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

Hello,International Students

Hello, 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.

We also host lots of events and create opportunities for you to make friends, settle into life in the UK and have fun while at University.

We know you must have a lot of questions, so we’ve compiled this Welcome page filled with useful information for international and exchange students.

If you don’t find the answers you’re looking for below, you can learn more by viewing our Welcome homepage and looking at the University’s Welcome pages for more updates.


Meet Alice, your International Officer.

Alice is here to support all international students at Birmingham, including anyone on a year abroad. So if you have ideas, questions or just want to talk, email Alice or message her on social media.


FrequentlyAsked Questions

Travelling to the UK

Are you preparing to travel to the UK? Here’s some key information to help you plan your journey:

If you’re moving into university or partner accommodation, our official moving in weekend is 17th and 18th September, so you would need to arrive during this period.

If you will be moving into private housing or accommodation you will need to arrange your arrival with your accommodation provider or landlord.

View the University’s website for more information about moving into accommodation.

As per the current guidelines, you don’t need to take a Covid test before arriving in the UK. View the Gov.uk website to learn more.

If you have any further questions about travel and quarantine guidelines, please email Alice for support.

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:

  • Your passport and visa
  • All relevant travel documents
  • Confirmation of your arrival date / time
  • Some cash (but please do not to carry large amounts of money with you, you can access your bank later)
  • Directions to your accommodation
  • Bedding and towels
  • A face covering (please note this is not a legal requirement in the UK)
  • Medication 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:

You will need to collect your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit), when you arrive in the UK. You may need to collect it from the University, or even a local Post Office – please check your Visa application for instructions and details.

Furthermore, all international students, who require visas or immigration permissions to be in the UK, are required to complete a Right to Study check. 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 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. 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.

When you arrive in the UK, you may need to register with the police. You can learn all about how to do this, and when you should inform the Police about a change in your circumstances, on the University’s website.

Take a look at the Gov.uk website to get an idea of the average costs when living as a student or researcher in the UK.

As of July 2022 the University is planning to offer campus-based, in-person teaching. However, if for any reason you’re unable to receive in-person teaching, please contact your school to discuss this further.

Support and Advice

During your time at University, you may find yourself in need a little bit of support, whether this is relating to your studies, finances or to your general wellbeing. Explore support options below:

You can speak to the International Students’ Team (IST) at the University. They provide specialist visa support and can help with issues like immigration and adapting to life at 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 homesick2 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 housing and need some support with contracts and the moving process, speak to Guild Advice. They’ll do their best to help you or point you in the right direction.

Student Groups

A fantastic part of University life is making new friends and learning new skills! And a great way of doing this is by joining a student group.

The International Students’ Association is a student-led association at the Guild that represents and supports all International students at Birmingham. The ISA organises lots of social events, campaigns and is a great place to meet other international students.

From Bulgarian Society to Japan Soc, there are many cultural student groups representing countries all around the world. Explore our student groups today and get ready to meet your international student community.

Alongside our cultural groups, we also have a range of other societies and associations which explore a range of interests and hobbies. From art, to movies and even ballroom dance, there are so many groups to join.

As an exchange student there are a number of ways that you can socialise and stay connected with your student community, including:


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 shock is normal and that you will learn these new ‘rules’ and ‘customs’ in time. Learn more about dealing with culture shock.

Home sickness is a strong feeling of missing home. This is not a nice feeling, but by getting to know your new home, 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.

Conversations will be private and won’t be shared with anyone else.

Serious factors outside of your control which may affect your performance during your studies.



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