Full credit to all the student societies that contributed and all the student volunteers that helped put it together.
Disclaimer: This guide has been complied by current Oxford Students and to the best of their knowledge, is accurate. However there may have been changes since publication. If you would like current advice about the information here or any welfare issue, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Oxford University is an amazing place, but it comes with its challenges. We hope that this guide can hopefully point you in the right direction if you are struggling, especially as a minority student in Oxford.
There are a lot of welfare services available for Oxford students which are completely free and should be used if you need it or just want some extra support.
It is so important that you do not minimise what you are going through and reach out for support if you need it.
If you are struggling, it does not mean you do not deserve your place in Oxford, but it may mean that you need a little bit extra support from the university - and this is what welfare support services are about.
Support in College:
Peer Support team – students who have had 30 hours training from the university counselling service. They both provide a confidential and impartial listening service, and are often the first port of call for welfare issues. If nothing else they’ll be able to signpost to the direction of other welfare services that might be of use. Keep an eye out for posters around your college!
JCR Welfare Officers – these students are elected into the JCR post for a year, and can similarly signpost you to other services.
Welfare staff– most colleges have a nurse, and some have in-college counsellors and dedicated welfare officers. Their job is to help you, so remember that you’re free to approach them with any problem at all.
Dean team – varies by college, with some deans taking on a more disciplinary rather than welfare role. But deans, assistant deans, and junior deans will normally be happy to chat about welfare issues either formally or informally.
Tutors – If welfare issues are affecting your academic performance, don’t be afraid to approach your tutors. They’ll often be happy to help whether that be through extending deadlines or offering advice. Remember that all tutors have been students before, so they can be more sympathetic than you might expect.
Academic officer and senior tutor – This role may vary by college, but colleges normally have a member of staff who organises academic matters like exams, and can be contacted if your welfare is interfering with your work. They can also liaise with tutors if necessary.
Chaplains - many chaplains have a welfare role in college and you do not have to be religious to use them! They are great if you need extra support.
Oxford University Counselling Service – You can request an appointment by emailing email@example.com, calling 01865 270300, or dropping in to the counselling service at 3 Worcester Street (opposite Worcester College and next to the Oxford SU offices).
More information here: https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare/counselling/appointment?wssl=1#
The counselling service is also contactable over the vacation if you require ongoing support at home and their website contains online resources such as podcasts.
The Student Advice Service – A free service run by Oxford SU offering advice on all aspects of Oxford life.
Their website has tonnes of information and details on how to contact them directly: https://www.oxfordsu.org/support/studentadvice/
Your GP – An easily-accessible service. Your GP may either diagnose and provide treatment for many welfare issues or recommend a service more applicable to your needs.
Peers of Colour and Rainbow Peers – University-wide Peer Support groups made up of BME and LGBTQ+ students respectively, if you would prefer to talk to someone who identifies with a given issue.
Charities – there are many charities around Oxford, dedicated to students and providing more general services. Some include:
Nightline which provides an anonymous listening service 8pm-8am
Mind and Student Minds provide support and resources for mental health issues
Peer Supporters - are trained to be able to point you in the direction of other services
You can find a comprehensive list of university services here: www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare?wssl=1
- Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Regardless of how small the issue feels, talking through your problems with someone else (be it a friend, peer supporter, or the senior welfare team) is an important first step.
- Make time for yourself. Oxford is full of amazing spaces that your Bod card will get you in for free. If you need a break from an essay or problem sheet, take some time to wander around a museum, visit a different college, or explore the city’s parks and gardens.
- Remember that deadlines aren’t the end of the world. Most tutors are happy to be flexible, if you’re struggling to manage your work.
- Find a hobby or join a society. Setting aside a few hours to do something non-academic can help to structure your working week. (Class Act will be running several events that you can get involved with – keep an eye out for their term card!).
- Remember that everybody works at different rates, especially in first year. Try not to compare yourself too heavily with your classmates and focus on finding a routine that works for you!
Groups to Contact
There are so many different cultural societies available, and most often these groups have their own resources and events that can help you if you are struggling to adjust to university life. One of the biggest things these groups offer is a way to meet people of a similar background to you, and this can help build up your support network and have a group of people that can advise you on things that you are directly experiencing.
