Your Birmingham experience

University is a personal experience and is made special by the people around you. Find out more below about the social aspects of university life, our plans for your arrival, and how you can make friends when you get here.

We are committed to making sure that you get the full university experience when you join us here at Birmingham. We are working in close partnership with our students' union, the Guild of Students, to make sure that from the day you arrive, you have the opportunity to take part, to make friends, and to make Birmingham your home.

When you arrive (Welcome)

Our infamous Birmingham ‘Welcome’ awaits you and this year it will be extended so that you can make the most of the range of exciting activities we have to offer and so that you receive a warm Birmingham welcome whenever you arrive. Welcome is our name for Freshers, but it’s about much more than getting your ID card…

We’ll be making the best use of our beautiful outdoor spaces for events and activities on campus. If you've been to an open day, you'll know what we mean! We’ll be offering an extensive and exciting programme of activity delivered on-campus and virtually. We’ll make sure that your arrival process is smooth, and where you’re moving into accommodation you’ll be able to book your own timeslot to arrive. Our flagship Welcome addresses delivered by our Vice-Chancellor will be delivered virtually, and there will also be a virtual Parents’ Welcome Address, giving parents and guardians a unique insight into university life and providing further information on the services and support available at Birmingham.

We expect that some social distancing measures will still be in effect and that’s where our brilliant campus comes into its own. As much as possible, we’ll be using open air sheltered zones and activities will include introductory campus tours, small group activities, wellbeing events, musical performances, information stands, and a place to pick up your Welcome goodies.

Social activities, community building and making friends are so important at Welcome, and to the positive experience our students have on campus each year. You will have various opportunities to meet new friends, course mates and housemates, both in-person and virtually.  The University and the Guild of Students are working in collaboration to organise a range of coordinated events and activities on campus to help you settle in, make new friends and find your way around. We’re also proud to have our own fine art gallery on campus, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, who will be offering a series of creative online events and workshops on topics including creative writing, dance and illustration.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be in regular communication with you on our latest plans, and you’ll be able to build your own programme of Welcome activity through our programme builder that we’ll share with you before you arrive. You can also be assured that our comprehensive range of tailored induction events, course briefings and Q&A sessions will be in place for your academic programme, as well as further information on our personal tutor system and the support available to you as a student here.

University of Birmingham campus tour

Making friends

Making friends is an exciting part of starting university, and we know it can be sometimes daunting meeting new people. Finding others with similar interests to you will help you find like-minded people to make friends with. We have a diverse student body at Birmingham, from all walks of life and from different backgrounds.

Our Guild of Students is home to over 400 student clubs and societies, so whether you are interested in baking, skydiving, singing, sports, politics or food - you are sure to find the perfect group for you. The Guild of Students will be open for business in September ready to welcome you as new students. You can join a student group at any point in the year and each group will host its own calendar of events and activities. We’ll make sure that you can explore the range of options available to you, through both online fairs and events taking place in the Guild of Students building on campus. We’ll be repeating some of these activities throughout the autumn term so that you have multiple opportunities to get involved too. Our Multi-Faith Chaplaincy also offers an inclusive space for prayer, meditation, relaxation and more. All students are welcome, whether you consider yourself to be religious or not.

The official Offer Holders Group on Facebook allows you to meet other students on your course, ask questions about Birmingham, chat to flatmates and discover everything you need to know about studying here. You can also connect with the University across a whole range of social media platforms, including Instagram and Twitter.

Join our Offer Holders Group on Facebook

Enjoying your city

Lockdown is slowly lifting across the UK, and as it does some locations across Birmingham and the West Midlands are starting to open up too. Shops, restaurants, bars and pubs are opening when it is safe for them to do so, as the city and the world starts to get back on its feet. Birmingham has a range of wonderful attractions where you can meet up with friends, and acres of green spaces waiting to be explored. Our campus is a green space, and just a mile away is Cannon Hill Park. Birmingham has more than 500 parks, so why not use the Find A Park tool here to see what we have on offer. As a city with hundreds of independent businesses, many have adapted swiftly to the current situation and as well as reopening their businesses, they are developing new ways of working to suit everyone's needs - so you'll still find street food stalls, arts markets, cocktails and more throughout the city.

Whilst you're waiting to explore the city, Visit Birmingham have put together a useful web page containing virtual tours, videos and more, to give you a taster of the things in the West Midlands that you'll soon be able to explore in-person. You can also explore our own city website content, including what our students think of the city and their hidden gems.

Explore Birmingham

Staying active

Sport and fitness is a great way to get more out of your experience at Birmingham. With two fitness facilities, our Sport & Fitness centre on campus and Tiverton Gym in Selly Oak, there’s a range of different memberships to suit everyone, whether you want to swim, play squash, try a new sport, or use the gym. Our team at Sport & Fitness are putting plans in place to adhere to social distancing guidelines to ensure you can work out safely, and achieve your fitness goals in a comfortable environment. Just some of the measures put in place to keep everyone safe and healthy include pre-booking sessions, multiple cleaning stations to keep equipment sanitised both before and after you use it, and a huge range of online classes and videos for those who prefer to work out at home. Keep an eye on the Sport & Fitness website for the latest details and news on when memberships go on sale.

Virtual memberships

For those who prefer to workout from home, for the first time we will be offering a Virtual Sport & Fitness membership option. Whilst we are working hard on getting this up and running, in the meantime you can visit our Virtual Sport & Fitness club Facebook page. Here, all you have to do is answer a few questions to be added to the group, and you’ll have access to live and pre-recorded classes such as Body Pump, Pilates and Body Attack, workouts from our expert instructors, blogs, recipes, and more - so you can be part of the Sport & Fitness community wherever you’re working out.

Student sport

We have 56 sports clubs at Birmingham, so you can discover a new sport or develop your skills in one you love. For those who have embraced outdoor exercise recently, we have an Athletics club, a social running club called ‘Cool Runnings’, Cycling, Triathlon, and Football, and although not all sports may be able to train and compete as usual straight away, clubs will be organising appropriate training sessions to enable teams to get back together. Check out the student club pages on the Sport & Fitness website for information about each sport, and stay tuned for details on how to join a club during Welcome.

Social sport

For those who don’t want to play competitive sport, UoB Sport & Fitness offers opportunities to discover a new sport in Just Play, and coached sessions through Social Sport and Try A Sport. You may also want to take part in a recreational, friendly league in Campus League. Whilst some sports like Netball and Basketball might not be able to kick off the autumn term as they normally would, a range of socially-distanced sessions - where you can meet new people and do relevant drills and training – will be available.

University Music

Each academic year, University Music provides music-making opportunities for up 2,000 students and members of the local community through a variety of ensembles and projects for choirs, orchestras, instrumental ensembles, jazz groups and those wishing to explore music creatively. For those starting in September 2020, students will continue making music together and can become virtual members of the Music Society, joining online for a number of virtual performances, workshops, and social events. Chamber music - both classical and with small jazz bands - will be the focus of the autumn term, with an enhanced level of professional coaching. As we approach spring and summer there will be a gradual increase in the size and scale of our ensembles as guidance around social distancing for musicians changes. This June, University Music’s annual Summer Festival of Music took place online, with students working work together and reaching audiences of over 8,000. Creative student projects will be at the heart of our music activity, and events will be designed to maintain our sense of community and to enable students to continue to inspire each other.