‘I initially chose the MSc at Bristol as I wanted practical training in wildlife health and this course stood out to me. During my Masters however, I discovered that I really enjoyed the research side. I want to be part of the answer and provide useful research to inform wildlife conservation management on a larger scale.
I’ve just started a PhD at the University of Southampton where I’m researching hunting patterns in Belize. I managed to publish my thesis, supported by my excellent supervisor, which has really helped me to stand out from the crowd and secure this next opportunity.
My MSc has shaped my career path and I’m proud that my research will make a difference on an international scale.’
Lydia Katsis, MSc Global Wildlife Health and Conservation
Having a good relationship with his project supervisor inspired Sam to progress from an undergraduate course to an MSc and currently a PhD, all here in Bristol.
‘It’s a really exciting time for nuclear robotics and I feel my path to date has led me to an industry I’m passionate about. I’m currently researching robotic scanning of nuclear waste which could address the issue of nuclear waste storage and make it more accurate and cost effective.
I chose to stay at Bristol as the positive and open ethos within the University lends itself towards innovation and the prospect of interesting and exciting future research.
I became friends with some really fantastic people during the course and I’ve extended my professional network too. I’m sure further opportunities will open up in this field in the future and because of my postgraduate studies, I’ll be ready when they do!’
Sam White, MSc Nuclear Science and Engineering / PhD in Nuclear Robotics
Jaw-dropping scenery; unique personal development; enriching relationships with people from across the world; a year practically dedicated to eye-opening, inspirational experiences: doesn’t sound like a bad year, does it?
My name is Steve, and I’m a 4th year, studying Music and French. Having spent my year abroad in Bordeaux and Lyon, I returned to Bristol to see last year’s year abroad students swarming the streets again. Our first conundrum: how do we approach *that* first conversation?
If you’re late for a lecture, it’s option A: ‘yeah, the year abroad was good thanks!’ Option B is the elaborate five minute epic poem describing everything that has seismically shifted over the year. Nope – five minutes is never enough!
Mind you, five minutes is ample to make observations about what has changed. Most returners are human adverts for what their year abroad experience has brought to them. Some are wiser and more confident; others are more open-minded; many have been completely inspired. Thereafter, each will treat you to a different story of how it all unfolded… just like this:
Build me up, build me up…
Needless to say, the year abroad experience can be a huge challenge. In fact, those first three months of my time abroad were some of the toughest of my life. Plunged out of my comfort zones of city, family and friends, the expression ‘fish out of water’ comes to mind. Would I have opted for a more convenient, relaxing placement to have avoided those tough first three months in Lyon? Non, absolument pas, because it’s all an exposure which forces you to develop in unique ways. At the end of the year, the fish returns to the river having learnt how to breathe air, and I enjoy being an air-breathing fish. This unique personal development is pretty much a given when forcing your brain to adapt to a new language and culture for as much as one month, let alone eleven.
I’ve chosen the subtitle ‘inspired’ for a specific reason, which involved something more special than a bit of personal development…
Imagine a typical 21st birthday party. You may picture a marquee in the garden with everyone dressed up, or perhaps party balloons and a juggler. Well, I’m all for clowns and gowns, but as a June baby on a placement that finished in July, I needed to think outside the box when 17 June came around.
It had all the hallmarks of an underwhelming day. I had under-slept, having submitted my year abroad essay the night before a Monday at work; I was translating tourist information; and I had no evening plans. So, I hurriedly got in touch with my friends who hadn’t yet left the city: ‘Quais de Saone, tonight at 8 pm?’
The scene was set: the sun was going down over the Fourvière Basilica, and a smattering of my dear friends gathered round me in the late-night summer heat. On another day, the sunset may have inspired me. Or perhaps the view of the Basilica, reflected in the torrents of the river. This time, the real cherry on the birthday cake was the people that came.
Today’s news bombards us with stories of nations in conflict with nations, and the struggle of integration in multicultural communities. Meanwhile, here were 10 people representing Lithuania, Sweden, the UK, Colombia, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Italy using words, not weapons; laughter, not threats. The uniqueness of their humour, their intriguing philosophies and their cultural insight didn’t collide or clash, but combined in beautiful harmony that I had never witnessed before. It was conversation for conversation’s sake, and laughter for laughter’s sake, with contrasting backgrounds, races and religions, and we never once risked any dissonance or discontent.
