If you’re feeling a little intimidated by the size of universities in London, consider studying abroad in Birmingham, England! As the United Kingdom’s second largest city, you’ll have access to big city life— exciting attractions, top-tier culinary scene, incredible academic services — in a more approachable and easy to navigate size. Often ignored by foreigners visiting the UK, Birmingham is starting to gain attention from the global travel community. You can be one of the first international students to discover England’s under-the-radar heartland metropolis by studying abroad in Birmingham!
What you need to know to study abroad in Birmingham, England
Birmingham study abroad can be dished up in a variety of ways, but we’re here to tell you the low-down on what you need to know.
Popular subjects to study. As the biggest city in the West Midlands region of England and a major center for international commerce, Birmingham is a fantastic place to take courses in business. Any student studying in Birmingham will have the option to take a variety of business-related classes such as marketing, finance, and human resource management. Birmingham also has a significant manufacturing sector, so engineering and design are popular subjects as well.
Short term and summer programs vs. long term programs. There is a large number of academic institutions offering study abroad opportunities in Birmingham, so there is availability all year round. Some study abroad programs in Birmingham take place during the summer, while others offer courses for the fall and spring terms. Birmingham has a temperate maritime climate all year round so studying abroad anytime of the year should bring comfortable weather.
Due to its elevation, Birmingham does tend to receive more snow relative to other cities in the UK during the winter time. Whether you want to get a taste of life as a Brit during a short-term program or are looking to jump in feet first with a full year abroad, studying in Birmingham for any length is a great way to build personal and professional skills to set yourself apart on job applications!
Attending universities vs. other program types. Birmingham has six major universities, which makes it the the largest hub of higher education in England outside of London. As such, most of the programs available in Birmingham will be administered through a university institution. The largest two institutions are the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University, both of which draw large numbers of international students each year. However, you can also find independent programs with other academic providers if you choose.
These are a great option if you want a more hands-on, small-scale program to offer additional support with your study abroad experience.
Life in Birmingham, England for International Students
Like many other cities of similar size, Birmingham offers an excellent work-life balance for international students calling it their temporary home. Live music, shopping, and nightlife will all be available! As part of its urban renewal, Birmingham has seen a burst of new restaurants popping up in recent months. Get ready for lots of gastronomic adventures; Birmingham has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any English city outside London!
Birmingham is well connected with public transportation like buses and trains, so it is easy to explore surrounding areas during your free time. Conveniently located in the center of England, Birmingham also offers you the option for weekend getaways to places like Stratford-upon-Avon or London, both of which are only an hour away.
Birmingham was the city where J. R. R. Tolkien spent much of his early life, and you can tell from its architecture where he may have gotten some of his inspiration. There are a lot of interesting buildings to explore while studying here. Don’t miss the new Library of Birmingham, a glittering modern masterpiece, or the Selfridges Bull Ring, a retail mecca that is part department store, part futuristic spaceship.
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for study abroad students in Birmingham
People from Birmingham are called Brummies, thanks to their namesake regional dialect. As such, the city name is pronounced differently than it looks, so don’t stand out as a foreigner! The h is silent, and in the local dialect, the g makes hard sound, so it is pronounced as in Bir-min-gum.
Birmingham has an ideal balance between urban and rural, and even from the city center, you will never be more than a few miles away from beautiful natural surroundings. For something a little different, consider exploring Birmingham by canal boat! You might be surprised to learn that Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice. With all the natural scenery, floating down the canals makes for a lovely afternoon jaunt!
Are you a chocolate lover? Then Birmingham is the place for you — it is the home to England’s famous Cadbury chocolate! Indulge yourself with a liquid pot of choco and tour of Cadbury World, where you can see the chocolate making process in action from bean to bar.
Although you might get a few raised eyebrows when you say you’re studying in Birmingham instead of London, you’ll be one of the first to discover this up-and-coming British destination! England’s second largest city will leave you pleasantly surprised as it reinvents itself through ongoing urban renaissance. The sheer variety of world-class offerings in Birmingham such as museums, academic institutions, and culinary hot-spots will keep you busy for months.
Are you ready to live the Brummie lifestyle? Learn more about studying abroad in England with our comprehensive guide!