Bristol is going to be your home for at least the next three years, and we may be pretty biased, but we think it’s one of the greatest places to be a student. There is so much on offer from both the University and the city as whole.
Live it up in the Living Room
Located on the fourth floor of Senate House, the SU Living Room is a space to relax and unwind. Look out for the Welcome Week events in the Living Room such as café crawls, meet-ups and gaming tournaments.
Give it a Go and get a wristband
From Monday 30 September – Sunday 13 October the SU will be running Give it a Go! – giving you the chance to try out different clubs, societies, networks and volunteering projects.
For those of you who enjoy nights out, nightclubs and neon – the SU has you covered! With purchase of your Welcome Week wristband you are guaranteed entry to three massive club nights as well as discounts in the Balloon Bar throughout Welcome Week and the whole of October.
International Welcome Lounge
Come and meet students from all around the world at our International Welcome Lounge. Check out our programme for the week.
The Welcome Lounge is also offering a Language Café taster session on 24 September where you’ll be able to help others practise your language (including English), and can also immerse yourself in another culture by learning a different language with native speakers.
Want to give back to the community, meet new people and visit new places? Try volunteering! It’s a great way to learn new skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership, as well as giving you the chance to try something that you may not have done before.
Bristol has all the perks of city life with wide open green spaces only a short distance away. The entire city is bursting with culture, flavours, music and opportunities to get involved. From the alternative Stokes Croft to the bustling Shopping Quarter to the tranquillity and nature at Leigh Woods – you will never be short of something to do.
Both this week’s posts are all about the extracurricular; things you can get involved with when you’re not studying. Getting the right balance between studying and other activities is important and will help you to get the most out of being a Bristol student.
Let’s Talk Sport
Sports are a great way to make new friends. There are over 60 sports club at the University of Bristol – from traditional team sports such as football, rugby and basketball – to the more unusual Quidditch, Korfball and Krav Maga. For those who enjoy non-team sports there is also a range of activities available including martial arts, archery and clay pigeon shooting.
“[During Welcome Week] was also the first time I met some of my best friends when I joined the women’s football club, something that ultimately made my university experience.”
– Amy Brook, Sport and Student Development Officer
If you enjoy fitness or just want to get to the point when Bristol hills won’t leave you breathless (don’t worry, you get used to the hills eventually), our Indoor Sports Centre is the perfect place for you. Located on Tyndall Avenue at the heart of the University campus, the Sports Centre is home to an open plan fitness suite, free weights, fitness studios and a double-court sports hall. Or if you’re a water baby, our swimming pool, located on Queens Road, is home to a variety of clubs such as water polo. You can even do lifesaving lessons as well as pay as you go swimming.
Get stuck in with societies and networks
University gives you the chance to meet new people, experience new things and learn about yourself. Bristol Students’ Union (SU) helps students run over 290 societies from A cappella all the way to the Vegetarian and Vegan Society. There is a society for everyone; and if you think there isn’t a group for you, set one up!
“…I got involved with quite a few societies through the SU and by the end of my degree I sat on 3 committees and made the best friends I could ask for. Starting at uni is really tough, and taking your time settling in and getting involved with everything on offer can really help you in your first couple of months.”
– Jason Palmer, Equality, Liberation & Access Officer
The Bristol SU offers networks too; these enable students to build communities and create change. For example, there is a Postgraduate Network which is a student-led initiative for all postgraduate students that gives you a chance to develop the Bristol postgrad community. There is also the PGR Hub which is run by Bristol Doctoral College, based in Senate House, where you can connect with fellow researchers from other parts of the University. You can find out more about what’s on offer at our Welcome Fair on the Downs on 27 September.
“I enjoyed the Welcome Week Fair because it gave me an opportunity to meet new people from all over the world and make new friends as well as to register with clubs and societies which I was interested in like African Caribbean Society, Debating Club, East African Society, and Bristol Model United Nations.”
– Julius Muga Ogayo, International Students Officer
If you want to find like-minded students before you move to Bristol and Welcome Week begins, you can also join our Freshers Facebook page.
Look out for our next post later this week with some more ideas of things to do beyond your studies.
We’re sure you’re starting to imagine yourself here on campus, wondering how you will find your way without getting lost don’t worry! This week we’ll be sharing lots of helpful tips on everything from getting your university email address to where to find your nearest supermarket.
Let’s talk about registration
You need to register before you can start your studies here at the University of Bristol and become part of our community. Registration is a two-part process which involves registering online and also registering in person when you arrive here at Bristol.
Online registration is open from the 4 – 14 September. You’ll need to upload a photograph of yourself by 14 September, so that your student card (UCard) can be ready for you to collect during your in-person registration. Once you have registered online you’ll have access to your student email address.
You should have received your Welcome Pack in the post by now – which includes a fold out map of Bristol. This will be useful in your first couple of weeks to familiarise yourself with the city. During Welcome Week, there’ll be an information tent on Tyndall Avenue and if you get lost, there are lots of friendly faces around campus ready to help.
