The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

Pre-sessional students

Welcome to Bristol! We hope you enjoy your time here and that your studies go smoothly. However, if you have any problems while you’re here Bristol SU is here to support you.

Our Just Ask advice service provides independent advice about anything to do with your studies. If you experience any health or personal problems which end up affecting your studies, we can explain the extenuating circumstances process and help you to fill in forms, etc. We can help make sure that you have all the support you need while you’re here. We can also give advice and support about plagiarism, academic appeals, changing course, and any other aspect of your relationship to the University.

Bristol SU has a full time International Officer, who is a student elected each year to represent the interests of international students. This year it is Julius Ogayo. Contact Julius if you are concerned about any issue that affects international students in particular, or if you have any ideas how the University can improve things for international students.

Bristol SU also has an International Students Network. This is free to join. The International Students Network is a place for international students to come together, socialise, share experiences and campaign.

Every year there are loads of international focussed events put on at Bristol SU. We have over 300 different societies, including many faith and culture societies as well as sports and all sorts of other interests. Have a look and see if there are any that appeal to you.

Events over the summer

There’s a lot going on in the summer in Bristol. Even though most students aren’t around there is plenty to do!

The Bristol International Students Centre (BISC) always has lots of events going on, including socials and trips to surrounding places of interest. They are also very welcoming and friendly and can really help you to settle in!

Bristol is an extremely vibrant city with lots going on for every taste. Visit Bristol is a good place to start to find out what is going on. There are so many events that it’s hard to know where to start! Some of the bigger ones include Bristol Pride, St Paul’s Carnival, Harbourside Festival, Balloon Fiesta, the Downs Festival.  Many events are free.

University support services

The University has a variety of support services that can be useful to students:

The Student Wellbeing Team can provide support to students who are struggling with their wellbeing. They can give you suggestions to improve your wellbeing and make sure you’re in touch with any specialist service that you might need.

Disability Services can advise students who are affected by disability and may need adjustments, or additional support or equipment. It can take time to get adjustments put in place, so get in touch with them as soon as you can if you think you would benefit from extra support.

The Study Skills Service provide online tutorials, group and one to one support on all kinds of study skills. It can always help to talk things through if you’re having difficulty. They can also offer Skype appointments.

If you’re living in a University residence, the Residential life team are available to help you within your accommodation. Talk to them if you’re having any problems in your hall, or if you’d like support on any issue as they can also signpost you to other services.

The Multifaith chaplaincy is a welcoming space where students of any faith (or none!) can gather in a supportive environment. There are lots of events going on, including regular lunches and socials.

Registering with a doctor

It is a very good idea to register with a doctor in the UK as soon as you can, because if you have any health problems you will then be able to book an appointment easily. If health problems affect your study you will need to provide medical evidence to the University so it is important to be registered with a doctor in the UK.

If you’re living within the University area, you will be able to register with the Student Health Service. There are also specialist services also available within the Student Health Service such as mental health provision, contraception, sexual health, travel services and more.

Your pre-sessional results

In early September you’ll receive your pre-sessional results. You will have needed to reach the standard required by the course that you’ve applied for.

If you don’t reach the standard required, you’ll no longer have a place at the University of Bristol. The University cannot be flexible on this, as they don’t want students to start a course when they haven’t got the language skills that are required. If you’re unable to understand, speak and write at the level needed then you’re going to be at a disadvantage throughout the course and more likely to fail units or face plagiarism concerns.

If you are in this situation there are a few options open to you:

  • Look into applying to other universities or courses in the UK that may have different language requirements.
  • The University’s Careers Service is available to all pre-sessional students and can give advice about different courses as well as potential employment or internship options.
  • You can register for another pre-sessional programme.
  • If you are in this position and you would like to talk to someone, contact the Wellbeing Service.

Transition to University

In September most students start arriving and the campus will suddenly feel very different! It’s an exciting time of year, and there will be a lot of things going on.

Welcome week starts on 23rd September and culminates in Bristol SU’s Welcome Fair. This is a large event that takes place on the Downs – you will be able to find out about all the societies that Bristol SU offers, as well as finding out about many local businesses and services. It’s free and available to all students.

Bristol SU also runs the Living Room. This is a space for students to relax on campus away from the pressures of academic life. Check the webpage for opening times and location.

You might also find this resource from the British Council really helpful. It's got lots of advice about preparing to live and study in the UK.

Starting your course

If you have any questions about your course, for example about your timetable, or about coursework or extenuating circumstances deadlines, you can ask at your school office.

You will be allocated a personal tutor who you can talk to about any academic worry that you might have. If you have more serious issues, or you find that your personal tutor is unable to help, each school also has a senior tutor who can give more in depth support.

Feeling lonely?

It can be overwhelming to arrive at University and sometimes students do feel isolated and alone. It’s totally normal to feel this way sometimes. If you find that you’re feeling like this there are various options available to you. Try to have a chat with someone about how you’re feeling – this could be another student on your course, a Wellbeing adviser, your personal or senior tutor. They might be able to suggest things that could help. There is so much going on at University that you should be able to find something that suits you and gets you out and about meeting people. Check the Bristol SU website for events coming up and look through the societies to see if anything appeals to you.

Keeping your language skills up

Even if you’ve passed the language requirement for your course, it’s important to keep your language skills up as you are going to need them for your assessment! CELFS run regular Academic Language and Literacy sessions which can provide training on the academic language which is specific to your subject area.