Sanctuary Seekers’ Unit

Sanctuary scholars and refugee-background students

We know that transition to university can be challenging for everyone, but we want you to know that we are here to help you throughout your journey with us.

English and academic support

English Language Teaching Unit

If you are currently registered on an academic programme at the University of Leicester, the English Language Teaching Unit offers free academic English classes and support to students whose first language is not English. Get more information about availability and registration.

Centre for Academic Achievement

If you need further help in your studies, you can also book a study consultation with a maths advisor, academic skills consultant or librarian through the Centre for Academic Achievement. In addition, they have created a range of self-study guides you can access online 24/7.

Your personal academic tutor

A member of staff from your academic department will be assigned as your personal tutor right at the start of your course and they will stay with you all the way through to graduation. Your personal tutor is there to help you with any problems or queries, academic or personal. If your personal tutor isn't able to help you directly, they will find out where you can go to get the help you need. So always make sure you communicate with your personal tutor.

IT resources

Data SIM cards

The Sanctuary Seekers' Unit can provide free data SIM cards to students from refugee backgrounds.

IT rooms and study spaces

Students of the university have access to various Study spaces in the David Wilson Library and other areas of the university, including IT Rooms where they can use University PCs.

Loan laptops

The David Wilson Library has a limited number of laptops that can be borrowed on a first come first served basis. Some loan laptops can only be used for up to 4 hours on campus. Others can be borrowed for up to a month, and used on and off campus.

Download Microsoft Office for free

Students can install Microsoft Office 2016 (log-in required) for free on up to five PCs, Macs or mobile devices whilst studying at the University.

IT guidance for students

More IT guidance for students is available on Sharepoint (log-in required).

Practical support

Student support services

Student Welfare Service

The Student Welfare Service offers specialist advice on issues including:

Contact the Student Welfare Service at

Student Wellbeing

The Student Wellbeing Service is a free, confidential and professional service which offers wellbeing support for registered students at the University of Leicester.

Contact the Student Wellbeing Service at

AccessAbility Centre

The AccessAbility Centre offers support and advice for students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties as well as working with students who have sensory disabilities, mobility difficulties, mental health conditions and autism.

Extracurricular opportunities

Career Development Service

Don’t wait until you’ve graduated to start thinking about your future career. Now is the time to develop your skills, gain experience, and build your network. Learn more about employability, including: the support you can access, the Leicester Award, the Festival of Careers, and work and volunteering opportunities.

Social activities

Being at university is not just about studying. Taking part in extracurricular activities can help you relax, make friends, discover new interests or talents, and generally have a much more enjoyable and rewarding university experience.

Activities calendar

The University runs a wide range of free events, festivals and lectures throughout the year. Keep an eye on the events calendar (log-in required).

Res Life

If you are staying in student accommodation at the University of Leicester, you will be able to access a free programme of events run by the Residence Life team.

Sport and Active Life

Take a relaxed and fun approach to exercising through Let’s Do Leicester. Their free weekly sessions are available to all University of Leicester students. They range from Yoga and Boxercise to Swimming, Basketball and Badminton. All equipment is provided, so just bring yourself, a water bottle and appropriate clothing for the activity.

The University has two Sports Centres – one on main campus and one in Oadby Student Village. There are different membership options, but there’s usually an early bird discount if you buy your membership before mid-October.

Student clubs and societies

Whether you are looking to try something new alongside your studies or want to pick up a hobby or interest you already have - joining a sports club or society is a fantastic way to enhance your time at Leicester. The Student’s Union hosts over 200 societies, and if you can’t find one you like, you could even start your own! Find out more about student societies during Freshers’ Fair in September or Refreshers’ in January. A lot of them will run free try out sessions. Just make sure to check the membership and activity fees carefully before you sign up, they will vary a lot from one society to another. Some sports clubs require students to have a gym membership.

Attenborough Arts Centre

The Attenborough Arts Centre offers a wide range of activities. Some of these activities, such as the weekly craft workshops Wildcard Wednesday, are free and a great opportunity to relax and get creative.


The Chaplaincy runs free events such as Welcome on Wednesday, an opportunity for international students to come and enjoy food, games and making new friends. It takes place every week during term time from 1.00pm - 2.00pm at the Gatehouse. There's no need to book and everyone's welcome.

Whatever your faith – or even if you have none – our Chaplaincy is a place to meet new friends, to relax, pray and discuss things that matter to you. Our Chaplains provide support, advice and counsel and are always happy to discuss matters of faith with any of our students. We have World Faiths Advisers for Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist students. Muslim students have prayer rooms set aside for their needs on campus in the Charles Wilson building.

Languages at Leicester

If you fancy learning a new language (outside of English), Languages at Leicester offer free places on their language courses to people from refugee backgrounds.

Support offered by the Sanctuary Seekers’ Unit

The University of Leicester is the first UK university to have a dedicated Sanctuary Seekers’ Unit.

If you cannot find the right support and/or would like to talk to a member of our team, complete our 1:1 appointment request form. We will then email you within 2 working days to arrange an appointment (either online or in person).

If you would like to get in touch with us but do not need an appointment, please contact

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