Here is a list of different cultural/country societies that take place in Oxford (this is by no means exhaustive though, but can hopefully give an indication as to what is available):
African and Carribean Society (ACS)
The Oxford ACS is the University of Oxford's leading cultural society providing a home for students of African and Caribbean descent. As we celebrate the diverse and beautiful cultures of our community, central to the society is our commitment to the Black student experience at Oxford, ensuring Black students feel represented and have a voice within the University. Centred on our flagship Access & Outreach work, at the Oxford ACS we have a strong emphasis on giving back to our communities by helping younger students of African and Caribbean descent apply to Oxford. While we aim to engage these future generations, we also seek to enhance the experience for our current students - by putting on weekly events from our lively socials to intellectual discussions, we seek to ensure our members' Oxford experience is unforgettable. The Oxford ACS is a home away from home for its members and we can't wait for you to join our family!
FB - https://www.facebook.com/OxACS
Insta - https://www.instagram.com/oxfordacs/?hl=en
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbWPH8tM246Sh_A9aU65F3g
Oxford Asia-Pacific Society (OUAPS)
Formed in 1999, the Oxford Asia-Pacific Society (OUAPS) hosts a variety of popular social, cultural and career events in Oxford.
?We are a team of students from Oxford University who believe in promoting a better understanding of social, economic and political issues relating to the Asia-Pacific region amongst the students in Oxford.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/oxfordaps
Video (montage from our 2018 Boat Party): https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2150311018566506&extid=Jr8EaGVsZ8u20Rg7
Oxford University Chinese Society
Oxford University Chinese Society (OUCS) is a student organisation dedicated to improving the welfare of ethnic Chinese students as well as promoting Chinese culture. OUCS aims to provide Chinese students overseas with assistance to help them transit to life in Oxford, and organises a variety of social and cultural events to promote friendship among members.
Facebook: @oucsfp (https://www.facebook.com/oucsfp/about)
WeChat: Official Account: ?????????OUCS
Oxford University Hong Kong Society (OUHKS)
We are the Oxford University Hong Kong Society. Established in 1978, our mission is to bring together Hong Kong students studying at the University of Oxford to build a tight-knit community and support system that lasts beyond our education at Oxford. We are the main society for all Hong Kong students, catering to all interests through hosting mostly social events.
Oxford India Society
OIS, oxford indian society strongly believes in the idea of global oneness. As such, our members include indian students, students of indian origin, as well as a significant number of non- Indians who wish to celebrate indian culture.
We organize termly activities, which are centred on promoting indian culture. We collaborate with other oxford societies and regularly use are events to raise funds for charities.
Recently, an india-oxford initiative IndOX is started which is an exciting new platform for the university to share, promote and build on its diverse range of collaborations and partnerships with India.
Oxford University Indonesia Society (OXONIS)
OXONIS, the Oxford University Indonesia Society, was founded for both Indonesians and friends of Indonesia. We are a student club of the University of Oxford but membership is open to all – Indonesians, non-Indonesians and non-students alike!
We are dedicated to sharing Indonesian heritage, culture, and history in Oxford. Through hosting academic talks, social gatherings, and fun events, we hope to promote an interest and understanding of Indonesia in the Oxford community.
Facebook: Oxford University Indonesia Society
Join our mailing list: https://forms.gle/TyrjaugfL9y3URNV8
Oxford Japan Society
Promoting Japanese culture within the Oxford community through a range of diverse and exciting events.
Oxford Mixed Heritage Society
Founded in 2018, we believe we are the UK's first society for mixed race students! We aim to create an inclusive space where Mixed Heritage students can explore their racial identity and build a network with other mixed heritage students.
We run weekly events that bring Oxford’s mixed heritage community together such as:
-Termly mixer social events
-Multicultural film nights
-Hosting mixed-heritage speakers and focus groups to create conversions around mixed identity
-Participating in nationwide movements, such as Metro's 'Mixed Up' series and the Mixed Race Faces photo campaign
We are passionate about supporting mixed-heritage success, celebrating the richness of different cultures, and raising the profile of minority ethnicities at the University of Oxford and in the wider community.
Follow our social media below to keep up to date with new events or send us a message if you want to find out more!
Oxford Philippines Society
The Oxford Philippines Society (OPS) offers a support network for ethnic Filipinos in the University, through organising film screenings, seminars, dinners, and gatherings that feature the best that the Philippines and Filipino culture has to offer. Everyone who is keen to learn and help spread awareness and appreciation of the arts, social and natural sciences, current events, and many other facets related to the country and being Filipino, is welcome to join (even non-Filipinos!). We provide a platform for our members to work with individuals and organizations from the academe, government, and industry, who share overlapping interests with the Society. Learn more from our website [oxfordphilippinessociety.weebly.com]here and like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/oxpinoy)!
