRAN S PO RT AT I ON

BAN KS

TE LE PHON E S

COMPU T I N G

IN T E RN E T AC C E S S

CO L L EGE

A BI T O F HI S T ORY …

THE MAS T E R

PORT E RS

KE YS

RE GU LAT I ON S

AC C OMMOD AT I ON

WE LFA RE, HEA LT H AN D ME D I C AL EME R GE N C I E S

MEDICAL REGISTRATION

MEDICAL EMERGENCIES

MAIL

PA YI N G BI LLS

ME A LS

AC AD E MI C D RE S S

MCR

WHAT I S T HE MCR?

THE MCR COMM I T T E E

THE MCR COM PU T E R ROOM

COLLE GE PA RE N T S

FRE S HE RS ’ WEEK

SOC I A L ST U F F

HE LP !

Useful Contacts

WE LC OME !

Welcome to the Middle Common Room of St Peter’s College! When accepted into St Peter’s, you automatically become a member of the Middle Common Room (MCR). ‘MCR’ means two things. First, as the name suggests, the MCR is a room (or really a couple of rooms) in College. Secondly – and more importantly – the MCR is the society of between 150 and 200 graduate students, fourth year undergrads and visiting students at St Peter’s. Along with your faculty, it is probably the most important group of people you will associate with at Oxford (and, indeed, in general). It will also hopefully be a little (or a lot) more fun than your faculty.

The MCR organises events for each week of term. These include Formal Halls, Guest Nights, day trips around the UK, lectures, punting excursions, barbecues, wine tastings, film screenings and BOPs (Oxford speak for a party). Outside of term time, there are more informal gettogethers for the graduates who remain here. The MCR – through the MCR Committee – is also the chief mechanism through which graduate issues are represented to the College, so if you have a query or a problem, be it general or specific, it can be addressed through the MCR.

This guide contains precious knowledge gathered by the MCR throughout generations of graduate students and is divided into three parts ranging from basic information, College-related aspects of your graduate life, and last but not least, the organisation and role of your MCR. This guide is particularly aimed at graduates from outside the United Kingdom, but it should also be helpful for graduates from the UK.

Settling into Oxford takes time, especially for the large number of students we have coming from outside the UK. To help with this process, we strongly suggest you attend the College and MCR events in Freshers’ Week (known in Oxford as "0th week"). In order to be in Oxford for all the events it is best to arrive by the beginning

–  –  –

One of the greatest strengths of St Peter’s is its lively and supportive graduate population. Whether at formal dinner, in a lecture from a fellow MCR member or over a pint at the pub, we always end up having a lot of fun. We hope that you are looking forward to becoming a part of our community – we are certainly looking forward to meeting you!

–  –  –

ARRI V AL Unlike some universities, we’re not very fussy about this. If you let Hilary Sudbury, our Accommodation Manager, know when you intend to arrive; she will make sure that your College accommodation (if you have been allocated a College room) is ready and waiting. Her email address is: hilary.sudbury@spc.ox.ac.uk When arriving in Oxford, you should first make your way to the College to sign in. If you are arriving by air, you will land at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted or Luton Airport. Regular coaches run direct to Oxford from all four airports (for Gatwick and Heathrow timetables and online booking see www.oxfordbus.co.uk - the bus is called “The Airline” and for both Stansted and Luton see www.nationalexpress.com).





Cheaper return fares for limited periods are available (only of interest if you have further journeys planned within the relevant period).

Buses run more frequently from Gatwick and Heathrow than from Stansted or Luton, although Stansted or Luton may save you money.

You should stay on the bus until it arrives at the Oxford bus station at ‘Gloucester Green’, which is the final stop. Once you get off the bus, make your way to Gloucester Green itself. It’s a square behind the shops that immediately face the bus and is used as a market on several days of the week. If it’s full of stalls, make your way right around the outside, passing the Old Fire Station and the Falafel Stand, or alternatively, simply walk across the square and take the first right onto George Street.

Standing at George Street with the Odeon Cinema on your right, you will see a coffee shop across the road called ‘George Street Social.’, which is on the corner of George Street and New Inn Hall Street. Pass ‘George 3|Page Street Social' and walk up New Inn Hall Street. Just past the Methodist Church, you will see on your right the sandstone of St Peter’s College.

The main building through which you enter is separated from the street by a lawn and has a set of automatic glass doors. You’ll now be in the Porters Lodge, also known simply as ‘The Lodge’ (each College has a Lodge as their main entrance).

After you’ve checked in with the Porters, do take a short tour of the College. If you walk to the College Bar, to the left there is one of Peter’s prettiest buildings, Staircase Four. Straight ahead and just to the left of Staircase Four lies the Dorfman Centre. This is an excellent modern conference facility. If you return to the main quad and walk past the front of the Chapel (where your Graduate induction talk will be held), you will see the facade of the dining hall, Hannington Hall (the building with steps leading up to it), directly across another little quad from the modern, glass stairwell. If you carry on down the steps to the next little quad (which doubles as a rather lumpy croquet pitch), the twostorey building in the right hand corner is called the Pastry School (no longer serving pastry). Its upper floor is the College music room, and the ground floor is the MCR.

Hello there!

