Welcome to Guild of Students Welcome to Guild of Students Welcome to Guild of Students Welcome to Guild of Students Welcome to Guild of Students

Welcome to Birmingham!

Hi, we’re your Guild of Students. We’re the Students’ Union at the University of Birmingham, and it’s our job to support you and represent you throughout your time at Birmingham.

This has been a very strange year and we know you must have a lot of questions - questions about the Guild, university life and what to expect this year. So we’ve compiled this International Welcome page to provide some answers.

If you don’t find the answers you’re looking for below, view our FAQs page for more information.

You can also view the University’s Welcome pages for more updates.

Wei-Lun says welcome!

Wei-Lun, your International Officer

Your Questions, Answered…

Travelling to the UK:

Covid-19 has really impacted travel. To help plan your journey to the UK, here's some information you may find useful:

The University has said that new and returning international students can choose to:

- Arrive at the start of semester as originally planned
- Start your studies online and arrive on campus at any time during first semester
- Study the whole first semester online

If you are required to self-isolate when you get to the UK, you can arrive between Saturday 5th and Monday 7th September. This will allow you to complete your 14 day self-isolation before Welcome Week starts on 21st September.

Visit the University’s website for regular updates and more details about arriving in the UK.

Still not sure when you should arrive in the UK? Check out the Accommodation homepage.

For advice and guidance on booking your travel, providing your journey details and being collected from the airport, please visit the University’s travel web pages.

As well as your clothes - there are a number of essential items that you need to bring, including:

- Confirmation of your arrival date / time
- Directions to your accommodation
- Your passport and visa
- Some money (but please do not to carry large amounts of cash with you)
- Bedding and towels
- A face covering (to protect yourself whilst travelling)
- Documents and personal details
- Medications and medical information

Keep these items safe and store all essential documents in your hand luggage so you can easily access them. Remember not to leave your baggage unattended during your journey.

These are just a few essentials, but be sure to check the University’s website for a full list of items to bring.

After you arrive in the UK:

Once you’ve arrived the UK, there are a number of things you will need to do. Here are some key actions to get you started:

Collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from the University and complete your Right to Study Check.

The Right to Study check must be completed by all international students who require visas or immigration permissions to be in the UK. This demonstrates you have the ‘right to study’ in the UK and to complete this process you will need to upload certain documents.

View all information about the Right to Study check and the documents that you will need to upload based on your visa.

It’s important to register with a local GP (General Practitioner), so you can receive healthcare whenever you need to. GPs provide both support with both mental and physical health, so it’s important to get registered so you can access the National Health Service (NHS)

You can find a local GP using the NHS’s ‘Find a GP’ tool, although some Doctors Surgeries only accept people who live in certain areas and can be full – so you may have to try more than one.

Learn more about registering with a Doctor.

View a full list of tasks to complete before you start University

There are so many things to see and do at Birmingham, so we have created a Road to Brum interactive map for you to follow! From finding your new flatmates, to ordering your TOTUM student discount card - follow these steps to get the best start to University life.

There are so many ways to get involved and make friends at the University of Birmingham. A great place to start is by learning about our student groups, societies and associations (there are more than 300 of them!)

Whether you’re interested in games, academics, volunteering, religion, food and drink, music or performance, you’re sure to find the perfect group to suit your interests.

A great group to check out is the International Students’ Association (ISA). The ISA is for international students and run by international students at the University, they organise social events so you can make new friends and settle into life at Birmingham.

Support and Advice:

You can speak to Guild Advice, they offer international support and will do their best to help or point you in the right direction. You can also speak to the International Students’ Team (IST) at the University.

Moving to another country can be daunting, the new surroundings and unfamiliar customs can lead to a feeling of culture shock1, which can be very confusing and frustrating. So, if you start to experience culture shock1 or feel homesick and want someone to talk to, get in touch with Guild Advice for a confidential3 one-to-one chat.

If you’re living in halls, you can also speak to your Student Mentors - they are a team of current students and who have been through it all themselves and will be happy to help!

If ever you’re struggling and need some academic support, Guild Advice are here to help. They offer confidential3 one-to-one advice on a range of subjects including: workload, revision tips, plagiarism, appeals and extenuating circumstances4.

If you’re worried about your finances or need some support with housing contracts and the moving process, speak to Guild Advice. They’ll do their best to help you or point you in the right direction.

Definitions:

1 Culture shock: is usually temporary, but is quite common among international students. When moving to another country you will notice differences in the way that things are done, this might be the food that’s eaten, the way people speak, the way you’re taught and many other aspects of life. While it might be difficult at first to process these changes, it’s important to remember that culture shock1 is normal and that you will learn these new ‘rules’ and ‘customs’ in time. Learn more about dealing with culture shock.

2 Home sickness: is a strong feeling of missing home. This is not a nice feeling, but by making friends, getting involved in the many activities at the University of Birmingham and seeking support when you need it - you can manage these feelings.

3 Confidential: Conversations will be private and won’t be shared with anyone else

4 Extenuating Circumstances: Serious factors outside of your control which may affect your performance during your studies