The Perfect Playlist for Studying Abroad in Oxford

Helen Malhotra, COS'21

I'm a fourth year student at Northeastern University studying Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in ethics and in food systems. I am currently spending a year abroad studying philosophy and neuroscience at University of Oxford.


There are plenty of things to remember when studying abroad in a new place, and a perfect playlist is sure to set you up for success. Here are 8 magical melodies for studying abroad in Oxford.

1. “Irreplaceable” - Beyonce

  1. To the left, to the left” Bumping this banger is bound to keep you out of harm’s way. One of the first things you might notice when arriving in the UK is how all the cars drive on the left side of the road. Time to switch up what your parents taught you and start looking right, then left. The preferred side for walking, on the other hand, is quite random, so just make sure to stay courteous.

2. “Hello Tutorial” - Zion.T SEULGI

    The University of Oxford has a very different teaching style than Northeastern University, and most universities in the US. Named the tutorial system, it has students focus on just two subjects (called tutorials) per term. Students have a major and minor tutorial, which meet once a week and every other week, respectively. The meetings consist of just you (sometimes a few other students) and the professor (called your tutor) and you discuss the topic for that week over the course of an hour. Each week, your tutor gives you a reading list and an essay question, which is due before the next tutorial. So hello tutorial indeed!

3. “Do My Thing” - Estelle, Janelle Monáe

  • Having tutorials once or twice a week means a maximum of two hours per week that you are required to do things. While there is plenty of work to keep you busy (a suggested 40 hours per week studying), having the whole day to structure as you want can be a difficult adjustment. You could decide to attend any lecture on any subject, spend the entire day in the libraries, explore the city, or just watch TV all day (as long as you manage to get your work done!). No matter what you decide to you, this system will be sure to teach you a lot about doing your thing!

4. “Shhh” - Maluma 

  1. Oxford has libraries all over, 100 in fact! Each college has a library, and then in addition there is the Bodleian library system, which is open to all students and professors at the university. You’re guaranteed to spend plenty of your time in a library here, so keeping this song on loop will be sure to remind you of the golden rule of libraries: shhh!

5. “Storms Out” - Frankie Stew and Harvey Gunn

  1. Storms out, rains out, and the clouds are definitely out… grey days are something you will be quite used in no time once at Oxford. (Bonus points! This duo is from Brighton, a city in England not terribly far from Oxford.)

6. “It Will Rain” - Bruno Mars

  1. Continuing on the most important topic, the weather, you will definitely need a good umbrella and rain jacket here. 

7. “Meet Me Halfway” - Black Eyed Peas

  1. It is important to note that there is no airport in Oxford. If you’ll be wanting to travel somewhere outside the UK, you’ll need to catch a train or bus to an airport in the surrounding London area. And if you’re planning on meeting a friend who is studying abroad in the EU as well, you might want to suggest meeting halfway (London).

And last but not least...

8. Harry Potter Theme Song - John Williams

  1. Listening to this classic while walking around Oxford will certainly make you feel like ‘yer a wizard.’