Find out why Bristol is a brilliant choice for international students

Colourful houses line Bristol's streets

Colourful houses line Bristol's streets

Full of colourful houses on hilly streets, there’s character around every corner in Bristol. Not only is it vibrant in appearance, but also in culture — it’s the birthplace of acclaimed street artist Banksy and his works can be spotted around the city.

Bristol has a large and diverse student community and was voted the happiest city in the UK in 2019, so newcomers will feel at home in no time. In this blog you’ll find out exactly why Bristol is such a brilliant choice for international students.

Bristol’s two universities are leaders in their field

Both of Bristol’s universities, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE), offer a huge selection of subjects to study. Known for teaching excellence and their strong links to industry, attending either will help you achieve your goals.

The University of Bristol gives students the best of both worlds with historic buildings and state-of-the-art study centres. The University has a central location and is home to students from 150 countries. Plus, it’s one of the top 10 universities in the UK and its graduates enjoy some of the highest employability rates in the country.

Ranked second in England for student satisfaction, UWE is sure to meet your needs. It was awarded gold in the 2018 UK Teaching Excellence Framework, meaning its personalised learning and graduate employability levels are some of the best in the UK. And, as many of its courses include professional accreditation, your time at UWE can kickstart your career.

Both universities have great sporting facilities, with everything from swimming pools to climbing walls. And, as well as a wide range of classes to try and teams to join, sports at both universities have a strong social side. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, there are plenty of activities to try in Bristol and its surrounding countryside, whether it’s paddleboarding at the harbourside, mountain biking in the Clifton Downs, or inland surfing at The Wave.

The Wave, Bristol

The Wave, Bristol

Bristol’s independent spirit can be felt in its shopping and social scene

Bristol is a city known for its independent spirit and its shops are no different. There are markets offering unique items you won’t find anywhere else, cool vintage stores, and one-off boutiques at Park Street and Gloucester Road, which has the most independent stores of any street in the country.

If you’re after something from a major brand or designer label, Bristol Shopping Quarter is right in the heart of the city. And, for even more choice and larger shops, the Mall at Cribbs Causeway is only a bus ride away.

Bristol was named best culinary destination in the world by the Food Trekking awards in 2019, so whether it’s world-class food from famous chefs or laid-back street food bites at the shipping container market Cargo, there’ll be something to tempt your tastebuds.

The city’s nightlife scene is equally thriving, with late night bars, the world-renowned Motion club, Thekla party boat in the harbour, and even a roller disco. And, of course, no student experience would be complete without a trip to one of its many cosy pubs to sample some traditional West Country cider.

There are endless activities to try in Bristol. Its many museums and galleries are sure to amuse and entertain, whether you want to take in the city’s history at M Shed or the Georgian House Museum, admire creative works at the Bristol Art Gallery or the Arnolfini, or marvel at the solar system from the giant mirrored orb of the planetarium at We The Curious. If you don’t fancy staying inside, you can take a walking tour of the city’s street art or even create some yourself in a graffiti workshop.

As a UNESCO city of film with several independent cinemas and film festivals, Bristol is a haven for movie-lovers. It also has a strong theatre scene, with the Bristol Old Vic having played host to many major British acting talents and the Hippodrome a key stop for touring musicals. The O2 Academy is the place to catch major music acts and, if low-key live music is more your thing, there’s a great selection of quirky smaller venues.

Bristol is also home to a number of festivals celebrating the city’s vibrant culture, including unmissable music events Love Saves The Day, Tokyo World, St Paul’s Carnival, which honours the city’s Caribbean community, and even Bristol Balloon Fiesta where brightly-coloured hot air balloons light up the sky.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

It’s ideal for exploring

Bristol brings together a number of neighbourhoods sure to suit every type of student, whether it’s the buzzy city centre, leafy Clifton, vibrant Gloucester Road with its many bars and cafes, or the peaceful Bishopston and St Andrews. It’s also compact, making walking and cycling a breeze. And, for travelling around the universities’ different campuses and districts, the city’s bus service is regular and reliable.

With over 400 parks and gardens, Bristol is one of the greenest cities in the UK. There’s the glasshouses of Bristol Botanic Garden and the many spacious city parks like Brandon Hill and Castle Park. In the summer, you can spend time in the sunshine by the River Avon or stroll through the surrounding Clifton Downs. If you fancy venturing further afield, the nearby rolling green hills of Chew Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty, are waiting to be admired.

Bristol is also conveniently located for discovering more of the British Isles. It’s close to the historic city of Bath, famed for its Roman baths and Georgian architecture; Wales, with its friendly locals and spectacular scenery; and the South West, with the stunning coastlines of Devon and Cornwall. It’s also well connected to London — perfect for exploring the capital and the picturesque South East. There’s even an airport for adventures across the UK and into Europe.

Please note: the venues and places of interest discussed in this blog may be closed while Covid-19 restrictions are in place.

Other relevant websites

University of Bristol

University of the West of England

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