Should you be wondering what living and studying in Oxford is actually like then, welcome, you have come to the right place. The Student Life blog is a space where our currents students and alumni share their experiences of the city of dreaming spires. Below you will find blog posts covering a range of topics related to academics, life, and activities in Oxford. Happy reading…



The tutorial is the heart of undergraduate teaching in Oxford. It is an hour long conversation between a tutor who is engaged in research and one student who, having spent the week researching, has written an essay in response to an assigned, searching question.

The zest of challenge; the sweetness of triumph’, Angela King (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

Undergraduate Seminar

Undergraduate seminar discussion classes enable students to integrate topics covered in their tutorials and in University of Oxford lectures. The seminar is an opportunity to reflect on methodological issues students face within their disciplines; it offers students a chance to learn from one another as well as from the tutor. Students will then develop their research skills by writing a seminar essay.

-Coming soon

British Culture

The British Culture course examines selective themes from the British past and the traces they have left in present day Britain. Students explore how events, people, and ideas from the past are remembered, forgotten, and misremembered in literature, politics, philosophy, religion, art, architecture, and the material landscape. All students partake in this investigation into the meaning, use, and abuse of the past, through lectures, field trips, tutorials, and the researching and writing of scholarly essays.

-Coming soon

Libraries of Oxford

Oxford’s libraries draw scholars from all over the world. There are more than 100 of them, with well over 11 million titles between them. The largest is the Bodleian Library with over 6.5 million items. As a legal deposit library it has the right to take free of charge any item published in the UK; it also has extensive foreign holdings and collections of maps, manuscripts, early printed books, and ephemera.

‘Towers of books and seas of words’, Micah Winters (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

Nothing but my wits and a few research questions‘, Kyler Schubkegel (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

Life in Oxford

Life at The Vines

The Vines is a late-Victorian mansion, which overlooks the city of Oxford from its location atop Headington Hill. Since August 2004 it has been home to SCIO students.

‘Moments of connection’, Rachel Zimmerman (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

‘Finding home’, Madeline Spivey (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

‘A seat at the table’, Megan Burge (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

Life at Wycliffe Hall

Wycliffe Hall is an evangelical theological college set within the University of Oxford, an international centre for the study of theology, an Anglican seminary for the training of Christian ministers, and a centre for postgraduate study and research. SCIO students are given the opportunity to stay in the North Wing of the hall, from where they enjoy close and easy access to the Wycliffe common room, dining hall, library, chapel, a fully-fitted and large kitchen, and the nearby University Parks. 

Three English majors, an art historian, a psychologist, and a theologian walk into a pub…’, Nathan Tudor (Michaelmas Term, 2018)

Just what I needed‘, Hannah Kaiser (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

Chapel, Church, and Worship in Oxford

During their time in Oxord, students are encouraged to explore the vibrant spiritual life on offer throughout the city. There are many places of worship, but also opportunities to engage in religious societies, chapel services, and a host of other devotional activities.

‘Faithfulness and provision’, Katherine Humes (Hilary Term, 2018)

Between belief and practice‘, Stephanie Septembre (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

Food Groups

Many students enjoy forming food groups, where members take turns cooking for the whole group, usually for the evening meal. So, if you are part of an evening food group with six other people, you would need to cook a meal only once per week. 

‘Social rejuvenation’, Melissa Barciela (Michaelmas Term, 2016)

Communal nourishment‘, Phillip Quinn (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

Thanksgiving in Oxford

Every Michaelmas term, SCIO hosts a Thanksgiving celebration with students and staff at The Vines. We buys the food; you do the cooking. 

‘The smartest turkeys I’ve ever made’, Adam Burge (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

Christmas in Oxford

Of all the seasons, Christmas is widely held to be the most beautiful time of year in Oxford. Covered in lights, Christmas trees, and decorations, the sense of joy among residents is palpable as the city and University descend into the cold winter months, comforted by the surety of warm libraries during the day and cosy firesides at night. 

‘Merry Oxmas!’, Rachel Sakrisson (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

‘A family Christmas’, Joshua Austin (Academic year, 2017–18)


Mid-term Break and Weekend Trips

Students visiting in both Michaelmas and Hilary terms enjoy a mid-term break, and many use this interlude to leave Oxford and travel around either the UK or Europe.

‘Sunsets in Scotland: the gift of inconvenience’, Nathaniel Perrin (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

Field Trips

Field trips give students the opportunity to tour, explore, and contemplate historic sights around England. From Stonehenge to Salisbury Cathedral, Bath to Hampton Court Palace, SCIO field trips represent an excellent opportunity for students to visit attractions that, otherwise, they might not have time to see.

-Coming soon

Sports Teams and Societies at Oxford

While in Oxford, students enjoy a variety of activities. As members of Wycliffe Hall, all SSO visiting scholars have the opportunity to join any number of the societies and sports teams affiliated with the University.

‘The Tolkien and Lewis societies’, Anna Pearson (Michaelmas Term, 2016)

On the water‘, Yannie Heng (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

Performing with the St Hilda’s college chamber orchestra‘, Danielle Howard (Michaelmas Term, 2017)

Ice Skating in Oxford‘, Emma Gray (Hilary, 2019)

Student Tea

‘[Mrs Norris] burst through his recital with the proposal of soup. “Sure, my dear Sir Thomas, a basin of soup would be a much better thing for you than tea. Do have a basin of soup.” Sir Thomas could not be provoked. “Still the same anxiety for everybody’s comfort, my dear Mrs. Norris,” was his answer. “But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.”’

– Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Tea is central to the British experience – a particular sort of tea: black (usually breakfast tea), to be taken by itself, or with milk and/or sugar. ‘Nothing but tea’ is preferable to nothing; still more preferable is tea enjoyed with a biscuit, a scone, or something chocolatey. Visiting scholars are given the opportunity to gather around tea and sweet accompaniments on a bi-weekly basis, both at Wycliffe Hall and in Simon Lancaster’s office. The latter is a grand affair, with a selection of sweet treats provided. 

Tea time‘, Emma K. Suiter (Michaelmas Term, 2018)