Help to welcome our Sanctuary Scholars

Every year, just after welcome week, the University hosts a welcome event for our Sanctuary Scholars, an incredible group of students who all come from asylum-seeking or refugee communities.

The welcome event is always a really special day, where the newest cohort of scholars get to meet each other, as well as staff and students from the University.

This year, as you can imagine, we can’t welcome our scholars in quite the same way. But whilst we might not be able to be together in one room, we can still do our very best to let these students know that they are a valued part of the Bristol community. We hope you’ll join us in doing so!

We’re asking alumni, friends, students and staff at the University of Bristol to help us to create a ‘virtual welcome’ for our Sanctuary Scholars – and it couldn’t be easier to take part.

All you need to do to join in is take a photo of yourself holding a homemade ‘welcome’ sign. It might sound like a small gesture, but it’s one that would mean a lot to our Sanctuary Scholars.

Starting University is a nerve-wracking experience at the best of times. But if you’re navigating an unfamiliar education system or have faced hardships that may make you feel isolated from your peers, it can be even more difficult. That’s why it’s so important that we come together to make sure that our Sanctuary Scholars know that they are welcome here at the University.

Making your welcome sign

You can make your sign as creative or as simple as you like and you can take your picture wherever suits you best. Please follow the steps below if you’d like to take part.

  •  Please take a landscape picture that is as clear as possible – good natural lighting helps!
  • Avoid having a window directly behind you when you take your photo, as you will be silhouetted by the bright light.
  • Please make sure there are no posters or photographs in your background, as these will take the focus away from your welcome sign.
  • Submit all pictures to
  • Once you’ve shared your picture with us, we may get back in touch to ask a few more questions about why you decided to take part in this campaign.
  • Contributed pictures will be shared across our social media channels and may be used in email communications and blog posts relating to this campaign.
  • All pictures must be submitted by 5th August.

Since 2016, the University has awarded 37 Sanctuary Scholarships to students from all over the world – with another 12 scholarships being offered this year. These truly transformative scholarships have allowed students to take up places on a wide variety of subjects, including History, Pharmacology, Mechanical Engineering and Law.

Many of these students have been forced to flee their countries of origin and have faced unspeakable challenges just to get here. In their home countries, they may have faced persecution for their beliefs or feared for their lives due to conflict and war.

After arriving in the UK, these students face significant barriers which make accessing higher education almost impossible. That’s why we’re so grateful that alumni support has helped to make a Bristol education a reality for them all.

We’re so proud to have been recognised as a University of Sanctuary, located within a City of Sanctuary. With your help, we can continue to make Bristol a safe and inclusive place for all.

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