Happy 2022 & Welcome back!

Welcome back! We hope you had a refreshing and enjoyable break over the winter holidays. We’d also like to wish a very warm welcome to the new international students joining us this term – we’re delighted to welcome you to our University and amazing city, and hope you will enjoy your time here.

Keeping yourself safe

With increasing cases of Omicron COVID-19, we need to do all we can to keep ourselves and others safe. We encourage you to make sure your vaccinations are up to date as it’s the best way to keep yourself protected. Please also make sure you take a lateral flow test before returning to campus, and then continue to test twice a week, every week. You can access lateral flow tests via the NHS website and from Estates Assistant Lodges in University buildings. Don’t forget to record your results on the NHS website too.

You may have already heard that the UK Government has recently changed the rules around testing for COVID-19. Under the new rules, which take effect from next Tuesday 11 January, people without symptoms can start their isolation from the day of their positive lateral flow test and will not need a follow-up PCR to confirm.

The aim is to prevent prolonging isolation for people who may have been waiting for a confirmatory PCR result. You can read more about the isolation guidance on the government website.

Please remember to wear face coverings when inside all University buildings, including in teaching spaces, when walking around corridors, and if you have any in-person exams. Be aware that staff may remove their face covering when delivering teaching.

Assessment arrangements

For our returning students coming back to assessments, we wish you the very best of luck.  Please take a few minutes to read through our assessment support page and familiarise yourselves with relevant details about the exams and remember we have a range of study resources to help you. The SU has put some top tips together about looking after your wellbeing during assessments and you can also make use of our online wellbeing resources.

If you need medical support

We know that our hospitals are currently under a lot of pressure.
If you feel unwell and are not sure where you should go you could:

  • phone 111 for advice
  • visit your local pharmacy
  • make an appointment with your GP (local doctor).

If you have an injury and think you may need medical attention, but it doesn’t seem urgent, you might find going to a local Minor Injury Unit more helpful than going to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at the local hospital.

You should only phone 999 or attend the local A&E department in an emergency when you need urgent medical care that can’t wait.

For new international students, please visit our Students Health Service web pages for advice about registering with a GP (local doctor) and lots of useful information about looking after your health and where to go for help when you need it.

Things to do

If you are new to Bristol, there’s lots going on to help you settle in including Bristol Student Union’s  Refreshers events programme. Make sure you also visit the Welcome Lounge run by our friendly Global Lounge Team where you can meet other students as well as get advice and support to help you get started.  We also produce a regular newsletter for international students, so watch out for it in your University email account. You’ll find useful information to help you get used to the uni at our Student Services website.

If you’re planning a night out, it’s important to look out for one another as unfortunately, further incidences of spiking were reported before Christmas. Remember to follow the Bristol Rules to have fun and keep safe. Read the SU’s blog post about safety at night and find out what your elected officers are doing to support safer nights out.

We’d also like to remind you that you can now access your teaching timetable and loads of other useful information through the University of Bristol app. You can download it from the app stores, or update to the latest version if you have downloaded it previously.

Things to look forward to this term include:

  • Source cafés across campus offering tasty plant-based meals and snacks for ‘Veganuary’
  • Refreshers events programme  — 21 to 30 January
  • Time to Talk Day – 3 February. We’ll be planning some activity on starting conversations about positive mental health.
  • SU elections – nominations open between 1 to 23 February. Your chance to elect union officers, course and faculty representatives, network chairs and more.
  • 5K run at Coombe Dingle — 20 March
  • Climate Action Day — 29 April. Keep an eye on the SU website for further details.

We hope you have a happy and healthy spring term.

Getting to know our University Police Officer

University of Bristol PGCE graduate, Sian Harris, tells us more about her role as our Universtiy Police Officer and how it differs from Security Services.

Sian Harris, University Police Officer

Sian joined Avon and Somerset Police in 2005 and has spent her Police career to date in uniform, either as part of the 24/7 response teams or neighbourhood policing teams.

Tell us more about your work and what it involves?

I deal with a wide range of incidents – both those reported to me by the University such as drugs possession and criminal damage or burglary, and those reported by students and staff, for example bike thefts, assaults and harassment. I also act as a liaison between Avon and Somerset Police and the University.

I’m part of the neighbourhood policing team which means that I have responsibility for a designated community, in this case the University. My role doesn’t differ to any other neighbourhood officer.

