Student support

Student ambassador

Our wide range of support services are designed to give students the best possible experience during their time at Birmingham. If you do encounter difficulties in your studies or personal life, guidance and advice is made available through the welfare tutor.

Arrival and welcome

As a Foundation Pathways 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 Foundation students;
  • a Residential Advisor 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 Foundation programme. 

Social opportunities

At Birmingham, we recognise that you will want to make the most out of your time in the UK and to explore some of our cultural and historical landmarks.

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 250+ student clubs and societies 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.  

Immigration advice

Our International Students Team (IST) 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 Student Team (IST) 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 IST website for 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 Students is 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 International 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:

  • Guild Advice
    Guild Advice offers impartial advice on housing, immigration, finance and welfare
  • Groups and societies
    Joining a student group is a great way to make friends and enjoy your life outside your studies – the Guild hosts around 250 groups and societies for you to choose from
  • Volunteering
    The Guild offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities 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 Service will liaise with the BIA 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 offers a special level of support for students under the age of 18. If you will be under the age of 18 at the time of enrolment, please read our student requirements and safeguarding policy.

Minh Duc Do

From Vietnam

“The staff are really helpful and always ready to listen to your problems; moreover the teachers are funny, which makes classes interesting. There are many day trips around the UK to help us to get to know each other.”