Six-Month Programme: October to March
The aim of this programme is to provide the building blocks for our students to excel academically in their chosen field, navigate the social and cultural differences between the UK and their home country, and live a rich and independent life in Oxford.
As a participant in the Six-Month Programme, you will have the chance to interact with students of the college. At its core, Hertford is not just a set of beautiful buildings but a community, held together by common values and friendship. We invite you to live alongside us at the college, and experience what it feels like to be a member of our student community.
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History of the programme
The programme has been running for almost twenty years and began with just a few Japanese university students. There is no other similar programme in Oxford that takes place during term-time.
Benefits for students
Oxford is the oldest English-speaking university in the world, with around 23,000 students, and is also one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the UK. 38 colleges make up the University, and many have beautiful, historic buildings close to Hertford in the centre of the city. Students on our programme can get involved in college sports and music and also attend a number of lectures in faculty buildings. They meet our undergraduate students, often forming long-standing friendships, and gain an insight into what it means to be an Oxford student. In addition, some of our students have returned to Oxford to embark on Master’s or DPhil (PhD) programmes.
Who can apply?
We welcome applications from all university students. The programme attracts those wishing to both improve their language skills and immerse themselves in UK culture in the beautiful, world-famous city of Oxford.
Programme students have the chance to join clubs and societies at Hertford College, and often become key members in supporting the work of societies such as the Oxford University Japanese Society (OUJS). Right from the beginning of their time here students are encouraged to join OUJS, which runs weekly evening classes for those wishing to learn Japanese. They are given the chance to teach others in a formal classroom setting, mainly focussing on conversation skills. After class, there is often a visit to a local pub, a good opportunity for our students to practise their English and make friends. Students can also join a host of other clubs and societies at Hertford.
The programme runs from October to March and comprises 20 weeks’ worth of study over the 6 months, broken down into a 20-hour week (Monday-Thursday plus Friday morning). On arrival, students are tested and divided into 2 teaching groups, with a different teacher taking each group. Our rigorous academic programme also includes a variety of cultural elements designed to enrich the students’ experience of being in a different country, looking both at the history of their hometown and artistic heritage the UK has to offer. Click the headings below to find out more about our teaching methods, academic and cultural modules.
Our teachers work closely with each student to prepare a bespoke course of individual study and closely monitor progress.
The students complete a weekly feedback form asking them for their opinions on different aspects of the course, ranging from classes to accommodation. As a department, we take this feedback very seriously and it serves to improve the quality of what we offer.
Students are assessed on formal presentations, team work, literary reviews, authentic field work and end of term tests (including TOEIC and IELTS). All the scores are recorded throughout the two terms and the universities receive a progress report as well as a grade transcript at the end of terms 1 and 2. The students are awarded a certificate of completion at the end of the programme.
The following schedule is an example of a typical week in the first term. In the second term, there is more business and economics content, with the language classes covering more business vocabulary (plus associated task-based activities relating to working within companies) and the weekly lectures focussing on topics ranging from Brexit to global growth.
Students are taken to London in their first or second week to look around the National Gallery and then in the second term they go to the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral and Tate Modern art gallery. These visits accompany their lectures on ‘Art in Britain’ and ‘A Rise in Modern Architecture’.
Jericho and Headington
The students learn about the history and culture of these two important historic Oxford neighbourhoods, led by an extremely knowledgeable teacher and local resident.
Primary school placement
In the second term, there is an opportunity for the students to try their hand at teaching. We spend one day in a local Oxford primary school where the students present aspects of their culture to groups of schoolchildren, and learn about managing a class at the same time!
Shakespeare drama workshop
Students take part in a drama workshop with our drama specialist, focussing on one of Shakespeare’s plays. They then put on a performance for all members of the department!
These sessions enhance the students’ understanding of the language, covering areas of grammar, the study of lexis and improving fluency and accuracy in speaking and writing.
Students are led through a systematic and thorough approach to academic writing, with an emphasis on structure, appropriate language and paraphrasing from source material.
A springboard for discussion and advanced language work, our current affairs module explores political and social systems in the UK. It allows the students to research and present areas of interest to the group.
Social and functional English
These sessions support the students to communicate in a wide range of social settings outside of the classroom.
This module introduces and practises the use of idiomatic expressions, loan words, neologisms and phrasal words that enrich our language.
British culture and business
This series of lectures and related sessions cover a range of British culture and global business topics.
Students work from the phonemic chart and study a variety of phonological features of the English Language.
This is an opportunity for students to discuss areas of difficulty with the grammar presented in the language focus classes and ask for more practice if needed.
Meet our teaching team
Our team of experienced, qualified teachers and lecturers lead the Six-Month Programme, delivering academic lectures and personalised tutorials.
My lectures have over the years fallen under the very broad umbrella of social science – economics, finance, business, education, social class, ethnographic fieldtrips, and history, with always “connect” a guiding star.
The atmosphere at Hertford combines educational rigour with a broad sympathy of approaches to what works best with a wide diversity of students. As a lecturer I have been able to choose what it is that works best, always mindful of what each programme must include, set in an always congenial and convivial environment. Interactivity is at the heart of my Hertford teaching, always mindful that student voices are what matter most, individually and collectively, solo and choral.
Dr Sarah Blair
I have a degree in Illustration, followed by a PhD on the narrative language of graphic novels, and I have always cultivated a particular focus on crossovers between visual and verbal languages.
At Hertford, I offer creative workshops to help students speak or write about their sense of identity. I also introduce students to UK visual culture, offering lectures on Contemporary Art and Youth Culture and Fashion. I use creative and visual stimuli as much as possible, and the students whom I have taught at Hertford are wonderfully interested in finding their voice in English, and this is so much more than becoming more comfortable in the language. The courses provide a great opportunity for sharing perspectives and thoughts: everyone supports everyone else and there’s a rich exchange of ideas on a great many topics and aspects of life.
Dr Megan Price
It is a pleasure to be a staff member of Hertford College International Programme and work with people from many nationalities. Hertford is a unique place to teach, situated as it is in the very heart of the historic University of Oxford and surrounded by its beautiful architecture.
I have been a student and teacher in the University since 1997 and since 2000 have been a regular contributor to a variety of Hertford College programmes. My university research focused on world archaeology and social and cultural history-and I have a keen interest in exploring the many relationships between the past and the present. I enjoy the opportunity of sharing my experience and enthusiasm with a wide student audience both formally in class and informally during the day.
For class- based work I use my specifically prepared PowerPoint presentations and provide appropriate visual material for study and discussion. I lecture on the archaeology of Britain from prehistoric times to the present day, revealing, for example, the secrets of Stonehenge and also providing the students with the opportunity to handle some ancient artefacts.
My research into the history and traditions of Oxford University follows the growth of today’s academic disciplines that developed here in the nineteenth century. I consider their lasting inheritance and Oxford’s position today as a world-famous university. In class, my presentations explore the university year, the teaching methods, the curriculum and the variety of cultural and social activities available to the students. We try on Oxford academic dress and debate why this tradition is still valued.
Oxford has three important museums that were founded in the nineteenth century, the Ashmolean Museum, the University Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum. Each museum is very different and it is important to explore their cultural diversity by lectures and group visits. There is a wealth of culture to experience in Oxford and it is a privilege to share it.