Arriving at University

Starting university is an exciting time. Not only will you be embarking on a new course, but you’ll be meeting new people, possibly be living in a new city and adapting to university life – all at once! With so many things going on, here’s just a few essentials for new undergraduate students to think about when joining university.

Food shopping

Amidst all the excitement and upheaval, you’d be surprised the number of students who forget to sort out the essentials – like food! Think about the staple items you’ll need to tide you over for the first week and plan what you’ll need so you don’t have to make several trips to the supermarket. Stick within your budget – if you start out as you mean to go on, you stand a better chance of not running out of money by the end of term. Above all, make sure you eat properly.

Not sure of what to stock up on or stuck for ideas of what to cook? Get some ideas here and here

Register with a doctor and dentist

There’s only one thing that’s worse than feeling ill or having a raging toothache, and that’s feeling ill or having toothache and not being registered with a doctor or dentist. Hopefully, you’ll not need to see them too often, but it’s essential that you sign up with them when you arrive. Many universities have practices they have links with, so you should check with them to find out more.

Birmingham City University students can find out more about their local doctors and dentists practices at:

Find out more about healthcare services at Birmingham City University here.

Getting around

To try and ease the culture shock of a new city, buy yourself a local street map – both a full and pocket sized one is a good idea so that the information can be both comprehensive and portable. Try and find out about public transport in the area before you arrive.

Use common sense when travelling around. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, maybe it would be a good idea for you to travel with friends until you have got your bearings. If you’re travelling by taxi, make sure you use a licensed taxi and, preferably, book one in advance with a reputable firm (especially when travelling at night). If you’re travelling by public transport familiarise yourself with stops and stations for services you may need to regularly use. Use your head and you’ll soon be travel savvy!

Travel links for Birmingham City University students:

  • Travel West Midlands – information about local bus services
  • Centro – buses, trains and metro services in and around Birmingham

Save money from the start

Students who join the National Union of Students (NUS) can often take advantage of discounts for a whole host of things – from meal deals and cinema tickets to cheaper clothes and sporting activities. Student discounts make money go further which is always a bonus! The Union also provide invaluable support and advice to their members with a wide range of aspects of student life. It costs nothing to join the NUS, so make the most of your student status and sign up with them.

Freshers’ Week!

Get involved in Fresher’s Week. Run by the Students’ Union (SU), it’s a great way of getting to meet other new students and to take part in a range of social activities designed to bring new students together. Amongst the freebies, flyers and seemingly endless promotions you’ll find at the fair, there are a wide range of sports clubs and societies that students can sign up to and many other activities which allow students to get involved with events linked to the SU. Fresher’s Week provides a great way to break the ice with new people and there’s always lots of free stuff for students to get their hands on.

More information about Birmingham City University’s Students’ Union can be found on their website at

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