I took a step back, felt the warm breeze, and gazed over the river, the view and the sunset, contemplating this moment that only a year abroad experience could produce – one of the most utopian I’d ever witnessed. The sun was setting over my year abroad experience, with a moment to remind me what a heartening asset multiculturalism is to modern society. Since then, I have still been seeing those same dystopian stories of warfare and persecution around the world. But at least now I have hope that one day, the planet may have the same universal harmony as those 10 people on the riverbank.
So you’re moving to a new city, into a new home with new people and new surroundings. Eek! You might be feeling excited by this prospect, nervous or a mixture of the two? Just remember that you’re not alone and many other students will feel exactly the same way.
Top tips from a few of our students
Cameron Scheijde (BSc Politics & International Relations, 2019)
Recent graduate Cameron remembers how he felt moving to university:
“Moving to a new city is a daunting prospect – but you’ve already made the process easier by choosing Bristol as the place you will live for the next few years. When I received my A level results and found out I was off to Bristol, I felt as I am sure most incoming freshers will be feeling: excitement tainted with nerves and fears for the new start in strange and unfamiliar surroundings with strange and unfamiliar people. I imagined all the things I might be doing in my first week with the constant fear that I wouldn’t be able to make or find any friends. My fears were completely unjustified – from the first day, Bristol’s halls make you feel welcome and cared for. I was in Clifton Hill House, and while each Bristol hall has its own unique identity and feel, they are all set up in the knowledge that moving to uni, whether for the first time or the second, is an incredibly daunting experience.
Clifton Hill House’s family atmosphere meant that I, and the people who I shared corridors and lunchtimes with, were immediately part of a strong and welcoming community. Each hall has a packed social calendar and I would strongly encourage you to get involved in this – halls act as vessels for your own passions, and if you want to do something, whether it be sport, drama, music or something else, the hall is the best place to start.
Before all that, however, is the dreaded moving in weekend and the anticipation of welcome week to come! One of the best things you can do – sorry mums and dads – is say your goodbyes and unpack on your own. This way you can shape your new room yourself.
Also, more importantly, you can prop your door open while you unpack. In doing this, you are inviting your new neighbours to pop in and introduce themselves. I met some of my closest uni friends in these first exchanges – so pack a doorstop! It’s also nice to have some home touches – maybe a rug, desk lamp, photographs – to make your room feel homely.
Freshers’ week can often feel like a complete overload, so creating a space that you feel is safe and homely will be crucial for when you need an escape from freshers fun. Make use of the day time events especially – do not overlook the society ‘give it a go’ sessions or some of the Student Union’s more relaxing activities. These sessions can often be better for getting to know people, as you are immediately united by shared interests. Don’t fret if you don’t immediately get involved in the SU – there will be endless opportunities to get stuck in at a later date. Similarly, do not be intimidated by societies that seem like you need to have done it before to get involved. Every society in the SU is very welcoming to complete novices, and some – such as Quidditch – only have beginners in the first year. Some of the best times in your uni career may well play out in the societies you join.
It can be difficult to adjust after freshers’ week once the lectures start coming and the deadlines loom in the distance. The excitement of the first week means you’re probably too busy to do much thinking, but once the next few weeks start, things like homesickness and exhaustion, as well as freshers’ flu, can become real problems. However – it is important to remember these feelings will be completely normal and more or less universal across your peers. I’d absolutely recommend maintaining a good diet and exercise – even if just walking to lectures – as this will stop your body turning on you. Also, if things get tough, do not be afraid to talk to your academic department or staff in halls. These people are there to help you and will know exactly what you’re going through. Despite what some may have you believe, you’re not ‘doing uni wrong’ if you’re not having an amazing time, 100% of the time. Like anything in life, there are ups and downs. Enjoy the ups, but make sure to ask for help if you’re struggling during the downs.
