University of Sanctuary University of Sanctuary

UEA was awarded University of Sanctuary status in January 2018 in recognition of our offer to sanctuary seekers. UEA promotes a culture of inclusivity, respect and sanctuary through a broad range of schemes and activities, including scholarship programmes, education activities and events, and collaborations with local organisations and groups.

UEA is proud to be recognised as a University of Sanctuary, and is one of only a handful of universities in the UK and Ireland to receive the accolade to date. UEA staff and students have shown an ongoing commitment to increasing understanding of asylum and refugee concerns, and welcoming sanctuary seekers into our university community.

The Universities of Sanctuary initiative grew out of the City of Sanctuary movement. City of Sanctuary is a non-governmental movement which promotes action to foster greater inclusion and integration in the UK, with a key focus on supporting refugees and asylum seekers. It holds the vision that 'our nations will be welcoming plaeces of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution'. Succeeding in this vision requires us to promote greater understanding and recognition of the ways in which people seeking sanctuary enrich society.

There are currently more than 70 cities and towns across the UK actively involved in the movement, including Norwich which joined in September 2016. Norwich City of Sanctuary is a coalition of local refugee support groups and community representatives. UEA is actively engaged with the Norwich City of Sanctuary steering group.

City of Sanctuary have created a University of Sanctuary resource pack which is available to view here.

Explore our webpage to find out:

  • Who to contact for more information about UEA University of Sanctuary
  • UEA's Sanctuary Scholarship
  • Opportunities to visit the university
  • Induction suggestions and information for new arrivals at UEA
  • Recent and upcoming events 
  • How current students can get involved
  • Useful links for further research into this area


Contacts and social media Contacts and social media

Madi Dutton is the Sanctuary Liaison Officer and can be contacted by email. Madi's working hours are Monday and Wednesday, 10.00-13.40. 

Keep up to date with our progress and activities by following us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Sanctuary Scholarship Sanctuary Scholarship

UEA is committed to helping reduce the barriers to participation in Higher Education (HE) faced by those seeking asylum in the UK. We are pleased to be able to offer three scholarships (either undergraduate or postgraduate) to students seeking asylum and wish to study at UEA, beginning in 2019-20. 

Successful applicants will receive a full tuition fee scholarship and a bursary of £3,000 per year to help towards living costs and course related expenses.

Visit the Article 26 website for details on alternative scholarships available at other universities nationally.

Details of the eligibility criteria and application process for UEA's bursary can be found below.

Click here to find out about the UEA Sanctuary Scholarship

Outreach activities for prospective students Outreach activities for prospective students

Our Outreach team offers free individual, group and residential trips to UEA for a wide variety of young people and adult learners. We offer the opportunity to explore our campus, meet current students, and find out about the courses and options available at HE. We welcome enquiries from sanctuary seekers, refugees, family members, charity and NGO staff, school/college/sixth form staff, and others.

Our Including Me programme offers activities specifically for students from the most under-represented groups at Higher Education. 

Click here to view our guide to the Including Me programme or visit the Including Me webpage. 

Contact Liz Ferguson, Outreach Officer by email or on 01603 591960.

Information for new students Information for new students

Support and information

UEA’s Student Support Service offers various different types of support, including help with your studies and other difficulties, no matter how big or small. Student Advisers can provide support relating to your wellbeing, your finances, or any disability or learning difficulty.


Visit the Student Support Service webpage or drop into the Student Support building on campus.


Help with your studies

The Learning Enhancement Team offers guidance to help students with their studies. Visit their webpage here for more information.


All staff within this team are able to help (book an appointment by dropping into the Student Support Service building, by calling 01603 592761 or emailing


Pablo Dalby is a Learning Enhancement Tutor with emphasis on supporting students from groups that are under-represented at university, and is happy to be approached by sanctuary students who are seeking advice or help with their studies.


