Birmingham is the UK’s ‘second city’, and is a melting pot of industry and culture. You can be in Central London in less than 2 hours, but also within easy reach of beautiful countryside and over 8,000 acres of parks and open spaces. Birmingham International airport is also on your doorstep.
Birmingham has a great selection museum and galleries to explore. Discover the rich history of the city and the inspiration for hit series Peaky Blinders, or J.R.R.Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings.
Birmingham is home to a number of universities and over 80,000 students. The University of Birmingham is recognised in the top 1% of universities across the world and has one of the largest international student communities in the UK, with 5000 students from 150 countries.
Shopping & food
The Bullring & Grand Central has been the city’s historic market centre since 1166. It has over 160 shops across three level. The bottom floor is one huge food hall, and the other floors have a massive selection of clothes shops. Perfect for student shopping!
On university campus there are plenty of options for food, drinks and snacks. And the city centre has more than 300 restaurants, cafes and bars in the city alone – plus hundreds more serving dozens of different world cuisines.
Take a look at our helpful hacks for a cheap and fun Halloween. Whether hosting a party in your student flat, or if you’re off out into town, we’ve got you covered:
Here’s a top 10 list of cheap costumes ideas that are perfect for any last-minute Halloween party invites. Our favourites are the light-up jellyfish hat and pop-art face paint!
These bin bag spiders webs are a great way to decorate your student flat. And these floating ghosts are fun to make with your housemates; all you need to do is drape cheesecloth over a balloon or Styrofoam ball using PVA glue.
Check out these delicious spider cupcakes which are super easy to rustle up in a student kitchen. And there’s a huge selection of spooky recipes here – we love the pumpkin hummus and slime bug cups.
Get creative and make creepy ice cubes. Simply add a spot of food colouring to water, or even a few gummy worms. This sherbet punch recipe is non-alcoholic and makes a great centrepiece to your Halloween refreshments table.
We host free on-site events for all residents at our accommodation sites. From Pancake Day, to Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Take a look at all the free fun you could be having when living with Universal Student Living!
Living in Bournemouth you have a seven-mile stretch of beach right on your doorstep. And it offers something for everyone. Enjoy long, blustery walks along the coastline. Relax and soak up the sun with your housemates. Or brave the waves and try surfing or paddle boarding. Mercury House is just a 10 minute stroll from the seafront.
Bournemouth is home to two universities. Bournemouth University has a large focus on employment after study, and every student is able to take a work placement. As a result, 93% of graduates from Bournemouth University were in work or further study within six months of graduating.
Mercury House is just a 10 minute walk from Bournemouth University’s Lansdowne campus. And its Talbot Campus is just 13 minutes’ by bus.
Bournemouth’s other university is Arts University Bournemouth, which is a specialist arts university offering courses in art, design, media and performance. It also has a high graduate employment rate of 98%. The university is only a short bus journey away from Mercury House.
Shopping & food
As a true student city, Bournemouth has all the shops, bars and restaurants your heart could desire! And convenience is key when living at Mercury House. Bournemouth’s high street shops and supermarkets – Primark, TK Maxx, H&M, Lidl, Tesco – are literally around the corner. So are all the essential student coffee shops and fast food chains such as Costa, McDonald’s and KFC.
It is permanently drummed in to us that volunteering while at Uni is a great way to ‘boost your CV’ but does it really work or is it just a way to fill space on your CV to look more interesting to the person reading it? Well from personal experience, it has 100% helped me land the job as a graduate in the field I wanted. That said, you can’t just do any old volunteering and expect it do the trick – you need to carefully pick something that helps you demonstrate a quality you might not get to shout about though studying or part time work. So how do you find the right experience for you?
Part time Sabbatical Officer
Ok so these are a lot less glamorous than the full time equivalents, but they can do wonders for the CV however some universities might have restrictions on who can apply for some of the posts. They range from LGBT and disabilities officers to things like Community Engagement and departmental specific positions.
Great if you are looking to shout about – management, executive work, policy or business experience
Being part of a larger group can make it easier to do some volunteering, most universities have a RAG (Raise and Give) week where lots of society get involved doing all kinds of things for charity. Alternatively there are often societies for causes already established who spend the year fundraising for there cause.
Great if you are looking to shout about – humanitarian issues, fundraising, your fun side
If you play a sport can level up your involvement by becoming part of the executive team that help keep the team/sport going thought the year, from being in charge of the transport for matches, organising the finances to washing the team kits there are loads of positions available and people to supply you doing it.