Halls life is, for most, a completely new experience. Your new environment will shape your next few years and may well forge the friendships that sustain you throughout the rest of your life. I was terrified driving down the M4 in my mum’s heavy-laden car – but the fear was completely misplaced. It will be ok.”
Rosie and Kaylan (3rd year – History and Biochemistry)
Current students Rosie and Kaylan, share their packing recommendations for Bristol!
Congratulations on securing your place at the University of Bristol. The countdown is now on until you join us! We’re really looking forward to welcoming you very soon.
No doubt you’re full of questions as you start out on this new, exciting chapter. Well, you’re in the right place. This is the first of a series of weekly blog posts to help answer some of the questions you may have about preparing for your arrival in September and beyond.
Current third year students, Rosie and Kaylan, share their tips on where to find further information.
Undergraduates – look out for your Welcome pack in the post, similar to the one above. Postgraduate students – you’ll receive your welcome guide on arrival, either a printed version or via an online link provided by your Faculty. You can also expect to receive an email or two from us in the next few weeks updating you on all the important things to remember.
Official Bristol University Freshers 2019 Facebook group
You may have already joined the Official Bristol University Freshers 2019 Facebook group. We’ve joined forces with Bristol Students’ Union to host this group so it’s definitely worth joining to find out about the big events taking place and start meeting people. Watch out for unofficial Facebook groups and events set up by external organisations. Bristol SU is the only ticket seller for the official Welcome Week programme. You can find out more about this here.
Many students choose to get involved with our Peer mentoring scheme. A peer mentor is a current student usually studying a similar subject to you, who can help you to settle in to University. You can ask them any questions you may have about your course or about university life in general.
Don’t forget that all new students are in exactly the same boat as you are, so asking questions and making links with fellow new students, may help to calm those nerves.
Welcome Week will be taking place from 23 – 27 September and we’d encourage you to get involved in as many activities and events as possible. It’s a great way to start finding your way around campus, meet new people and settle into your new home and the vibrant city of Bristol. You’ll see lots more about Welcome Week in the coming weeks including the University Welcome Ceremony, held in the iconic Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building. The University will welcome you more formally and introduce you to what it really means to be a student here.
Next week’s blog…
Recent graduate Cameron (Politics and International Relations, 2019) will be sharing how he felt about moving into Halls plus more around accommodation.
University life is full of ups and downs. To help manage these stresses and strains it’s important to be aware of your physical, emotional and mental health and take active steps to look after your wellbeing.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from 13 – 19 May, a good opportunity to think about how you’re feeling and look at what you can do to look after yourself.
Connect – with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. These relationships can help you to feel happier and safer. Talking about the way you feel with someone you know and trust can ease the pressure. Even if they can’t help, just being listened to is a positive step. In return, if you’re caring and supportive to others you might be making a big difference, simply by listening.
The Bristol SU Living Room is a great place to relax and unwind and there’s a weekly programme of events open to everyone. They’re completely unobtrusive, so if it’s not your thing, you can just come along and chill or have a game of foosball or ping pong.
If you’d prefer, there are lots of people to talk to at the university or via our resources, from student welfare support, to peer support at the Big White Wall and Just Ask – the Bristol SU’s advice and support service. Visit the ‘Where to get help’ page for more information about the support available to you.
If you’d like to share your thoughts on how we can continue to support the wellbeing of our student community, we’d welcome your input in the Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey. You don’t need to have experienced mental health issues to take part. It takes about 15 minutes and is entirely anonymous.
Recent graduate and netball superstar, Eboni Beckford-Chambers, shares the benefits of keeping active and why extra-curricular activities will enrich your life.
You don’t need to be a high performance athlete to benefit from staying active, even just a gentle stroll will help; all activity is clinically-proven to improve mental health.
During the summer term (29 April – 15 June), all B:Active Campus sessions on the timetable are completely free so if you haven’t already, why not check out what’s on offer? There are plenty of B:Active initiatives that don’t take up a lot of time or require a membership, specialist equipment, or commitment to training sessions, so do have a look. There’s also the B:Active Healthy Minds programme – tailored to helping students who are experiencing mental health difficulties – which is well worth looking into.