Wills Memorial Building – At the top of Park Street. Your Welcome Ceremony will take place here during your first week. This is a celebratory ceremony were you’ll hear from Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady, and your Bristol SU Sabbatical Officers.
Beacon House – on the Clifton Triangle. This is a key study space for all students. You’ll find bookable group study rooms and a dedicated quiet space perfect during exam periods.
Bristol SU– on Queen’s Road in Clifton. You’ll find a bar, café, social spaces and, plenty of events to take part in from ticketed gigs to poetry reading session.
Senate House – on Tyndall Avenue. The home of the Bristol SU Living Room and Postgraduate Research Hub which run a variety of activities, during Welcome Week and throughout the year. This great student hub also offers a variety of study and relaxation space and even a food court to sit down and enjoy a tasty treat with friends.
Global Lounge – inside the Bristol SU, a pop-up hub for all students. Offering a range of activities to exchange cultural experiences, meet friends from around the world and be inspired to become global citizens.
Services to know about
Disability Services – Here you can gain confidential advice and information about you’re options for disability-related study and exam support.
Multifaith Chaplaincy– Join a thriving and supportive community at the Multifaith Chaplaincy on Woodland Road.
Student Information Point – at 5 Tyndall Avenue. You can visit Monday – Friday 9 am – 4 pm for advice on anything from academic support to money matters.
From grabbing a quick snack between lectures to doing you’re weekly food shop, Bristol will cater for your every need.
Balloon Bar– Based in the Students Union, serving great value, locally sourced food and drink – the ultimate student hangout.
Source Cafés – dotted around campus, often within University study spaces. Take a look at our Source Café map to find your closest one.
Supermarkets – We are lucky enough to be in the heart of the city with a variety of shops nearby – from Sainsbury’s in Clifton Down Shopping Centre, and Chinese supermarkets on Park Street, to local fruit and vegetable grocers on Gloucester Road. Take your pick!
Eating out – Bristol is extremely multicultural and caters for all. Whether you’re vegan or looking for halal options on the menu, there will be something for you. If you’re hungry to explore and try new things, in and around the city centre offers a great choice – with everything from Japanese to Jamaican cuisines.
Bristol UniBus Transport
Bristol is a great city to get around by bus. We even have our own bus service Bristol UniBus has two routes: U1 and U2.
If you’re an undergraduate student living in University-allocated accommodation, you will receive a bus pass for unlimited travel on the U1 service (and four other local services) to get you back and forth safely from campus to your halls. If you are a Vet School student, you will also receive a free bus pass to travel between the Clifton campus and Langford campus on the U2.
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.
You’ve found your way from your halls to Wills Memorial Building for your Welcome ceremony and now you think you have plenty of time before heading to the next event in your calendar. But even though you were at your School Office yesterday, you realise you went straight there from your hall and now have absolutely no idea how to get back there from Wills!
Have you left enough time? Is anyone else going there? Do you have time for a sandwich?? (the most important question!)
No need to panic – we’ve got you covered.
There are four helpdesks located in key areas about campus with friendly student helpers on hand to point you in the right direction. You’ll find them at:
Richmond Building (SU)
You’ll see them highlighted on your campus map which you can download, if you’ve lost yours in the excitement of the move, and opening times are listed below.
Over 150 staff members in our nine libraries are busy preparing for the arrival of the new students and looking forward to showing off their extensive resources, inspiring spaces and specialist services making all libraries accessible to everyone.
Boosting those brain cells doesn’t just mean work, work, work though. Jez Conolly, Head of Student Engagement at Library Services is keen to provide plenty of opportunities for students to relax and refresh so that precious time you commit to studying is even more effective.
‘We want to encourage users of our libraries to include regular breaks in their study patterns. Working constantly without breaks isn’t great for your productivity: when you’re tired and stressed, it can be hard to take information in or do your best work. So it’s really important to get into the habit of stepping away from the study desk and taking some time out.’
‘You’ll find a relaxation space on the first floor of the Arts and Social Sciences Library where you can ‘unplug’ for a while, plus in the Wills Library,we now have a ‘Library of Possibilities’ space with soft seating and a collection of more contemplative non-academic reading matter. This year we’re introducing new ‘take a break’ cards which will enable you to indicate to others when you’re on a break and when you will return to your desk. At especially busy and stressful times in the year we provide a range of enjoyable mindfulness activities designed to help you rebalance and relieve some of the revision pressure.’
The Library support team including, Jez Stein and Mary Lockwood, are also beavering away preparing for your arrival.
Library services and spaces are designed so that they’re accessible and inclusive wherever possible. There are study spaces available to suit your preferred learning style, featuring social learning spaces, collaborative group study rooms, low-distraction and silent study areas.
If you’re a part-time student, studying outside of Bristol, have a disability, dyslexia, or caring responsibilities, the Library Support team aim to provide a range of services to make sure the library is accessible to everyone. We can work with you to discuss any specific needs or requirements you might have in terms of study space or access to resources. Please feel free to arrange an appointment time or just drop in during office hours.
Library support is based in the Arts & Social Sciences Library.
