What to see in Bristol? Dive into Bristol’s deep history and see how you can get involved

by Alessio, Chief Resident

If you are coming from another city or another country, your years at the University of Bristol can become an opportunity to know the city, its traditions and its community: an experience which will remain in your heart and memory for the rest of your life. Let yourself be conquered by the vibrant atmosphere of this city! Bristol is an incredible blend of Georgian architecture, harbour traditions and street art. 

Read on for the six essential things to visit in order to live an authentic experience in Bristol.  (more…)

Taking care of your wellbeing

by Usman, Chief Resident

Mental and physical wellbeing is one of the key factors that enables us to overcome difficulties and challenges and to be successful, it is of vital importance that we take our wellbeing seriously. It enables us to grow and take charge of our routine, our mind and body, all at the same time. Wellbeing refers to being comfortable, health and happy. The fives ways of wellbeing include connect, keep learning, be active, give, take notice. It is now more than ever easy to practice these ways of wellbeing in daily life.   (more…)

My favourite places to see and activities I’d recommend in Bristol

by Kal, Senior Resident

Newfound freedom, new flatmates, and a new city. It may seem a bit overwhelming to figure out what to do first so here’s a quick guide on what there is to do in Bristol. 

Let’s start with some daytime activities 

First, for those who have never been to Bristol before some buildings are a must-see around the city from the Wills memorial building to the We Are Curious disco ball sculpture in millennium square. Download an architecture trail of all the buildings to visit. 

If architecture isn’t your cup of tea, then maybe you’ll prefer coffee with many independent cafés and bakeries in Bristol you are sure to find one you like. Some suggestions: Playground coffee house, Papadeli or Pinkmans.   (more…)

How to live harmoniously with flatmates

by Abhishek, Chief Resident

From creating a sense of home and comfort in a new space to working out a washing-up and cleaning rota, moving into student accommodation for the very first time is no easy feat.

Here’s a low down on how you can not only survive but thrive while living with fellow flatmates at university.

Be considerate at mealtimes

Communal student areas tend to become the busiest and most cluttered during mealtimes, particularly in the evenings when everyone looks to prepare and tuck into a home cooked dinner with fellow flatmates. It’s at this point of the day that students are hoping to relax and unwind following a busy class schedule. In order to live harmoniously with others, it’s crucial that students are courteous of each other during these points in the day as it’s during this time that students look to socialise and enjoy the company they keep.

Be respectful of those around during this time by not outstretching or being too noisy during mealtimes. While we want everyone to relax in their new home, putting your feet up on a table can be unpleasant for others trying to enjoy their meal or drinks in the communal living spaces, as too is shouting or singing whilst others are looking to initiate conversation. Leaving litter around or not cleaning up after themselves is another area students should be aware of if they want to get on and live harmoniously with those around them. It’s important to remember that if you keep the communal spaces clean and tidy, others will follow suit. Create rotas for cleaning, cooking etc. so that workload is shared evenly!

Assign responsibility to tasks early on

There are many essential responsibilities that come with sharing student accommodation with others. For example, the purchasing of washing up liquid, the hoovering of the communal carpets and the wiping down of shared surface areas. Instead of waiting for someone to find the urge to do this early on, it’s best to allocate these responsibilities to individuals who are sharing the space at the beginning of term. Not only will this ensure that essential responsibilities are split fairly amongst the group, it will also instil a sense of camaraderie among them and prevent any arguments or clashes occurring from things not getting done.

Spend quality time together

While inevitably, schedules will clash with fellow students during your first term at university, by organising weekly meetups and social get-togethers with flat mates, you’ll create a sense of community in the shared space with those you live with. These don’t need to be massive nights out but just something everyone can partake in once a week to ensure weekly bonding time in the living spaces. Activities such as movie nights, pizza making or card games, are a great way to get everyone together. Making the effort to socialise in a positive environment will not only ensure you make new friends but will also make it easier to discuss and delegate important tasks and responsibilities with fellow flat mates. You only get 1st year at uni once in your lifetime, so make the most out of it!

For tips on how to live harmoniously with your flat mates, look out for your kitchen meetings!

Four simple but essential tips to meet new people and make friends

by Jeongeun Park, Senior Resident

Starting university is a huge transition for all new students. It is a new adventure full of exciting opportunities as well as enormous challenges. Building a support network is vital in adjusting to university life. Making friends sounds easy, however, in reality, it can be daunting and requires active effort and skills. It is completely normal to feel anxious to leave behind close friends and make new ones. Here are four simple but essential tips that you can take to make this process fun and less stressful.  

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Things I wish people had told me I didn’t need to take all the way from China to uni!

eby Juntao, Senior Resident

I still remember the day  I was packed for my Masters, packing for an exciting adventure to a different country, different culture, and of course, a completely different food system from China. My mum was standing next to me, muttering about all the things I should squeeze into my poor suitcases: clothes, shoes, stationery, sanitary pads, skincare, eye drops, rice cooker, tableware, woks, quilts, pillows… Then there was the day when I was carrying two giant 28-inch suitcases and one boarding case, struggling all the way from the train station in my city to the airport in Shanghai, to the airport in London, and then finally to Bristol. Oh, yes, how can I forget the day when I finally submitted my dissertation and started to pack my things and leave for home, I looked at my wardrobe, sighed, and wished someone had reminded me not to bring this stuff!  

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International student Q&A

Starting university is both nerve-racking and exciting, especially when you are travelling from a different country and culture to do so.

