By Kylie Jue
Housing renovations for Stanford’s overseas program in Oxford are scheduled for completion within the first few weeks of winter quarter. The study abroad program had been canceled during remodeling in the fall and will resume when students arrive in Oxford on Jan. 12.
Renovations to be completed during winter quarter
According to Paul Shields ’16, who will be attending the program this winter, the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) had notified students in November that the winter program may be also be canceled due to renovations.
“We were first notified about the possibility of the Oxford program being canceled in early November,” Shields said. “It was somewhat shocking having made plans to go abroad and knowing that that might change, but I think Bing and the Bing Overseas Program handled it very well with regards to providing options to the students.”
Within two weeks of the initial message, BOSP confirmed that the program would go on. Shields spoke about how impressed he was with the handling of the situation.
“They were very transparent with the information,” Shields said. “They let us know what was going on, and they let us know very soon whether the program was going to happen.”
For the first two weeks of the quarter, students will be housed in a hotel about a mile and a half away from the campus while the renovations are still being finished. According to Geoffrey Tyack, director of Stanford’s program in Oxford, the hotel can be reached in 10 minutes by bus or about half an hour by walking.
“They’ll have bus passes so that they can go into the center of Oxford,” Tyack said. “All the classes will be in the center of Oxford.”
Changes to the program
During the program all of the students live in the same house, which accommodates 45 students total.
According to Tyack, the renovated student bedrooms will make the living quarters more comfortable and spacious. The residence will also have new bathrooms and offices and a kitchen on the ground floor.
Other major changes are scheduled to be finished at the end of winter quarter or in early spring. These include a new common room at the back of the house, a disabled suite to give wheelchair-bound students the opportunity to participate in the program and a remodeled library.
Tyack also explained that in general, he hopes to improve the integration of Stanford students with the Oxford students during the program.
From the moment they arrive, Stanford students are paired with an Oxford student.
“It’s one thing to have the mechanism in place. It’s another to make sure that it actually works,” Tyack said.
Six students from Oxford who attended Stanford’s Sophomore College program in September will be working with Tyack to ensure the Stanford students’ smooth transition into Oxford.
“It’s not a total change, but we want to make sure that the system really works well for everybody,” Tyack said.
A larger spring applicant pool
Tyack explained that as a result of the program’s absence this fall, the applicant pool for the 2015 spring was larger than the number of students they could accept.
“For the spring quarter, because we haven’t had any students this past term, we’ve had a much much larger applicant pool than usual,” Tyack said. “Hopefully, the ones who can’t come will be able to apply for next academic year.”
“There’s been a tendency on the whole for applicant numbers to roughly match the number of places available,” Tyack added. “We don’t usually have to turn away too many well-qualified students.”
This winter, 39 students will be attending the Oxford program.
“We’re really looking forward to welcoming our winter students,” Tyack said. “In a sense it’s almost like a re-launch of the program so I feel very excited about it, and I hope they will too.”