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Where prestige and creativity meet

University College London is University of the Year 2024 for the U.K. (The Times). Ranked #9 in the world (QS), it’s welcomed 30+ Nobel Prize laureates. It’s part of the University of London federation that includes King’s College London, the Royal Academy of Music, and the London School of Economics and Political Science—and home to a diverse and creative community.

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University College London—The global university

Known as London’s global university, UCL was the first university in England to admit students of any race or religion and the first in the U.K. to admit women to degree programs. It is a hub of creativity in the heart of London. Located in the Bloomsbury district, you’ll be in London’s most learned quarter, offering a fascinating range of histories to explore—and a gathering place for young creatives.

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Visit the nearby British Museum and “Museum Street”:
 
View the largest permanent museum collection in the world, including the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, Aztec serpents, and much more
Walk the same streets as  literary greats:
 
Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, and Charles Dickens found inspiration here
Travel through time:
 
Explore the pretty Georgian squares of central London
Shop around:
 
Experience both the famous Victorian Lamb’s Conduit Street and the legendary Brunswick and Marchmont shopping districts
Enjoy a village vibe:
 
Your location in Bloomsbury gives you a village experience within a massive international city

Lunching in London with friends

At University College London, you’ll have free time each day to get out into central London with new friends. Eat breakfast and dinner in the UCL dining hall, and spend your lunch break exploring this fascinating city. 

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Organized trips and events

Whether you’re wonder-struck in the “cathedral of nature” at the Natural History Museum, visiting Buckingham Palace, or shopping, dining, and walking along the canal in the famously eclectic Camden Market, you’ll be immersed in the magic of London. Here are just a few examples of the types of things you might do during week two of your program:

Attend a play at The Globe Theatre, a living monument to Shakespeare
Join the Jack the Ripper Tour and accompany the Victorian police as they hunt history’s most famous serial killer through the cobbled alleyways of Victorian London
Discover The National Gallery, home to the most famous collection of paintings in the world, such as Vase with 15 Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh, The Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet, and many more
Learn about the UK’s parliamentary governing system and stand in Westminster Hall, which has almost 1,000 years of history, before exploring the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Wrap up your stay in London with an evening cruise on the famed River Thames

From Buckingham to Parliament, explore learning in the round

Get out into the city to discuss real issues with working professionals—and see how academic subjects are put into practice to benefit us all. You’ll visit businesses, political centers, famous museums and buildings, and other centers of innovation all around the city of London during week two. 

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24/7 EXPLO Living

Here’s the lowdown on daily life at EXPLO. Of course, you’ll have the support and guidance of our amazing EXPLO staff backing you up 24/7 to make sure you get the most out of your London Exploration.

Dorm Life

You’ll be living in the student dormitories at Schafer House, located near Regent’s Park and The Royal College of Physicians. The program directors and Explorations staff will live at Schafer too, so you’ll have 24/7 support. Students will have a single bedroom and a shared bathroom, as well as a kitchenette/common room in each 2-5 person suite. UCL dining is a ten minute walk from Schafer house. You’ll eat breakfast and dinner in the UCL dining hall, and for lunch, you have the freedom to go off campus with friends and experience the Bloomsbury neighborhood on your terms. 

Your day, your way

We deliberately design the Pre-College Explorations residential experience to let you decide how to fill big parts of your day, from socializing and participating in EXPLO activities, to academics, to touching base with home (and, yes, sometimes even doing laundry!).

 

With a little backup

But we know you’re not in college quite yet—that’s why our Student Life staff will check in with you regularly to connect and offer support with anything you need. We’ll have live-in residential advisors available to you at any hour. This is how we create an environment where you’ll feel known, welcome, and confident enough to push your boundaries, try new things, and make meaningful friendships.

The more you know

Here are more practical details on program logistics for one of the best pre-college experiences. We’re standing by to answer any more questions, though: don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 781-762-7400 or emailing us at summer@explo.org.

Our students’ physical and emotional health is a top priority. In both Oxford and London, if a health issue crops up, we will make arrangements for and go with you to a local healthcare provider to make sure everything goes smoothly. We’ll communicate with parents and caregivers to keep everyone at ease. 

Dormitories are safe and secure, with key card access to get into the building. We collaborate with campus safety staff to make everyone’s stay as trouble-free as possible. 

We also balance student independence with clear boundaries for where students can go, maintain regular check-ins, and house EXPLO residential staff in the dorms. The program director and assistant director, along with career educators with years of experience with EXPLO, also live on campus during the program.

Attending an academic enrichment program helps students prepare for the greater independence of college. That said, EXPLO does not believe that our students should be supervised as if they are already completely independent; we work hard to ensure our students receive a developmentally appropriate and safe level of supervision and guidance throughout their days. In order to create the atmosphere that allows learning to be both fun and meaningful, we know that our students (and their loved ones back home) need to feel that our campus is safe—and that our staff is observant and trained to respond to our students’ needs.

All students should plan to bring laptops and/or tablets to the program, as these will be used regularly in classes.  Wifi will be available on campus, and there are also several free access points in businesses around Oxford and London.

In addition, all students must have a mobile phone with voice access while at the program.  This will allow our staff to easily communicate with all students in case of an emergency.  Families are encouraged to check with their wireless carriers about short-term international plans if needed.

English is the working language of EXPLO. To enroll in the program, you must be able to speak and understand English at a reasonably fluent level. To ensure that everyone is able to participate in all aspects of the program, students who do not attend a school with an English language-based curriculum or speak English at home may need to interview with EXPLO. Once you’ve submitted an application and deposit, we’ll contact you and your family about completing an interview should we determine that one is necessary.

Students are not required to submit test scores. If, however, a student has completed testing, scores that would show an acceptable level of English to attend the program include:

  • C1 or IELTS level 6.5 or higher
  • TOEFL:  79 or higher

Students attending EXPLO in Oxford and London can check to see whether a standard visitor visa is required using the online Visa Check, and selecting the “tourism” category. Should you need to apply for a visa, EXPLO will provide you with a support letter tailored to your needs. 

 

Get to know your summer home.