Find your Home

Congratulations on securing your place at the University of Bristol! This is such an exciting time – many of you will be moving to a new city, making new connections and experiencing a new way of life.

Colourful houses
Clifton Wood houses

Moving into university accommodation for the first time can be daunting. But don’t worry, we’ve got lots of tips and resources to help you. Just remember, everyone is in the same situation as you! Watch SU Student Living Officer, Ruth share their experience of living in Goldney Hall and the benefits of living in university accommodation:

Living Circles

Whether you are in university owned or private rented accommodation, our Living Circles will help you to make connections with other students. For those in university residences, don’t forget you can meet with those living in your Circle online before arriving at Bristol. If you’re in private rented accommodation, you’ll be placed into virtual living circles who you can meet with online.

Events

There are also plenty of opportunities to make friends outside your circle! Bristol SU are hosting a range of virtual events, including Netflix watch parties, quizzes and Zoom chats. Check out their packed calendar here.

Make sure you also check out our new Welcome app and the myopportunites hub for more events and opportunities. Myopportunities will be available once you’re registered and have a university log in. Bookmark it now, ready for when registration opens on 7 September.

Advice

If you’re living in private rented accommodation, there’s lots of advice available on our website. Learn more about council tax, deposits and bills with the ‘Moving in’ module – it’ll only take a few minutes to read but could save you time and money later.

Not sure what to pack before the big move? Check out what Senior Resident, Salha has to say. She also gives you some tips on managing home sickness and making friends:

This video was recorded pre-COVID-19 so although some of the events she mentions may not be taking place physically this term, you’ll be able to meet new people through our Welcome events.

Your safety

We have put measures in place to ensure your safety in university accommodation. This means hand sanitisers at entrances and exits, one-way systems, maximum capacity for social areas and much more. Watch this short animation to learn more about our plans for you:

Although these measures are in place, it is important that you take responsibility and maintain social distancing with those outside your Living Circle. We understand that this is difficult, and you may want to visit others’ in their residences but unfortunately this isn’t possible right now. Remember, there are lots of green spaces around Bristol for you to meet friends outside at a distance.

Queen Square in Bristol
Queen Square

See you soon!

Many of you will have already received your offer for accommodation from our Accommodation Office (exciting!!) but don’t worry if you haven’t – there are a couple of stages of offers so yours should be coming via email soon.

We hope that you’re all excited to make the move to Bristol for your next adventure! Remember to download our app for the latest information and to find out more about the University and our support services.

Top tips for student life

Welcome Week has now passed, and we hope you are settling in well! Here are some top tips from your University community on how to manage student life using their own personal experiences.

Making friends…

Sarah Ashley, Marketing Officer (Postgraduate) – Welcome Week is a great time to meet people, have fun and explore your new city but don’t worry if you don’t immediately click with people. I didn’t meet the people I’m still friends with now (10 years after graduation) until I was almost at the end of my second year.

Annie Avery, Student Living Room Coordinator – Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’re having ‘the best time of your life’ give lots of opportunities a chance and you’ll find your people

Living in halls…

Robert Smart, Partnerships Manager – If in Halls, get to know your reception teams and staff. They are friendly and can make things happen, particular if you talk to them!

Paul Arnold , SU Head of Business Development – When you move into halls and are getting settled in to your room, pop your door open to let people know you want to say hi and make friends!

Jemma Harford, SU Student Opportunities Manager (Groups and Services) – Bring food to share, your new accommodation can be daunting but everyone loves food. Bring some homemade biscuits, local treats or cook a flat meal together that incorporates all of your favourite foods.

Studying…

Marton Balaz, Reader in Probability (Mathematics) – In my first weeks of studies I realized that difficult concepts settle. Material that seemed shockingly complicated in the first week became rather natural two weeks later. I just had to look back in my notes again. So, don’t panic! revisit difficult stuff regularly.

Susan Pettinger-Moores, Medicine Teaching and Learning Manager – Pop in and meet the admin team for your course – we don’t bite! We have lots of knowledge and really want to see students succeed.

Look after yourself..