International students orientation and Welcome Week

The Student Support Service at UEA organises events, information, presentations, and social opportunities for new international and EU students to ensure they know what to expect at UEA. The orientation is open to anyone who will benefit from it, so please get involved and get a step ahead. Find out more online


Finding your way around

If you've just arrived at UEA and would like some help to find your way around, email Liz Ferguson in UEA's Outreach team at to arrange a tour with a friendly current student.


International student handbook

The International Student Handbook can be used by anyone, but it has some additional information specifically for international students, as well as the programme for the Orientation and Welcome Week. Find it as well as the New Students Guide on the Welcome to UEA mobile app.


English language support
UEA provides different support programmes to meet your individual need. All three of these programmes are free:

Language Support Buddy programme is hugely popular with students who want to practise and improve their language skills. It matches international students with a fluent English speaking student to meet one-to-one for a period of 6 weeks. During this time your Language Buddy will help you practise your conversational language skills and boost your confidence in using English.

Conversation Club provides the opportunity to socialise with others while practising your English in a friendly and welcoming group every week during term time. This lively Club is run by students, for students with new activities and topics weekly.

English Language Support Programme (ELSP) is designed to help develop the language skills of non-native speakers for academic study.


You can also find a number of independent English classes in Norwich that will charge a fee to attend on the English Language Support page


Additional help

If you need you would like additional support please contact the International Student Advisory Team at You can speak with a Student Support Adviser who is trained to meet with non-resident students.


UEA has an international student mailing list for students to receive updates and additional information. Email and ask to be added!


Recent events

Facilitating intercultural discussion on sexual health and relationships amongst forced migrants

This one-day conference was held at the Wesleyan Chapel in London on Tuesday 16 July, as part of UEA Impact Fund participatory research project with New Routes. See the event flyer here.

Lecture series

UEA will continue to deliver educational activities and events focussing on sanctuary issues, including a new public lecture series which launched in November 2018. The series is designed to bring together people from across UEA and the local area to engage in debates. The lectures will explore a diverse range of subjects relating to sanctuary seekers, including education and maternity care.

Previous lectures have included:

  • March 2019 - Dr Rayah Feldman, 'The impact of migrant women on NHS charging for maternity care'. Rayah Feldman discussed her report for Maternity Action, What Price Safe Motherhood?. The report explored the impact on migrant women, who faced charges for NHS maternity care during and after their pregnancies. 

University of Sanctuary anniversary event

On 23 January 2019 the University came together to share and celebrate the work being undertaken at UEA to develop a meaningful and sustainable culture of welcome for asylum seekers and refugees. The day-long event included a volunteering fair and information session with representatives from local NGOs, including New RoutesPeople From Abroad Team (Norfolk County Council)English+Norwich International Youth ProjectBridge Plus, and the British Red Cross. The event also included a financial advice drop-in for sanctuary seekers interested in studying at UEA.

UEA also welcomed representation by:

UEA Migrant Research Network

Visit the webpage of our Migrant Research Network to find out about the participatory action research in topics related to international migration.

Student Action for Refugees (STAR) Student Action for Refugees (STAR)

UEA students are currently forming a Student Action for Refugees group. STAR is a national charity of 27,000 students welcoming refugees to the UK. Watch this video to find out more. Members of STAR receive information and support to plan campaigns which improve the lives of refugees. Current campaigns are Equal Access to Higher Education and Safe Routes Save Lives

STAR works with its members to organise talks, films, exhibitions, plays, and a whole host of other educational activities on and off campus. The aim is for UK students to be well informed about why people flee, what happens when sanctuary seekers arrive in the UK, and aware of what action they can take to make people feel welcome.

If you are a UEA student and would like to join STAR please contact the University Sanctuary Liaison Officer.

Useful Links Useful Links

Eradicate Hate - Eradicate Hate is a campaign by uea(su) to raise awareness about racism and to ensure that students of colour are properly supported when reporting incidents.

Norwich Schools of Sanctuary

The Refugee Council

Refugee Action

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)