Now that I’ve been at the University of Bristol for a full month, I’ve had plenty of time to settle in and find my way around. I’d like to share tips and tricks for those who want to study abroad in Bristol, those who were recently accepted, or for anyone who wants to read about this city!
I opted to live in accommodation provided by the university, which ranges from dorms to apartments. I found searching for a private flat to be difficult, and I wanted the comfort of knowing there was a place for me to stay during the entire term. When you’re only studying abroad for a term, it’s hard to find a lease that suits the short time frame. I suggest researching private accommodations right after receiving your acceptance if that’s the type of housing you prefer. There is also the option to choose catered or self-catered. In catered accommodations, meals are provided and are included in your housing fee. Self-catered accommodations tend to be the less expensive option, but remember to factor in weekly grocery shopping, and/or eating out.
There are three villages in and around campus. I live in Stoke Bishop which is a small town in the North Village, about 2.5 miles from campus. It’s a more residential neighborhood of Bristol with several accommodations. East and West village are located right on campus and next to City Centre, which makes it easy to walk to classes. City Centre is about a mile mile away from campus, and is the heart of Bristol. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and places to visit too.
I’ve really liked living a bit away from the buzz of campus and the city because of how calm it is. Living in student accommodation is also a great way to meet other students and make friends from the very beginning. My accommodation is catered, and I think for me, catering was the right choice—especially for my first week here. Just knowing that I could pop into the dining hall for a meal while I was jet-lagged and still getting used to being in Bristol was extremely convenient. My flatmates and I do have a shared kitchen in each flat, which has been a life-saver when I have an instant noodle craving late at night. While it may have been nice to have my own space and not go back to “freshman style dorms”, I’ve really loved forming close friendships with my flatmates.
During my first week abroad, my flatmates and I went on our first adventure to the neighboring shops to pick up snacks and other household supplies we needed. They pointed out the best stores to shop at and which ones to avoid, which only affirms that my close friendships with my flatmates, some of whom happen to be locals, is all the more important. Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s are the main chain grocery stores in Bristol and can be found on pretty much every street corner. I’d compare these supermarkets to Giant, Publix, or Kroger in the US. I’ve found their prices to be reasonable, and the store brand quality laundry detergent, biscuits, and other items to be of very good quality. Boots is the most common pharmacy here as well, which is equivalent to CVS or Walgreens. And I’ve found these perfect shops with the help of my flatmates, who have really made transitioning to Bristol, and England, that much easier.
Now to appease my fellow caffeine and treat connoisseurs, Gloucester Road and Queen’s Avenue are the two major streets that are filled with cafes and restaurants. I’ve had the chance to explore a few of them with friends since arriving. I highly recommend asking the University of Bristol’s Global Lounge for suggestions, as many of these places can be quite expensive! Pret A Manger, Costa, and Café Nero are budget-friendly cafes that are perfect for a quick meal or snack in between classes. There aren’t many chain restaurants in the area, which means that you can really step out of your comfort zone and try food that you might not find back in Philly!
I know I’ll have many more tips and tricks to come over the next couple months, but I hope this gives you a brief glimpse into what to expect when arriving at the University of Bristol!
A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:
The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.