Oxford South Asian Arts Society (OXSAAS)
Founded in 2015, OxSAAS is the home of the South Asian arts at Oxford. We organise various social and performance-based events such as Bollywood film nights, Bollywood and Bhangra club nights and perform at various university-wide cultural and social events such as Diwali Ball and Oxford college's diversity weeks. We've hosted our annual showcase of the South Asian arts - Utsav - for four years now and produced a theatre production - 'Talaash' in 2018. We've founded our first ever competitive Bollywood dance team - Oxford Bollywood Jazba - and will be competing in the upcoming national Bollywood dance competition 'Just Bollywood.' We welcome anyone who wants to get involved either behind the scenes in our committee or as a performer; if you're interested in learning, performing or watching dance, music, drama and poetry from South Asia, join our society! There is a place for everyone!
We are also looking for an incoming committee for the academic year 2020-2021 and would love for you to get involved! Check our Facebook page for application details!
Our up and coming competitive Bollywood dance team's instagram under oxsaas: https://www.instagram.com/oxfordbollywood/
Oxford South Asian Society
Set up in 2018, Oxford South Asian Society (OxSAS) is a student-led society at the University of Oxford with the aim to discuss and deliberate on possible solutions for issues of political, legal and social significance for the South Asian region, and to celebrate the cultural diversity of the region. In addition to organizing informal discussions and socials for members of the society, we regularly host academics, activists and policy-makers from the region to understand how one can foster cooperation among South Asian countries. In the past, we have had the pleasure of hosting the likes of Ms Kavita Krishnan, Mr Prithviraj Chavan, Ms Arfa Khanun Sherwani from India; Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, Mr Mohsin Dawar, Mr Ziauddin Yousafzai from Pakistan; Mr Naveed Noormal from Afghanistan; Ms Dilrukshi Handunnetti and Mr Aritha Wickramasinghe from Sri Lanka, among others. Join OxSAS for insightful conversations over chai!
Social Media Links
Oxford Sri Lanka Society
The Sri Lanka society is a small and friendly group designed to celebrate all things Sri Lankan at the university. We welcome all members of the university to join us at our range of events from virtual zoom parties to curry nights to cricket tournaments. If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of us and we look forward to seeing you at an event very soon.
Oxford SU CRAE Campaign
CRAE is one of OUSU's permanent campaigns, existing to improve and support the experience of BME students and to eliminate racism at Oxford. The Oxford SU run a campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality, which you can keep up to date on their events through following their Facebook page:
As a campaign, you can also get in contact with them if you are struggling with any race related issues at the university, and the people on the team can help advise you on what to do next and signpost you to the right resources.
Oxford Taiwanese Society
Established in 1987, the Taiwanese Student Society (OUTSS) aims to provide a warm and welcoming environment for Taiwanese students and their friends in Oxford. Our events include academic seminars, informal talks, sports, public film screenings, traditional food and drink events, etc. Through the OUTSS, we seek to promote a deeper understanding of Taiwanese culture.
Our facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OUTSS
For new students from Taiwan, here is some information for you: https://outss.web.ox.ac.uk/home
Hopefully you will never have to go through the process of reporting harassment while at Oxford, but this part should help you through it if the time does come.
Everywhere at the university should follow a zero-tolerance policy, so if you do experience harassment, you should not be afraid to talk to someone about it.
Nothing bad will happen to you if you report harassment, and it should help stop more harassment moving forward.
To see the official University policy on Harassment (including information about what harassment is defined as under this policy): https://edu.admin.ox.ac.uk/files/harassmentpppdf
This is also a flow chart for students about how to handle harassment in an official capacity: https://edu.admin.ox.ac.uk/files/harrassmentflowchartstudents
Different colleges have different facilities available and a different system as to how harassment is to be reported. It is worth talking to members of the college (whether it is college staff or JCR members) to find the specific college procedure.
If you are confused about how to report harassment, peer supporters, welfare/BME JCR reps, members of staff at your college, the counselling service are all examples of places where you can ask someone about the process and get some support in the process.
If you are worried about any parts of the process, you can also invite trusted friends to any meetings, which could make the process easier.
If you are struggling to get your experiences taken seriously, the SU CRAE campaign can be contacted to help you with putting more pressure on the situation and supporting you moving forward. Also using any contacts you have gained from joining the societies can also be a great way to not just get some advice, but get some emotional support. It is so important that you do not feel alone in this process.