Great if you are looking to shout about – teamwork, leadership, time management, fitness
Writing for your student paper can be a great way to get in to some cool places (I once got free tickets to a launch even that give me a free 3 piece tailored suit!) and meeting cool people, it can also be a great place to express views and creativity. Lots of universities also have Radio Stations and TV stations that are great to get involved with and loads of fun, its also a great way to show how confident (and charming) you are.
Great if you are looking to shout about – writing skills, copy writing, creativity, journalism, confidence
Academic Rep/ Course Rep
Always a staple in universities these reps can help shape your course and degree. They may not be taken very seriously by students but for the right subjects they can give a good indication about your dedication to the subject you study and the industry as a whole.
Great if you are looking to shout about – dedication to your subject, team work
Not in Uni
Travel the world
If you don’t think you can spend some time every week volunteering then maybe this is the answer for you. The down side is it often costs money to get the flights and visas sorted. There are some amazing opportunities from teach children to working with fluffy (and not so fluffy) animals! Check out https://www.gap360.com/ for more info!
Great if you are looking to shout about – traveling, humanitarian issues, environmental issues, adventure
Work with the elderly/young
Mentoring is always super rewarding, be that working with children in a school to help them realise their potential or helping the older generation with anything from their weekly shopping to getting online. There maybe some red tape to get thought before you can do this – but companies, schools and charities are always looking for students to get involved.
Great if you are looking to shout about – Your kindness, humanitarian issues, teaching/mentoring, heath care
Get busy with your Hands
Help redecorate a community hall, assist in teaching a free class, get involved in local art projects. If you want to show you can do something really different from your degree – maybe you have a skill or hobby you can share with people. Check out for literally thousands of different opportunities all over the country https://do-it.org/
Great if you are looking to shout about – your great attitude, humanitarian issues, pretty much anything
Another one that doesn’t take much time, but has some pretty sweet benefits is festival volunteering. Work two days as a carpark attendant and get free entry in to the rest of the music festival. Perfect if you want to do something awesome with your time but can’t afford the £££ for a ticket to a kick ass event.
Great if you are looking to shout about – er… not sure. But its still cool!
This has become a bit of a dirty work in recent years as students (rightly so!) push back against companies who basically want free work from someone. But if you find the right one they can be great, just make sure you are getting a fair deal and the experience is worth the time. University career services can help you find the perfect internship/placement.
Great if you are looking to shout about – your knowledge, experience in the workplace, dedication
Get down with your Nerd self
Library and Museums may not sound very glamours but they can provide some of the most interesting and rewarding opportunities. From doing tours, teaching kids to read, or even learning more about local history there are some really cool things hidden in museum storage. This is guarantied to make people look twice at your CV as it fools people in to thinking you are a proper grown up! (seriously from experience this one is gold)
Great if you are looking to shout about – wider interests, local issues, humanitarian issues, how well read you are
Do you have strong political views, maybe you just feel strongly about one issue. Either way volunteering within a political party can be really rewarding and help shape the future of the country!You don’t even have to volunteer with one party, you could help out at your local council offices.
Great if you are looking to shout about – politics, humanitarian issues, business
1. White telephone boxes. Hull is sticking it to the man and fighting the BT monopoly on telecoms by having its own telephone company, Kingston Communications they also provided internet services in the area too.
2. Phillip Larkin wrote his poetry in the university library, and Nick Cave made a song about it.
3. Everything is cheap. Ridiculously cheap, you are going to feel much richer than friends that went to other Unis!
4. In Pearson Park there’s an exotic Victorian bird house and they have a giant lizard there and you can go and see it for free.
5. William Wilberforce, leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade, is from Hull. (That’s pretty cool in itself, but as an added bonus there’s now a fantastic pub called ‘Ye Old Black Boy’ dedicated to him.)
6. It’s the only place in the UK where uttering the phrase ‘I’ll meet you at the Land of Green Ginger’ actually has some basis in reality, and no-one will assume you’ve been taking something.*
7. There are still ‘Rag & Bone’ men who wander around with a horse and cart, shouting incomprehensible nonsense and collecting old fridges.
8. There’s an overnight ferry to Amsterdam.
9. It is home to the world’s most bitterly disappointing fantastic dinosaur museum and the amazing Deep -which is Known as ‘the world’s only submarium’ and it has penguins, it’s definitely worth a trip!