There is no typical day here – there never is in policing – but I try to create a good mix between desk-based work (answering email/phone enquiries, updating crime reports …) and being out on patrol. I patrol both on foot and by car and will include both University buildings and Halls of Residence.

How would you explain the difference between your role and a Security Officer?

Although, I work very closely with the security team, and we often respond to jobs together/work together to tackle on-going issues, criminal investigations are my responsibility. I liaise with victims, interview suspects just as any other Police Officer would.

Our joint aim is to create a safe environment for students and staff. Security Services will often be your first point of contact. Their knowledge of the site and access to buildings will mean that they are often the best people to contact in the first instance. Just like police, the security team have an emergency and non-emergency number and as you’d expect, emergency calls will always be prioritised. Security Officers will then contact other services if required. If they identify that a crime has been committed, they will take details and preserve evidence and then pass it on to police to continue the investigation and deal with the offence – often this is me, but could also be other officers on duty in Bristol at the time.

We also both wear body worn cameras, although Security Services only started wearing these from January 2021 to further protect students and staff and reduce crime on campus.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

It’s definitely the variety. You never know what each day is going to bring. I’m up for the challenge and enjoy making a positive contribution to this diverse community.

Sian is based in the Security Services building at Royal Fort Lodge and happy to be contacted via phone or email to answer questions and offer advice. Please do get in touch with her if you need to:

Welcome to the University of Bristol  

 A welcome message from Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience Professor Sarah Purdy  and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education Professor Tansy Jessop

We hope that you’re all settling in well and enjoying your time in our wonderful city – whether you’re a new student or returning to Bristol. As your studies have begun, we wanted to check in and remind you of a few things to help you get the most out of your time here.

During your time with us, we highly recommend that you explore Bristol, including the different areas beyond Clifton and the central campus. Bristol has so much to offer – diverse food, art, music, as well as museums, parks and waterways. Make sure you visit the newly refurbished Senate House, including brand new bar, The Beckford, and the Bristol SU Loft, which are great places to relax, unwind and connect with other students. While you’re on campus, check out the brand-new meningitis research mural near the Biomedical Sciences Building which aims to motivate and inspire the public to join the fight against meningitis and remember to familiarise yourself with the symptoms.

We all know life can be challenging at times, so we offer a comprehensive range of wellbeing services and support if you need it, including self-help resources and access to specialist services where you can speak to staff. We’ve also put together a study support package to help you develop excellent online and in-person learning techniques. We also encourage you to actively use available teaching rooms on campus, which can also be found on this web page – see the ‘Find a live learning space’ button.

To keep our community safe, we ask you to wear a face covering when inside all campus buildings, including teaching spaces, unless you are exempt. This includes walking around corridors and generally moving around inside buildings. Find out more about how to keep safe on campus.

We also want everyone to have a fun and safe time when out and about in Bristol. So, make sure you look after each other on nights out. Check in with your friends and let them know where you’re going, plan how you’re getting home and keep an eye on your drink. Read our blog post for some useful resources to help make your night out safe .

We hope you enjoyed Welcome Week and finding out about the University and Students’ Union. Please take a few moments to fill in the SU Welcome Survey and share your feedback on Welcome Week, so we can continue to improve our welcome activities!

We hope you have an amazing term with us – we’re really looking forward to seeing everyone on campus this year and to enjoying University life together!

Best wishes,
Sarah and Tansy

Professor Sarah Purdy             Professor Tansy Jessop
Pro Vice-Chancellor                  Pro Vice-Chancellor
Student Experience                  Education

 

Staying safe on a night out

The legendary Bristol nightlife is coming back to life again! 

Bristol is a city that knows how to have fun so here are some useful resources to help make your fun night out a safe night out.

