We understand the challenges of studying overseas, particularly at an early age. With live-in welfare staff and professional support for everything from your immigration needs to language training, our tailored support package delivers a comfortable transition to living and studying in the UK.
There is a wide range of support services available for you to ensure your student life runs smoothly and nothing stops you from making the most of your time here and reaching your full potential.
Arrival and welcome
As a Birmingham Foundation Academy student, you will attend our International Welcome and Registration, which is held just before the start of term. You will be guided through the process of settling in to ensure that you have the smoothest possible transition to University life.
A Welcome Team of students will be on hand to answer any questions you may have and offer the benefit of their experiences.
Welcome activities include
a free airport collection service
suitable, tailored social activities
a residential team-building weekend to meet your fellow BFA students
a Customer Service Manager in your accommodation to help you settle in
assistance with administrative formalities such as opening a bank account, registering with the University and registering with the police (where necessary).
Full details of 'Welcome, International and Registration' will be sent to you before the start of your BFA programme.
At Birmingham we recognise that the experience of studying in the UK is enhanced and enriched by the cultural experience of living in a new country and culture.
We offer countless ways for you to pursue your hobbies and interests or become involved in a completely new social, sporting or cultural activity. Not only will you have the opportunity to gain new skills, you will improve your fluency in English and make friends with people from Birmingham, across the UK and around the world.
You will have full access to the social opportunities offered by the Guild of Students. In addition, the International Support Officer will arrange suitable social events and you will have the opportunity to take day trips to places of interest throughout the UK, including Warwick Castle, London, Cambridge and Oxford.
Our International Students Advisory Service (ISAS) advisors are happy to give immigration advice and services on behalf of the University and are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).
Once you have been accepted on to the Foundation Academy programme and have been issued with your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), our International Students Advisory Service (ISAS)will contact you to offer support with the visa application process.
ISAS advisors can offer guidance on the following general matters:
Applying for Entry Clearance as a Student visitor, Tier 4 Student or Student Dependant
Applying for an extension of Leave to Remain as a Student or Student Dependant
Applying to switch your visa from your previous sponsor to the University of Birmingham sponsorship
Submitting applications for extension of leave to Remain as a Student or Student Dependant.
Immigration implications of taking a leave of absence from your studies or changing course or mode of study
Changing your immigration status
Working during your studies and schemes for work after study
Applying for Entry Clearance as a General Visitor for friends/relatives to visit during your studies
If you have a complicated, out of time (expired) or visa refusal in student categories (you should let us know immediately if you are having problems with your Entry Clearance application or it is refused)
You can go to the visa information pages on the ISAS websitefor further information and contact details for the ISAS advisors.
You can also check the requirements for entry to the UK with the British Council offices, British Embassy or British High Commission in your country or you can go the UK Border Agency website
The Guild of Students
The Guild of Studentsis central to student life at Birmingham. The Guild exists to make sure that you get the best from your time here – this includes representing you on issues that matter, involving you in University life, and offering support and opportunities for fun.
As a Birmingham Foundation Academy student you will automatically be a member of the Guild. The Guild is a great place to meet your friends, with open access study lounges and a café bar. It also contains shops, including a travel agent, computer repair shop, a University souvenir shop and a grocery store. Other services offered by the Guild include:
The Advice and Representation Centre (the ARC)
The ARCoffers impartial advice on housing, immigration, finance and welfare
Groups and societies
Joining a student groupis a great way to make friends and enjoy your life outside your studies – the Guild hosts around 200 groups and societies for you to choose from
The Guild offers a wide range of volunteeringopportunities that can enable you to meet new people and improve your employability skills
Please note:Students must provide evidence that they are 18 years and over to access the Guild of Students bar and nightclub.
Supporting your faith
St Francis Hall, the University chaplaincy, is a place where students of all faiths can meet for worship, seek advice or counselling from a chaplain, or obtain information on places of worship in the local area. Chaplains, who are ministers or religious representatives, are available every weekday during term time. There are over 20 full- and part-time chaplains from different faiths at the University. The chaplaincy is also home to a wide range of student-led faith-based groups and societies which organise their own events and social activities.
Support if you have a disability
We welcome applicants and students with disabilities and specific learning difficulties. Our Disability and Learning Support Servicewill liaise with the Foundation Academy and can arrange individual student consultations, advice and guidance on assistive technology, specialist tuition, equipment loans and much more
Students under the age of 18
The University meets its statutory obligations for students under UK legislation and has a Safeguarding Children and Young People Within the University policy (PDF - 84Kb).The University offers a special level of support for students under the age of 18. This is made possible by housing them together, in the same block of accommodation as the Residence Life Co-ordinator. Therefore, for all students who are under the age of 18 at the start of the course, accommodation in Mason is compulsory.