10. It has loads of amazing independent pubs, bars, coffee shops and clubs.
11. Buses are amazingly cheap and frequent, you can get a bus to literally anywhere in hull in about 15 minutes, and everyone gets them.
12. The Welly is so awesome that one day over 1000 people queued up outside and they had to call in the riot police in to make sure it was all okay. (It was)
13. There are no hills. Unless you study at the Scarborough campus – in which case get your walking boots out!
14. It has a rich history, and is home to the last remaining civilian bomb ruin. Due to it’s industry and location, it was the second most bombed city in the UK after London, and lost about 95% of its housing.
15. We have a Premier League football club.
16. Chip spice, everyone should try it, trust us! Perfect for a post clubbing snack or any meal during the day.
So you’ve gotten into the Uni and you’re coming to Canterbury! Canterbury is a great city, full of architecture, castles, churches, cathedrals. Canterbury is the epitome of what you think a city in England should look like.
Coming from a University of Kent student and now a five year Canterbury resident I am going to divulge the best places to eat in Canterbury!
The Thomas Ingoldsby
You’re a student, you have a limited budget but you don’t want to spend all of your University career eating cheap pasta in your flat every night. Sometimes you may want to go out, socialise and see what this city has to offer. What better place to go than a Wetherspoon! Believe it or not on a Friday and Saturday night The Thomas Ingoldsby is the place to be, especially for drinking as it’s so cheap and a place to go before you hit the night clubs!
The food is also good, I mean it’s not great but it’s Wetherspoon and you just paid £2.99 for Ham, Egg and Chips, what do you expect?
The Penny Theatre
The Penny Theatre is a gem; situated a 10 minute walk from Parham Student Village it’s a good place to eat and drink. The Penny Theatre have a discount night every Thursday where you can get drinks for £1.50 and don’t even get me started on the food. The Penny Theatre do a mac ‘n’ cheese burger. An 8oz beef burger, topped with a fried macaroni and cheese bite! They also have a rewards card, every purchase you make, you accumulate points to put towards food and drinks!
Pork & Co.
Situated a minute away from the Cathedral, Pork & Co is by far the best pulled pork sandwich you will ever eat in your life! For a mere £5 their pulled pork rolls are great value for money. A generous serving of pulled pork, your choice of topping whether it be salad or coleslaw, a choice of sauce and even crackling. This will be the best £5 you ever spend!
If you can say no to an American style pancake then I am sorry to say that you are in the minority. Chambers serves a mountain of thick pancakes with quite possibly any topping you can think of. You can order sweet pancakes, savoury pancakes and they even serve pancakes with their full English breakfasts!
Always an easy option: Canterbury has three different branches, each open until the early hours of the morning, all located in Canterbury city centre. Cheap, cheerful and always giving out discount voucher booklets.
There are hundreds of lists out there (including ours!) telling you what you DO need to bring to uni, but what about the stuff you don’t? We asked some of our students to tell us the things they arrived to uni with that they never needed!
Pens are given out by every company and stall at freshers fair, I haven’t brought a pen in 4 years and never ran out or didn’t have one. Same applies to key-rings, lanyards and tote bags!
A dressing gown is nice at home but really you are not going to use it while at uni, PJ bottoms are great and you will team that up with a free t-shirt – if you are cold you will add a hoodie on top. Even the most glamorous girls in class rock the baggy pyjamas and hoodie look in their own rooms.
Corkscrew bottle opener combo. It’s unlikely you will buy wine that has a cork in it- and most can openers have a bottle opener.
An ironing board takes up space and if you are anything like the students I know it will still be wrapped in the cellophane when you move out after graduation! Learn to avoid Ironing by hanging clothes wet, and if you really have a compulsion to iron get a table top board to just use a table with a clean towel over it.
TBH you dont need the iron either, unless you are a super neat freak (I lived with one in first year, he even ironed his socks every Sunday afternoon in the kitchen – weird!) hang clothes up or just embrace the wrinkles.
Still on the washing theme you dont need a Laundry Basket/Bin either – they take up valuable space, and a reusable bag (think Ikea or sports direct) does the same job and is MUCH easier to walk to the laundrette with!
Full 4/5 people sets of crockery sound like a good idea- but it’s not often then you will be feeding more than 1 extra person and if you are just ask people to bring a plate! Also it’s really easy to cope with 2 bowls and 2 large plates – it means you wash up more and have more space in the cupboard for food!