As Eboni says…
“You just need to seek out what it is you want to do, what you can fall in love with, and roll with it.”
Balance study and leisure activities
At this busy time of year, help to maintain a healthy frame of mind by sleeping and eating well, taking regular breaks away from your screen or desk and making time for yourself. Doing something you enjoy can improve your self-confidence and lift your spirits; whether it’s cooking, seeing friends, doing something creative or learning something new. Helping someone else, through volunteering for example, or setting yourself a realistic challenge can help you to feel positive about yourself too.
If you like the theatre, honorary graduate Jonny Benjamin will be performing ‘Stranger on the Bridge‘ – an inspiring tale of human kindness, mental illness and redemption. See this moving portrayal of one man’s determination to find the Good Samaritan who changed his life at the Tobacco Factory, 14 – 18 May.
Thank you for your interest in our competition to win the chance to join us at our inaugural Alumni Awards Gala Dinner. The competition is now closed and we’re busy judging the fantastic entries.
For the first year ever, the University of Bristol is hosting an Alumni Awards Gala Dinner. This prestigious event will take place at the Mansion House in London on Tuesday 12 March. Three lucky winners will have the chance to attend the event and bring along a fellow University of Bristol student to share the fun.
The prize includes a champagne reception followed by a three-course dinner alongside many high-profile alumni. Sir David Attenborough will receive the Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement Award on the night.
There will also be a performance by the University of Bristol Gospel Choir to enjoy and coach travel to and from Bristol will be arranged for you.
For your chance of winning, simply enter the competition via the link below and answer this simple question:
Which three words sum up what it means to you to be a Bristol student?
Explain your choice of words in 50 words or less.
Enter online here
The closing date for the competition is Friday 15 February at 5 pm and winners will be notified by the end of February. We look forward to reading your entries.
Terms and Conditions
1. This competition is run by the University of Bristol and open to all students aged 18 or over and registered at the University of Bristol until 31 March 2019.
2. The competition is free to enter, and no purchase is necessary.
3. Winners must be available to travel to London for the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner on 12 March 2019.
4. Employees, their close relatives and anyone otherwise connected with the The University of Bristol or judging the competition will be exempt from entering the competition.
5. The prize is three pairs of tickets so six students in total may attend the event as a result of this competition. The three winners can choose one fellow University of Bristol student as their guest. All attendees must be aged 18 or over and registered at the University of Bristol until 31 March 2019.
6. Each ticket winner will receive an invitation to attend the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner on Tuesday 12 March 2019 at the Mansion House in London. The Alumni Awards Gala Dinner will include a champagne reception followed by a three-course dinner and a performance by the University of Bristol Gospel Choir to accompany the Award presentations. Students will be seated with their guest and travel arrangements will be made so they travel together to and from the event on Tuesday 12 March 2019.
7. The opening date for entries to the competition is 10 am on 6 February. The closing date for entries to the competition is 5 pm on 15 February 2019. Any entries received after this time will not be accepted or considered.
8. To enter the competition, use the form above and submit three words that sum up what it means to you to be a Bristol Student. You are welcome but not obliged to support your submission with 50 words or less explaining your choice of words. If you have any questions regarding your submission, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified.
10. The University of Bristol accepts no responsibility for entries not successfully completed due to technical fault or any kind including but not limited to technical malfunction, computer hardware or software failure, network or sever failure.
11. All entries received and verified by the University of Bristol will be judged by representatives from the Bristol Students’ Union and three winners will be selected. An independent adjudicator will be appointed by the University of Bristol to also judge the competition.
12. The three winners will be notified by email (using the e-mail address provided at entry) by the end of February 2019. We are not able to make contact with the unsuccessful entries on this occasion.
13. If a winner or winners cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 48 hours of notification, the winner’s prize will be forfeited, and The University of Bristol will be entitled to select another winner/s in accordance with the process described above.
14. Winners must attend a briefing prior to the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner when full travel arrangements will be advised. The University of Bristol will notify the winners when the briefing will take place. Attending the briefing is a mandatory requirement in order to attend the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner.