Tel: +44 (0) 117 928 8502
Textphone users can call via typetalk: 18001 0017 928 8502
Bristol Students’ Union (SU) represents students, provides advice and guidance and put on a whole range of events for students to socialise and try new things.
We caught up with some of the Communications and Engagement team to find out how they’re preparing for Welcome Week 2018.
Jess Augarde is the SU’s Multimedia Designer and you’ll be seeing loads of her work around during Welcome Week.
‘I worked with a local illustrator to get the creative look for Welcome Week 2018 together and then spent a lot of time cutting out images in illustrator to make the cool graphics you’ll have seen on our social media already and will see when you get to Bristol. I loved working on the Welcome Guide and loved seeing a video from our printers of the guide rolling off the presses!
When it comes to Welcome Week, I love heading out to the events with my camera and always get some great photos, particularly at the Welcome Fair.’
Nicola Haydon, Communications Executive, works on the SU’s campaigns and content.
‘This year we’re collaborating with different societies on the films we’re screening each evening in the Balloon Bar, including a double bill organised by the Chinese Society. I love the Welcome
Fair, it’s a really nice atmosphere. It’s great to see what current students are doing and to see new students get excited about everything they can get involved with.
My advice for new students is to make the most of all the events. There really is something for everyone, whatever you’re interested in and it’s a great introduction to all the societies and activities available at Bristol.
We’re welcoming some big names to Bristol for our headline Club Tropicana event with Nick Grimshaw and Mistajam as well as plenty of local DJs to give you a flavour of Bristol’s night life.’ There are limited tickets available so snap yours up here!’
Bristol SU arrange a packed schedule of Welcome Week events; from club nights to plant potting, there’s something for everyone! Take a look at what’s on and get your tickets now.
And what about after Welcome Week? Your SU needs you!
Election nominations open during Welcome Week and they’re looking for first year course reps, JCR reps and NUS delegates. Find out more about these roles and how to stand for election at bristolsu.org.uk/elections.
I’m a seasoned Bristolian, so despite the fact that I have only just finished my first year at Bristol, I have a lot of Bristol experience to share with you to make sure you get the best experience in Bristol as you possibly can.
A little background on me
I just finished my first year studying Philosophy but I’m changing my degree and now I’m going into my first year studying Religion and Theology.
I’ve lived in Bristol for 19 years and am still not tired of it.
Today I’m going to share with you my Welcome Week experience.
University and clubbing are synonymous with each other, this might mean that you have to go out of your comfort zone but that’s okay! Hundreds of other people will be doing exactly the same thing. Last year, I mainly went to venues like Thekla and The Lanes. However, there’s loads of information online regarding the theme of each night so make sure that you have a look! I didn’t go out loads, and I still met some great friends.
Not a drinker?
I went to loads of events last year that don’t involve drink. For example, I went on a coffee shop crawl where instead of drinking beer, you drink coffee! There’s also loads of amazing food in Bristol, as a vegan I never struggle to find options which is obviously a plus. If you are unsure about what you can do, check out the SU’s guide to alternative and non-drinking events.
My welcome week peak (the good kind):
For me, as a Bristolian, the welcome ceremony was very special. I never thought that I would get into a Russell Group uni. In fact, I went to a below average secondary school/ sixth form combined and had my prom at the Marriot at the bottom of Park Street so, to be at this grand ceremony at the top of the big hill was very symbolic for me. I had to climb and fight to get into Bristol, just like you will need to climb and fight from getting to the bottom of Park Street to the top!
What I would change?
People always say that Welcome Week is your chance to really get involved, and that was a scary prospect for me. I suffer with a few different mental health difficulties so being a social butterfly is not second nature for me. But, your first week does not discriminate, there will be many other anxious people there and there will many people who want to say hello to you.
My one piece of advice is to be the person you want to be friends with. Also, don’t stress about making friends, it will happen but to be honest, the friends you make in Welcome Week might not be your uni-long best friends. So just relax and have a great week!
You’ve got six sets of Wilkinson’s basics coasters…but no shower gel. A suitcase of fancy dress options and only one extension cord. Moving into halls is an exciting time, so if you’re starting to think about what you need to bring to University, don’t worry about forgetting something important – we’ve got you covered.
Keep cup – you can get a discount at each of our Source cafés every time you use a reusable mug
Water bottle – keep hydrated in style and help save the planet by saying no to single-use plastics
Bedding – you’d be surprised how many people forget a duvet cover or pillow case!
Kitchen equipment – if you’re in self-catered accommodation you should bring a plate, bowl, cutlery, and pots and pans. It can be worth waiting until you arrive to see what your housemates have brought before buying smaller items like vegetable peelers or cheese graters; that way you’ll end up only with what you need.
There are plenty of shops nearby where you can pick up anything else that you need – including The Basket, found on the ground floor of the Students’ Union. You can also order moving-in packs for the kitchen, bathroom, or cleaning supplies.
Why not get a plant or poster to brighten up your room and make it your own? Share a photo of your space with us using #FindYourBristol and let us know the one thing that you’re not leaving home without.