Frequently Asked Questions

What is a College?
What is the MCR?
What items should I bring to Uni?
What happens when I first arrive at college?
What types of services are available to students?
How do meal times work?
What are formals?
If I have a question, who is the best person to ask or talk to?
Will I be living with undergraduates?
What are the different facilities available?
Do all postgraduates get en-suite accommodation? What is in my room?
Are there clubs and societies I can join in college?
I want to go home during vacation. Can I leave my things in my room?
Does Van Mildert provide Halal food? What about other dietary req’s?
Is there an induction programme for new students?
Is there a postgraduate student handbook?
How do I register for the doctor?
Do I need to show my passport or register with the police at college?
Does Van Mildert have worship services available?
How safe is Van Mildert for international students?

You can also download a list of these questions as a PDF.


^ What is a College?

College is different from what you may call “college” at home! When you come to Durham, you are going to University. Your college is where you live, eat, study and play. This is what we may call a dorm in other countries. College is a bit different in that it has separate facilities from other students in other colleges, and the facilities cater to Van Mildert students. Each college has its own formals and MCR’s, and staff dedicated to its students! This is why college is your home away from home!

^ What is the MCR?

The MCR is the Middle Common Room at Van Mildert College. The MCR consists of both those living in college and those who live out, and events are put on by the MCR so you can get to know the postgraduate community in the college. You pay for membership so that these events can be put on, and you will have unlimited access to the MCR common room in Deerness block.

^ What items should I bring to Uni?

This all depends on you as a person. However some things that you should bring with you are:

  • Photos from home
  • Clothing that can be layered for winter months as it does get quite cold!
  • Waterproof and winter coats are essential, but can be bought here if they are too bulky
  • Backpack or messenger bag
  • Power Converter or adaptor

Some things to leave at home and buy when you arrive:

  • Duvet and cover
  • Sheets
  • Any kitchen cutlery, etc.
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Alarm clocks
  • Hair dryers/curlers/irons
  • Specialist foods (i.e. Chinese Supermarket on North Road)
  • Movies & Music

^ What happens when I first arrive at college?

You will visit the college offices to get your passport checked, and be given an induction sheet. Once you have done that, you will get the key to your room to settle in. You will also get inducted into the MCR with events held throughout the week. International Students will need to register and have a visa check with the International Office. Certain people may need to register with the police as well dependent upon their visa conditions. Events will be announced and held for these things.

^ What types of services are available to students?

College is meant to be your home away from home. Saying that, you can pretty much get any type of help you require through college. If you are having a problem you can contact your Senior Tutor who will be able to help you out. You will have access to the MCR and JCR (Junior Common Room). There is also a bar for meeting your friends and having a soft drink or cocktail. Many events are put on throughout the year at college as well, so look out for signs advertising them!

^ How do meal times work?

Meal times change yearly, however if you eat with the MCR you have a certain time that you will go to meals. For instance dinner may be held for MCR members from 6-630 and you will sit at high table to eat and have a separate servery, so you do not have to stand in line to get food.

^ What are formals?

Formals are a time to get together with friends and have a nicer meal at college! Dress code is cocktail attire for both men and women. If you sign up with the MCR you will go down to the Lakeside Room early for a drinks reception and a bit of time to mingle. After this the dinner bell is rang and MCR members enter the hall to be seated. You will then have a chance to talk to MCR and SCR members during your meal! You do have to pay for formals, and if you would like wine you buy that by signing a form before dinner.

^ If I have a question, who is the best person to ask or talk to?

The best person to start with would be your Senior Tutor, and she can point you in the right direction if she cannot answer your question.

^ Will I be living with undergraduates?

You may be living with some undergraduates in your corridor, however most of them are final years. It is quite nice to have a mix on corridors and you will get to know many of the people that live by you, so do say “Hi!” if you see someone in the hall!

^ What are the different facilities available?

  • Library
  • JCR
  • MCR
  • Bar
  • Washing Up Facilities
  • Gym
  • Kent Reading Room
  • Tennis Courts
  • Snooker Room
  • Conference Rooms

^ Do all postgraduates get en-suite accommodation? What is in my room?

All postgraduates do get en-suite accommodation, and this could be in Deerness or Tyne block. In your room you get a desk, 2 chairs, a single bed, wardrobe, a kettle, and a shower/bathroom combination.

^ Are there clubs and societies I can join in college?

Yes! There are so many clubs and societies to choose from, and if your into sport but do not want the commitment of University sport then you can join a college sport! Most of the time college sport is a little more lax than uni sport, and gives you more time for other clubs as well! During your first week here, you can learn about all the clubs offered at the college Committees & Sports Fairs that will be announced in the events calendar.

^ I want to go home during vacation. Can I leave my things in my room?

You will be able to leave your things in your room and there are lockable cabinets in your room for valuables you do not want to take with you. If you are a postgraduate and have paid for a 51 week let, then you will be able to leave everything in your room during holidays, and still live in your room during summer holidays.

^ Does Van Mildert provide Halal food? What about other dietary req’s?

Van Mildert does make every effort to provide food for all different dietary req’s and does provide Halal food. If you have a special dietary requirement, the best thing to do is speak to the kitchen at your arrival. There you can discuss what your needs are, and it is taken care of before meals begin!

^ Is there an induction programme for new students?

There will be a day where you are inducted into the college, with a “welcome week” to follow. There will be plenty of activities going on in college during the first couple weeks, and loads of people around to speak with! You will have a day dedicated to learning about the college and all its facilities, with the opportunity to become part of the MCR and get to know other opportunities available. This way, by the time your lectures start you are comfortable in your new setting with some new friends!

^ Is there a postgraduate student handbook?

There is a postgraduate handbook, and this will be included in your welcome pack when you arrive.

^ How do I register for the doctor?

You will need to register with the doctor within the first few weeks of your arrival. If you register with the student medical centre, they will usually have days with certain times dedicated to registering Van Mildert college members. Get in touch with the medical centre in order to find out when this day is. You will need to bring your passport along with you in order to register.

^ Do I need to show my passport or register with the police at college?

You will need to show your passport when you register with the college offices. You will need to register with the police only if it says this is needed in your passport. This can be done at Ustinov college during the first few days of arrival. Your passport also needs to be presented to the immigration offices at Old Shire Hall at your earliest convenience. So, you need to show your passport to college AND to the immigration offices within the first few days of your arrival.

^ Does Van Mildert have worship services available?

Mildert does not have a chapel, but there is a chaplain to discuss religion and personal concerns with.

^ How safe is Van Mildert for international students?

Mildert is a very safe community, and there are many safety precautions taken to make sure you feel safe while you are here. All blocks have coded entry, and it is important to keep these to yourself and not give the codes out to others. If you feel unsafe for any reason, do speak with your Senior Tutor and discuss what can be done to help make you feel more comfortable at Mildert.