OSAP student housing will be located in or near the central area of a very old British inner city and will be different from modern housing on or near a US campus. Oxford University was founded in about A.D. 1090. The oldest building in Oxford is St Michael’s Church, built in A.D. 800.
Students will have a double room in a house or flat, which will be above average by British student standards. The housing will include at least one experienced non-American student or recent graduate, barring a last minute drop out.
We describe here our housing in a very conservative manner, pointing out many possible problems which probably won’t happen in almost all of our houses, since we don’t want students to be disappointed.
Our housing has been viewed recently by many visiting U.S. professors and study abroad advisors. All have agreed our housing is very good, very comfortable and above average by British student housing standards. It is certainly more expensive than most private housing used by British students in Oxford; it is much nearer the very center of Oxford.
OSAP housing will be located no further away than a fifteen minute walk from the central area of the University defined as St Anne’s in the North, Magdalen College in the East, Folly Bridge (just below Christ Church) in the South and the Railway Station in the West.
The house will probably be old, built between 1890 and 1930. Some houses are new – a decade old. We have one remodelled house built in the 16th century. It will have a bathroom, a full kitchen with the usual equipment and utensils; refrigerators in Britain are much smaller than they are in the US. Some houses may have a washer (some are coin operated) but some do not (public washer-dryers are available, with a small charge, nearby). The colleges we work with have laundries, although they will only be open during term time. Oxford is a damp city and some mold may be in the bathroom or basement. The mold can be removed, but often it grows back.
Students will have lived in this house for many years so the furniture and carpets (or linoleum) will be a bit frayed and worn.
We have an Annex to Christ Church college (37 St Giles in the center) built in the 18th century. It is a beautiful Georgian house with room for 10 students. It was remodelled on the inside in 2009. It was selected as one of six finalists in a Times contest to find the best new student residence in the U.K.
The heating (or other utilities, fire alarms, etc) may break down sometimes but OSAP, working with the landlord, will repair it as soon as possible. In Oxford, pipes leak frequently and will be repaired as soon as possible. Hot water may sometimes go off for a few days. All OSAP houses are near other OSAP houses and in an emergency, students will allow their neighbours reasonable use of their bathroom, washing machine etc for a few days.
Rodents are sometimes a problem in student houses. Bedbugs, slugs or other insects will appear in a house once in a while. They are a plague in university houses all over Britain—some think they travel on incoming flights. We will do our best to remove them. We may have to move students to another house for a few days. As with other acts of nature (e.g. floods, fires, etc.) we cannot be responsible for such events. The same is true of rodents, as with all cities these can be a problem. If you experience problems, please contact OSAP at firstname.lastname@example.org.