15. The University of Bristol’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.
16. By entering this competition, participants are deemed to have accepted and agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions upon entry. The University of Bristol reserves the right to refuse entry or refuse to award the prize to anyone in breach of these terms and conditions.
17. All Competition entries and any accompanying material submitted to the University of Bristol will become the property of the University of Bristol on receipt and will not be returned. By submitting your competition entry and any accompanying material, you agree to: (a)assign to the University of Bristol all your intellectual property rights with full title guarantee; and (b) waive all moral rights.
18. By submitting your entry, you acknowledge that the University of Bristol may use your comments and quotes for marketing and editorial purposes of the University worldwide, without restriction and in any format. The purpose of such materials is to include, without limitation, undergraduate and postgraduate prospectuses, the international guide, the University website, University social media accounts and University publications including matters relating to the University’s marketing and editorial functions. We reserve the right to make minor editorial or grammatical changes to your submission, but we will not materially alter the substance of your submission.
19. Winners will be interviewed and filmed at the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner and any video footage will remain the property of the University of Bristol who may use any film content for marketing and editorial purposes of the University worldwide, without restriction and in any format. The purpose of such materials is to include, without limitation, undergraduate and postgraduate prospectuses, the international guide, the University website, and University publications including matters relating to the University’s marketing and editorial functions. We reserve the right to make minor editorial changes to your submission, but we will not materially alter the substance of your interview.
20. Any abusive or vulgar language will be disqualified and reported to the University of Bristol Secretaries Office.
21. The University of Bristol reserve the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice. Any changes will be effective immediately and the competition participants will be notified as soon as possible.
22. The University of Bristol is not responsible for changes to the event including changes to guest list or entertainment.
23. The prize is as stated, and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
24. The winners agree to the use of their/his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other participants to the competition will be used solely in accordance the University’s Data Protection Policy.
25. The University of Bristol reserves the right to cancel the competition if circumstances arise outside of its control.
26. This competition will be governed by English law and participants to the competition submit to the jurisdiction of the English courts.
If you’re staying in Bristol during the holidays, there’s still plenty going on including seasonal activities at the newly launched Bristol SU Living Room taking place from 17 – 20 December. You can also hear more about events taking place in the local area while the University is closed and meet other students who might be staying in Bristol during this time.
The holiday season is the perfect time to take a breather and unwind ahead of the New Year. You don’t need us to tell you about all the benefits of sport and activity; it’s well known how positive an effect it can have on your mental and physical wellbeing. For those staying in Bristol, the indoor sports centre will still be open part of the time together with the Students’ Health Service. You can find out about opening hours here.
Many of our services are still open while you’re away from your studies; even during the University closure dates we have study areas open and some of our services running. You can see the opening hours here.
We know that the festive season isn’t easy for everyone so if you want to talk to someone, you will be able to access support via our Residential Life Support Centre, open to all students for urgent issues, whether you live in Uni residences or not. There are also self-help tools to provide support, including Big White Wall.
While students are not officially back until 14 January, the University reopens on 3 January and we’ll be here for you if you have any questions. You can contact your Personal Tutor, speak to our Information Point and use the libraries and study areas.
From all of us at the University of Bristol, we wish you a restful break. Happy Holidays!
We’re a global community here at the University of Bristol. If you’d like to meet new friends, learn about different cultures and hear out about studying abroad, then keep a look out for events and activities organised by the Global Lounge Team.
Why not come along to their Festive Mingle events next week? You can find out about events taking place in the local area while the University is closed over the holidays and meet other students who might be staying in Bristol. There will also be free tea and coffee, snacks and plenty of festive cheer. It’s a great opportunity to learn about how the holidays are celebrated in many different cultures and share your own traditions with others. The Festive Mingle events are taking place in the Bristol SU Living Room (Senate House, 4th floor) between Monday 17 Dec – Thursday 20 Dec from 12 pm – 2 pm.
Don’t forget, there’s also a Facebook group which you can join to connect with other students and discover what to do in Bristol over the Christmas break. If you’d like to know more about which University buildings are open over the Christmas break and when, take a look here.