4|Page THE CI T Y On arriving in Oxford, it’s wise to purchase a map or print one up beforehand. All the bookshops in the city centre – Blackwells, Waterstones, W H Smith – sell the Oxford ‘A to Z’ and smaller street maps. Familiarising yourself with the main streets, areas, pubs and, perhaps, libraries, is essential. Two key areas outside the city centre are the Cowley Road, in East Oxford, a lively and colourful area with pubs, clubs, restaurants, live music venues and a cinema, and Jericho in North Oxford. Jericho, which is based around Walton Street, is rather more up-market than the Cowley Road. Both areas are full of student housing and student lettings.

SE C U RI T Y 99% of the time, Oxford is a very safe city. Unless you’ve never lived in a city, there will be few surprises of the unpleasant variety. However, there are a few security risks of which you should be aware. First, student accommodation is sometimes a target for thieves. Student houses are quite easy to recognize – normally by the state of the garden and the number of bikes lying around. Short of taking up gardening, your best security response is to ensure that all outside doors are locked at all times and that windows are secured when no-one is home or when everyone is in bed. It is also wise to keep the door to your room locked at all times. Second, although there is no reason to be paranoid, there are risks to your person when travelling around the city. During the daytime the biggest risk is from pickpockets. Be sure to keep your valuables safe and secure. There are also some strange people wandering around Oxford late at night. If you are walking around at this time, we suggest it is safer to travel with other friends or catch a taxi. Please report any security concerns you have. Even the smallest thing (for example, seeing suspicious people wandering around) may be

important. Please contact:

• The Porters in College (they may refer you to someone else in College to make a report and may suggest you contact the Police)

–  –  –

This may all sound very grave, but please, don’t have nightmares – in general, Oxford is a great and very safe place to live.

TRAN S PO RT AT I ON

Cars are not really an option in Oxford. Many streets are either closed to private motor vehicles or clogged with traffic. Parking is also very difficult and there is no parking provided for students on either the main College site or at any of its accommodation blocks. As you may be aware from having seen any depiction of Oxford, anywhere, ever, the transport of choice in the city is the bicycle. You can buy a new bike on the cheap side for around £100 at the various cycle shops on Cowley Road and in North Oxford. Alternatively, there are second-hand cycles at the same shops, advertised around the city and online. Bike Zone, just around the corner from St Peter’s in St Michael’s Street, does repairs and sells new and a few second-hand bikes, mainly £200 plus - with excellent coffee at the Handle Bar Cafe upstairs.

Demand for second-hand bikes is high at the beginning of the academic year so get in early. Bikes not locked will be stolen. Even those with locks may get stolen by industrious thieves, so it is worth holding off on the fancier models and saving your money on something a little cheaper. D-locks are the lock of choice and University Security Services sell these at a discount (see www.admin.ox.ac.uk/ouss/cra/cyclesecurity/). Even so, avoid leaving bikes on the street overnight (especially on weekends) where they are likely to be vandalized. At College, bicycles can be stored in an area outside the Chavasse building, accessed from New Inn Hall Street via swipe card. You will need a St. Peter’s sticker (available at the Lodge) in order to store your bike here. Buses are also a convenient way of getting around. Two bus companies serve the city, making service very frequent. The only drawback is that many 6|Page university buildings are not close to bus stops. Then again, as Oxford isn’t that big, you can also walk – so stop complaining!

Then there are taxi cabs. There are two types of taxis in Oxford: the characteristic Hackney or Black cabs and private taxis (or minicabs). Black cabs can be found at taxi stands. The closest stand to College is at Gloucester Green. The private taxis are regular cars that are registered with the Oxford City Council and can be booked by telephone (ABC Radio Taxi Oxford 01865 242424, for example). DO NOT get into any private cabs that DO NOT have the yellow sticker of registration from the Council.

Private cabs are also not supposed to solicit for rides on the street – you must call for a pick- up instead. You should keep in mind that Oxford is a fairly small city (around 150,000 inhabitants) and if you are in the city centre, walking is usually the most sensible way of getting around, so don’t be lazy! If you wish to venture out to a bigger city, London is just under two hours away by bus. There are two bus lines charging £14 for a same-day return student fare; your University Card (‘Bod card’ serves as student ID). These both depart from Gloucester Green, but you can also get on/off on the High Street, and on St Clement’s, near the start of Cowley Road. They run 24 hours a day, every 12 minutes during the day and every half hour at night (approximately). There is also a train service to London, which takes approximately 60 minutes, costing around £25 for adults or £17 for those with a 16-25 railcard but you could also get return tickets for as little as £8 if you book in advance (www.nationalrail.co.uk).

Unfortunately train services are only available until around midnight on weekday and around 01.00 on weekends.

BAN KS The main banks in Oxford are HSBC, NatWest, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and the Co-operative Bank. All are conveniently located in the city centre. Opening an account can be a challenge since there is a lot of paperwork needed. All banks will ask you for a letter from 7|Page the College proving that you are officially studying at Oxford. The Deputy Registrar, Martin Brown, will be able to provide you with that.

Either e-mail the Academic Office (graduates@spc.ox.ac.uk) explaining that you need a bank letter (addressed to the bank you choose), or visit their offices at College and they will have it ready as soon as possible for you.



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