Simon Gamble, Head of Study Skills – Don’t worry about trying to be perfect. It’s fine to get things wrong and it’s good to try new things, because that’s how we grow and learn.

Tom Wallis, SU Student Development Coordinator (Sports and Physical Activity). If you don’t immediately feel at home, work and broaden your horizons; your people and your place are somewhere and they’re waiting for you to find them.

Chloe Hogan, SU Events Coordinator – Don’t put too much pressure on yourself that “university is the best time of your life”. Enjoy each moment as it comes and don’t put pressure on yourself to do too much as this will burn you out!

Managing your time…

Elle Chilton-Knight, Undergraduate Student Administrator – Get everywhere 5 minutes early! You’ll get best pick of seats/equipment and it makes all the difference towards a calm, confident exterior. From there you’ll be chatting to people in no time!

Getting involved…

Helen Dury, Portfolio Marketing Manager – University is the perfect opportunity to try new things. I joined a ski club and competed around the country and met someone I’m still great friends with now, nearly 30 years later!

Philip Gravatt, SU Finance Assistant -My tip would be to look into all the societies and clubs available at the Students Union. They’re a fantastic way of learning something new and easing academic stress.

Matt Humberstone, SU Student Development Coordinator – Join a student group! For many students, their student group becomes the best part of their university experience.

Jenny Reeve, Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine – Take every opportunity to get involved with new activities, skills or social events that you have not had the chance to do before – there is such a vibrant and diverse student population, it is a great way to meet others who share your interests. There is so much more to University life than your academic program – have fun!

Explore the city..

Robbie Fox, Alumni Mentoring Coordinator – Explore this amazing city! I came here as a student , fell in love with the place and have been here ever since! This video is a nice example.

Linda Gerrard, Residential and Hospitality Services – Get your walking shoes on and get lost! Around most corners there is something to delight, amuse or inform.

Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, Undergraduate Education Officer – My one piece of advice for new students would be to not confine themselves to the University bubble. Get out and discover new places and cultures in the city – Easton, St Pauls, and Stokes Croft are the perfect places to start!

Lauren Wardle, Student Wellbeing Adviser – Explore the city as a whole, and get involved in hobbies and interests that make you ‘you’! You might find your interests lead to new friends, or even some job opportunities down the line.

Services available to you..

Knut Schroeder, Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer – Download our free Student Health App, which is listed on the NHS Apps Library. It’s been developed by the University of Bristol Students’ Health Service and University of Bristol students, and it’s packed with common-sense health advice that can make all the difference for your health and wellbeing. You can even customise the app for Bristol when you open it up for the first time.

Lauren Cole, Careers Information Advisers – Pop in to your Careers Service and get to know the support you can access. We can help you find and apply for part time work, internships and work experience, graduate roles, or start your own business!

Find Your Flatmates

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!

For any accommodation queries, contact the Accommodation Office.

See the new student webpages for lots of additional information about the items mentioned in this blog.

Next week’s blog…

Find Your Way will help you to feel more familiar with the campus with suggested places to explore and key locations to know about from the start!

 

What to pack for University 

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. 

student's feet below the word 'hello'

Here’s our list of things to pack: 

The essentials 

  • Registration guide and Welcome Week timetable so you know where you’re going 
  • 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 
  • Towel 
  • Clothes 
  • Bedding – you’d be surprised how many people forget a duvet cover or pillow case! 
  • Toiletries  
  • 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. 

 flat-lay of items to pack

Getting around 

Ready to study 

  • Notepad 
  • Pencil case – you can pick up loads of cool freebies, including stationery, at the Welcome Fair 
  • Laptop 
  • Headphones – because you don’t want to be that person blasting music on the bus 
  • Textbooks – our libraries are also a great resource and staff are happy to help you find what you need 

Your new community 

  • Biscuits are a great way to break the ice when you first move in 
  • Playing cards or board games 
  • Fancy dress 
  • SU wristband for entry into a host of events to help you get to know your neighbours and make friends 

student carrying a box into halls

A home away from home 

  • Photos of family and friends 
  • Clock – because you don’t want to miss that 9 am lecture! 
  • A cozy hoodie 
  • Calendar 
  • Lamp 

Need something else? 

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.