Before you arrive & Settling in

Whether you’re returning to Birmingham for your Postgraduate studies or you’re joining us from across the world, we can’t wait to meet you. Starting a new course, exploring a new city or settling in to a new country can be a little bit overwhelming. Here’s some handy information to help you get the best out of your University life.

WELCOME ACTIVITIES

Remember Freshers’ Week? How nervous you were to start university for the first time and meet all those new people? Just because you’ve been through higher education before doesn’t always mean that those nerves go away!

That’s why, alongside the academic welcome and induction activities provided by your department, we put on a huge range of activities and events during Welcome Week (the week before the start of term, starting 18th September) so make sure you arrive in time!

Alongside the normal things you would expect from Welcome Week, we’ve developed a specific Postgraduate Welcome Week with events that are open to postgraduates only so that you can find your community more easily. You’ll be able to find our full Postgraduate Welcome Week calendar here in the coming months.

The Guild also works with the Postgraduate and Mature Students’ Association to support their programme of welcome activities – take a look at their Facebook Group for full details of their plans.

We understand that not everyone starts in September so, if you’re a postgraduate researcher, the Graduate School also hold monthly inductions and welcome events throughout the academic year. Find out more about them here.

Welcome Week Bunting - Guild of Students

ACCOMODATION

The University offers dedicated postgraduate accommodation both in Pritchatts Park and Selly Oak. If you’re a first year international postgraduate, you’ll be guaranteed a place in University or partner accommodation through the Postgraduate Guarantee Scheme.  If you’re currently living in the UK, you can apply for a place but you are not guaranteed a room.

If you need to find a room, we can help! Guild Lettings, our very own lettings agent, can help you search for private rented accommodation. We only advertise properties from accredited landlords and do not charge any fees for finding you a house.

There is also a Facebook group run by the PGMSA where postgraduates can find others to live with or advertise their spare rooms.

Our Community Wardens have produced a guide to living in Selly Oak, a popular student area near the University. You can read it here. (LINK)

FUNDING

Studying a postgraduate degree can be a big financial commitment and it’s important to think about how you will fund both your tuition fees and your living costs during your studies.

If you’re studying for a taught postgraduate course, Postgraduate Loans of around £10,000 are available from the UK government. Find out more about the postgraduate loans here.  The University also has a database of scholarship and funding opportunities available for postgraduate students at Birmingham, though it’s important to remember that the availability of funding may vary across subject disciplines.

It’s also worth taking some time to understand your living costs during your Postgraduate studies, and to think about whether you’ll need to take on a part time job during your studies. Guild Jobs have hundreds of part-time vacancies available and can help with your job search!

Guild Advice can also offer you free, independent and confidential advice on funding related to your studies, whether you are a UK, EU or International student. Find out more about how they can help here.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

We’re so excited to welcome you to Birmingham as a postgraduate student! We hope that being part of the Guild of Students and studying in our beautiful city will be an exciting time for you – but we understand there may be some challenges along the way. Here are some things to remember as you prepare for life here at Birmingham:

International Student on Campus

Global Buddies

Global Buddies is a buddying scheme that supports International Students to settle in to life at the University of Birmingham and meet new friends from around the globe. Established students offer their time as buddies – who can help you meet others and make the most of University activities. The scheme also offers peer to peer support, regular social events and trips to local attractions. Find out more here.

Visa advice

The International Students’ Advisory Service can provide you with information on applying for your visa, including detailed advice on UKBA requirements. Find out more.

Registering with a doctor

Depending on your course of study or agreements with your country, you may be eligible for free healthcare through the National Health Service. If not, you will need to take out health insurance.

Once you arrive in the UK, you should register with a doctor and a dentist, so you can access healthcare as soon as you need it. You can ask for a female doctor if you prefer, and you’ll need to show your University enrolment letter. Find a local doctor or dentist here.

Help and support regarding mental health and sexual health services can be found on the Guild Advice website.

Opening a bank account

When you register for your course and collect your student ID card, you’ll receive a letter from the University to help you open a bank account. There are a number of high street banks available who can offer you a range of accounts to suit your needs. On campus, there is a Santander branch located in the Guild of Students and a Barclay’s branch in University centre.

UKCISA have developed a dedicated International Student Calculator to help you plan your budget whilst studying in the UK.