Earlier this week we posted an Instagram story asking our incoming international students to tell us what they wanted to know about life as a Bristol student.

Here are a few of their questions!

1. Can we work while studying? 

Yes! International students on a Student Visa can work while studying, providing you are able to balance your job with your studies and social life. 

Many businesses in and around Bristol are happy to hire students and work around your schedules. There is also the option to work for the University in roles such as student ambassadors or event stewards. 

For more advice about working visit the careers service website

2. Can we get the food we like from our countries?

There are many international stores around Bristol, selling a range of foods including halal meat, eastern European delicacies and Asian spices. Also, most large supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Tesco have international aisles, but the selections may be limited in comparison to specialist markets. Likewise, most supermarkets have vegetarian and vegan selections too. 

Bristol prides itself on its multiculturalism as such there are many restaurants with international cuisines near campus and some that are just a short bus or bike ride away. 

Our friends over at UWE have put together a list of international food stores in Bristol

3. Which shops accept student discount? 

Many stores in Bristol and the UK accept student discounts, however there isn’t a website naming all of these, so you are better off going into a store and asking. 

Stores within Cabot Circus, the Galleries, Broadmead and the Arcade that accept student discount are listed here: bristolshoppingquarter.co.uk/offer/student-discounts/ 

There are also third-party discount providers such as TOTUM, Student Beans and UNiDAYS, who provide you with a card that will entitle you to discounts on everything from restaurants, retail, tech, travel and everything in between.   

4. Will there be other students from my country?

The University of Bristol is home to students from all over the world, with everyone being welcomed into our community, so chances are that there will be someone from your country. 

Bristol SU has an International Students Network which is a chance for all international students to come together. There are also social groups for students from specific backgrounds such as the African & Caribbean Society, Filipino Society, Arab Society, Latino Society and Chinese Society. If there isn’t a society for you, you can always try and start one.

5. Are there lots of cycle routes?

Bristol is a very bike friendly city, with lots of cycle paths and cycle routes. Visit Bristol has a very handy list of maps for cyclists, as well as a lit of where you can rent bikes, and cafes that even offer extras for cyclists such as repairs and bike storage.

6. What do people wear? How do I dress for the weather?

People should wear whatever they feel comfortable in. Feel free to express yourself with your fashion choices. 

The autumn and winter months in the UK can be cold and rainy so you should have warm clothes such as jumpers and cardigans as well as a waterproof coat. It rarely snows here, but if it does there is never more than a couple of inches and it normally melts away within a day or two. 

This summer has been very warm with some daily temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius, in this weather it is common for people to wear t-shirts with shorts or jeans, or dresses etc. In 

The weather in spring and summer can be unpredictable, so it might be handy to carry a small umbrella in your bag even if the sky looks blue when you leave the house. 

 Our campus sits at the top of some hilly roads so comfortable shoes such as trainers, boots, flat sandals (for the summer months) are recommended. 

7. Will teaching be online this year?

At the moment, we are planning to deliver as much in-person learning as we safety can. This includes seminars, laboratories and even some lectures. At the same time, the past year has taught us the benefits of a blended approach and we will be taking the best of online and adding it to a mainly in-person educational offer. 

Our planning is informed by government guidelines, Public Health England and by our very own scientific advisory group. Therefore, you can be assured that your safety and the safety of our community remains our priority. We have plans that mean we can respond effectively to any changes in circumstances. 

We look forward to welcoming you to campus and our amazing city! 

8. What is the cost of bus travel?

Students can benefit from discounted fares of up to 30% off bus services across Bristol and further afield.  

The best bus fares are normally available as mobile tickets which can be bought and stored on your mobile phone using the mTicket app (just search ‘First mTickets’ in your app store). More information about bus fares can be found on our website.

A range of special passes and fares are available for the Bristol Unibus U1 and U2 services linking the North Residential Village and Langford to the Clifton Campus.

Further fare information is available on the Bristol Unibus website.

9. What is council tax, and do I need to pay it? 

As a university student you are exempt from paying council tax. However, the council will normally ask for proof of your student status this can be requested from your school administration.  

If you live in a household with non-students, they will be likely to qualify for a discount.  

There is more information available on the Bristol City Council website 

10. Where does the best pizza in Bristol? Where can I get the best coffee?

Websites like Secret Bristol and Best of Bristol regularly post lists of the best places in Bristol for food and drinks.  

TripAdvisor is also a good source for rankings as you can see a lot of reviews from different people.

But I think the best and tastiest way to find your perfect pizza or coffee is to try as many as possible!  

11. Does the university have a canteen? 

There are lots of places to eat and drink on campus. From smaller cafes serving takeaway food and drinks, to the Senate House Marketplace where you can go for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

12. How do we claim back PCR test costs? How do I get food in quarantine?  

Information about covid testing kits and quarantine packs can be found on the following pages of our website.

International travel: restrictions and quarantine

Tests and quarantine for travel

13. Is Bristol expensive? 

Living in any major city does tend to cost more they people think. However, life in Bristol doesn’t need to break the bank, so long as you are sensible with your money. 

We have put together a rough guide how much it costs to live in Bristol.

14. Can you recommend any good restaurants?

We could (and probably will) dedicate a whole blog post to eating in Bristol as it’s so amazing!  

You can probably find an example of food from nearly everywhere in the world and some of our restaurants are in the Michelin guide. However, if you want to get a snapshot of what the city has to offer, head for Cargo at Wapping Wharf. It’s down by the harbour, just behind the MShed (which is a very cool museum!) You’re bound to find something tasty to eat there!