Glasses are like fragile mugs with no handles… Think about that. They take up space and break way to easy, they also get borrowed more than anything else in the kitchen. Save some cash and ‘borrow’ some from the local SU after a night out- they expect student to do this- I haven’t brought a glass since moving in but still have 4 pint glasses!
Egg cup, seriously you are never going to use this unless you really REALLY love boiled eggs and if you do a shot glass works just as well.
Printers are always a big debate, but we really don’t think you need one that much, all notes from class are online, you submit all work online so no need to print. For the amount you are actually going to need it its easier to get it printed at the uni library.
Everyone loves pizza, its a fact. But a pizza slicer? Difficult to clean, and will be borrowed by everyone in the flat. Just use a knife or scissors!
Have you been told to bring something to Uni that was utterly useless? Let us know!
We had a chat with one of our international students and asked her what she thought of moving and living in the UK.
Many people think that being an international student is cool: that everyone is automatically interested in your culture, cuisine and wants to be friends with you. But what happens when you come from a poor (and not very liked) country?
My name is Anna and I am from Romania. I am currently going into my third year, studying International Relations and Security Studies at University. Coming to the UK was not planned, my parents didn`t really have the means to support me here, so as most future students in Romania, my main choice of university was the medical school. Preparations, tutoring classes and exams were my main thoughts during my last year of high school. Until one day when I was presented with the option of studying abroad, in a country where I wouldn`t have to pay university fees.
After discussing this option with my parents, we decided to ask for the help of a consultant company. My dad called them, and after the first meeting, I knew everything it was to know about studying in the UK! I was accepted in all five universities I applied for, I made my choice and was on my way to University!
Soon after my summer holiday ended, I was on my flight to the UK (both my parents found jobs here in healthcare in order to support me in uni). The first day here was not particularly exciting, I got lost on the train from London, I had to change five times just to get here and when finally at the destination, I couldnt find the building I was going to live in. But despite my slow and unlucky start in this country, I found the people to be extremely polite, friendly and calm.
Of course, what baffled me at fist was the cultural difference between my country and UK, which is huge. Not only the people here are nicer, more polite, but they are also less ‘judgy’, more respectful and willing to help you when you need it. I remember that when I first came here, everyone was so friendly to me that I almost found it suspicious. Soon enough I also found their ‘weird’ side. The thing that confused me most was the fact that everyone calls everyone ‘love’. The first time I had an appointment with the bank to open an account, the adviser there called me ‘love’. All I could think was ‘ What is wrong with this guy?’ . They also tend to have a weird and different definition for the meals of the day. Some people say ‘tea’ instead of ‘dinner’ and ‘dinner’ instead of ‘lunch’. They also have words like ‘lad’ and ‘lass’ or they pronounce phrases like ‘me broley’ instead of ‘my umbrella’ .
To be honest, this is mostly a nice country with nice people, but there were of course times when, because I am Romanian, people automatically thought I was a gypsy or that I came here to claim benefits. And some of them look even more surprised when they find out that both my parents are living and working here as well. But, I guess that every basket has its rotten apples.
Overall, being an international student is excellent, you get to see the world from a different angle, you become more open- minded and you meet a lot of great people. It is an amazing experience, and despite the fact that I sometimes regret not becoming a life saver(doctor), I will never regret coming here.
Being a prospective student can be both exciting and stressful, especially when you are about to move to a different city or even country. Not only do you not know much about the area, but it can also be quite difficult to find information about it, thats relevant to students. But help is at hand! We have created a Bradford guide for prospective students, which will tell you everything you need to know about the city.
In Bradford the most used and affordable means of transportation is the Free City Bus. And as the name says, it is free- for everyone. There are bus stations for it all around Bradford city centre, where it stops every ten minutes. The University of Bradford is one of the stations, for those who live far from it.
Also, the students from School of Management don`t have to worry about their transport there because the university provides a bus, leaving every 30 minutes from the University gym, which is at the top of the main campus.
If you want to take a trip to the surrounding areas, you have two choices: the train or the bus. In Bradford there are two train stations: Forster Square and Interchange and the tickets can be purchased on the National Rail website.
Buses that go to the surrounding areas of Bradford, you can look them up here: Metro Bus
For long distance travels, you can either go by train or use one of the cheap coach services. These are National Express and Megabus.
