“I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all like an opera.” – William Butler Yeats
As ‘visiting students,’ Williams students are full members of Exeter College. They can join all college clubs, sports teams and other organizations, they enjoy full access to the college library, and they may dine as often as they please in Hall during term time.
Students in the Williams-Exeter Programme are encouraged to join campus clubs, organizations, and athletic teams, as well as take advantage of the more than 300 student organizations established at the university (ranging from ballroom dancing and wine-tasting to rowing and rugby).
While there is an undeniable emphasis on academics, the independent work required by the tutorial-based system and its largely self-scheduled nature, coupled with generous four-week breaks between terms, leave students free to take advantage of the new surroundings. Many decide to travel within the United Kingdom and Europe during their year abroad. Find out more about student life via the Williams-Exeter Programme’s Facebook page.
The four-building Ephraim Williams House compound in North Oxford offers Williams students a home base near town, just over a mile from Exeter. The complex includes student bedrooms (spacious doubles), kitchens, lounges, laundry facilities, a dining room, a computer lab, and a library, as well as outdoor space for basketball, croquet, and barbecues. It’s a short bike or bus ride (or a 20-minute walk) from Exeter College and the center of town, and is within easy walking distance of university parks and the local shops, restaurants and banks of Summertown. The Programme will partially subsidize student bus passes or bicycle purchases/rentals to facilitate travel around Oxford. Student jobs are available at the Ephraim Williams House compound each term so that students have a chance to work and earn some spending money during their time at Exeter.
The surrounding city is full of pubs, cafes, restaurants, parks, theaters, and other attractions. To further enhance the Williams-Exeter experience, students in the Programme receive a cultural fund stipend to cover attendance at concerts, plays, museums, sporting events and other events. The Programme holds weekly catered meals and a variety of events throughout the year. Bikes are available for students to get around the area.
Throughout the academic year, provisions will be made for trips to a number of sites of historical, cultural, or political interest. In the past, these have included the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Wimbledon, and various destinations within London. Students are also given the opportunity to attend a number of theatrical productions and other cultural events. Oxford’s proximity to London gives students ready access to that city’s many attractions and resources. Oxford-London train service is frequent and the journey takes just over an hour. Buses to London run even more regularly (and are cheaper), and the one-way journey takes about 90 minutes. The ‘Fun Com’ committee is elected by residents at the beginning of each of the three terms. This committee plans social functions for the group throughout the year. In the past these have included tea at the Randolph, Warwick Castle, and subsidized students entries into the Exeter Ball. Students are also given a cultural subsidity of 500 pounds for the year. This subsidy can be used for cultural activities, extracurricular instruction, activity fees, or transportation within the UK.
Illness and Insurance
Students must ensure they are covered either by the Williams College health insurance policy or by some other comprehensive health insurance plan (generally a family health insurance policy). While in Britain, students will be covered by the National Health Service (NHS) for routine visits at the Group Medical Practice used by Exeter College and for emergency hospital treatment. Prescription drugs are available through the NHS for a nominal fee. There are limited outpatient psychological counseling services available through the NHS and the Programme, although, as Visiting Students at the university, Williams students are entitled to make use of the University Counseling Centre. Any extensive or long-term counseling, however, would need to be covered by the student’s personal health insurance policy. Finally, students are not likely to be covered under the NHS for medical services received in foreign countries, especially those countries that do not enjoy membership in the European Union.
The Programme also has a relationship with a private medical practice in the neighborhood. This service runs outside the NHS and runs on a similar basis to family medicine in the U.S. You are free to use this service even though you are registered with the NHS practice, and you can use it for all your medical concerns or on an occasional basis. Charging for medical services with the private physician works as is generally the case in the U.S., but you will need to make provision for settling your account with the private physician directly and then claiming back any fees from your U.S. insurance provider as the private practice is unable to bill the insurers in the U.S.