  • The city of Bristol want you to enjoy the nightlife to the max. Bristol City Council have recently launched Bristol Rules – a campaign to encourage us to stay safe, respect each other and call out inappropriate behaviour. Here are their helpful links and tips on how we can all help each other to have fun and stay safe in Bristol. 
  • Bristol city council have also joined forces with Avon and Somerset Police and Bristol city Centre BID to address the serious concerns around drink spiking. The Stop Spiking campaign provides helpful advice on how to recognise when drinks spiking may have occured, what to do if you think a drink has been spiked and where you can get support in Bristol. Find out more here.
  • Bristol Students Union have listed some practical tips on how to stay safe this Autumn. Check out their useful links on seeking support around drugs or alcohol.  
  • Our Security Serivces are always on hand to support on campus too. They operate 24/7/365 to help us learn, live and have fun in a safe and secure environment. Find out here how you can contact them and read their useful tips on personal safety. Point number one is to add the Security Control Room number (0117 9287848) and emergency number (0117 3311223) to your contacts on your phone.  
  • Did you know we also have our very own neighborhood police officer to support Security Services? Read our recent interview with Sian Harris who gives us an insight into the role she plays at the University
  • If you, or someone you know, experience unwanted actions or behaviour, the University has teams in place to listen and support you. Find out how you can report unacceptable behaviours and what support is available to you here.   

Don’t forget, look out for each other, plan how you’re getting home, keep an eye on your drink and remember to respect your neighbours. Have fun! 

 

Welcome Week Wrap up

To all new and returning students, a very warm welcome to you all!

It’s been brilliant to see students on campus again. Our first ever Welcome Village brought the festival vibe to Royal Fort gardens and Tyndall Avenue with activities including live music, food stalls, street performers, plus a very warm and friendly welcome from our student support and inclusion advisors. Highlights included free yoga classes from the Yoga Society, getting glitzy at the glitter bar, waffle fries and so much more.

Afternoon tea?

Students were treated to the quintessentially english fresh scones, cream and jam in the Global lounge, our dedicated meeting space bringing together students together from all over the world. The team and their student ambassadors couldn’t resist raising the ongoing debate…“What goes first on your scone – cream or jam?”

Bristol SU Welcome Fair

To top it all off, the Students Union Welcome Fair took place on the Downs on Friday and Saturday. New students had the opportunity to meet the enormous range of student groups and find out more about volunteering or joining a network. No doubt they bagged themselves a load of freebies and discounts too!

Time is ticking on and it’s already the end of your first week of teaching. Don’t forget we have a wide range of study support resources. Please remember that we expect and encourage you to wear face coverings when inside University buildings on campus to keep everyone as safe as possible.  

Have a great weekend!

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! 

Find your Support

Hi everyone! Khadija here, chair of the BME network, elected by BME students to represent BME students at a university and SU level.

Many students struggle with finding support, and in my role, I particularly find this as an issue for BME students, who often find it difficult to see how to access the university’s services. As such, I’ve become familiar with what is available, and have had some great discussions with the staff behind them already to incorporate the needs of all students, including those from racial and ethnic minorities! How to Find your Support:

1. Student Wellbeing Service

This is your first port of call if you’re struggling, and includes a range of services, from:

Student Wellbeing Advisors, who can help direct you to where you need to go.

TalkCampus app, giving you online peer-support any time of day and night.

– Self-help resources, including the FIKA Covid-19 support app, which is designed to help you learn practical mental and emotional fitness approaches which you can apply to your everyday life.

The Student Counselling Service, including a specific BAME Counselling service run by NILAARI, which the BME Network supported being expanded into the university last year.

– The uni are working with Bristol Drugs Project too and ‘The Drop’ harm reduction service. If you’re thinking about trying drugs or if drug use has become a problem, reach out via email thedrop@bdp.org.uk find them on Instagram above or call 0117 987 6000.

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Find your Balance

You’ve likely heard by now that uni is a great place to try new extracurricular activities and continue with the things that you’re passionate about. We’ve got you covered at Bristol with a huge array of options so that you can strike the right balance between your studies and making the most of being a Bristol student.

Due to COVID-19 you’ll see a lot of these events and activities have gone virtual this year. There’s still much to enjoy on campus and we’ve made some changes to enable you to get involved safely, such as adapting our spaces and enhanced hygiene measures.

Explore societies, volunteering & much more at the SU Welcome Fair

Held on 7 October 12 pm – 8 pm, the Official Bristol SU Welcome Fair is going virtual for 2020 with registration opening on Monday 14 September.

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Find your Community

You will have so many opportunities to immerse yourself in different cultures and groups whilst at Bristol. After all, you’re joining a community of nearly 25,000 students, so do give yourself time to explore what makes you feel happy and settled and give things a go!

Student experience

Andre joined us from Indonesia in 2018 to study a MSc in Education (Learning, Technology & Society). Here he shares his experience as an international student and his thoughts about building your community:

Photo of Andre

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