For short-distance travelling, you can use one of the local taxi companies. The fares usually start at £2.50 a mile and the most you will pay to get across the city centre is £5. Its always best to call a cab rather than flag one down as they are normally cheaper!
Bradford might not be a huge shopping city, but there are a few options you can choose from. If you want to go shopping for food, the places you might consider are ASDA , Tesco, Sainsburys , Morrisons Lidl and Aldi. All of which are on the free city bus route.
Boots and Superdrug are for health, beauty, skincare and hair products, pharmacy and prescriptions they are situated in the main shopping centre of the city.
For clothing, Bradford has all the main staples (like a primark and newlook) in the Kirgate Shopping Centre, but a new shopping mall is being built in Bradford, with plans for completion in December 2015 with even more options.
There is also a brand new development called Sunbridgewells Tunnels which is planned underground market right in the heart of Bradford’s historic trading quarter.
If all else fails hop on a train and head to Leeds for more shops than you could ever need!
Night life & Takeaways:
Bradford doesn’t have a huge range of nightclubs, but they are friendly and the relaxed atmosphere definitely compensates for it. The most popular nightclubs for students in Bradford are: Tokyo, Flares & Reflex, Love Apple and Tequila. Nor forgetting the Student Union Bar and nightclub. Wednesdays are fridays are the main student nights to go out, with drink offers tailored just for you!
If that isn’t enough for you there is the clubbing mecca that is Leeds, where there are literally 100’s of bars and clubs. A train to leeds is cheap enough and the first train back is about 5am in the morning (but if you can’t hack clubbing all night long a taxi costs about £25, which is pretty cheap when split between 4 people)
Chinese, Indian, Italian, Pakistani and even Greek- there is a takeaway for every taste (and every night of the week). Most of them have a delivery option, and the best place to find them is Just-Eat. However, a quick Google Search will show every takeaway in your area.
Bradford also has an IMAX cinema located at the National Media Museum they do a lot of midnight showings and all the latest IMAX blockbusters.
Bradford has a thriving Independent quarter (around North parade at the top end of the city shopping area) with many quirky shops, bars and restaurants its a great place to meet people and hang out.
Still, being in Bradford for three or more years requires more than the aforementioned, so if you feel adventurous, feel free to visit the most popular surrounding areas. Some of these are: Saltaire, Ilkley, Airedale, Keighley, Bingley which are only few minutes away by train. If these are not enough, you might want to visit some of the bigger cities such as Leeds, Manchester, York or Sheffield. All of which are only an hour or so away via train or bus!
Normally highlighted by a week long event, RAG is designed to raise money for charities locally and national. Some University’s have dedicated societies that run RAG campaigns all year, while others have it run by a committee from within the Student Union. Either way its great to get involved in; from silly fancy dress, posh dances and sponsored activities to scavenger hunts, skydiving and jailbreaks. RAG is always great fun and you are doing something for other people, so you get to enjoy that warm fuzzy feeling.
October the 31st or whatever weekend falls the closest is a great time to be a student! Who doesn’t love dressing up? There are always house/ flat parties as well as some of the best club nights of the year! It also falls at a great time in the University calender, its close to the start of the year so you are not broke and you can still get away with turning up to lectures with a hangover- also if you are a fresher then its a good chance to test out the new friendships or forge new ones with that guy dressed as a Zombie gorilla in the kebab shop at 3am!
Halloween is an event not to be missed!
Even if you are not in to sports, you will be during Varsity! As a University student your honour is at stake as you play sports games against another local(ish) universities over the course of a few days/week. It is different at every university, but traditionally around 12 sports are played at one of the the hosting university’s sports facilities. The wining team takes the Varsity Cup and gets to spend the next 12 months lording it over the rival university.
Running in them or just watching them play out, they can be a lot of fun! It also gives you a chance to practice being an ‘informed voter’ watching all the Hustings, speeches and campaigning on campus before you eventually pick the person with the best slogan/ costume. Its also a great time to play ‘election bingo’.
Freshers is great! There is nothing like it, and the good news is it gets better in your second year! You know the venues, you have friends and you know how to handle your drink! Nothing will be like your first year freshers it will always be a hazy glittery memory that can never be topped, but that doesn’t mean that you cant enjoy it every year!
What is there not to love about them?! It’s a second Sunday! An extra day to be hungover, cramming for an exam, writing an assignment, surfing the net or sleeping!
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