Birmingham is one of the UK’s most diverse and vibrant cities. More than 20% of its citizens are from overseas, so wherever you’re from, you’ll feel at home. We're the youngest city in Europe too with almost 40 per cent of the population being made up of under 25's.
You can enjoy a wide variety of fantastic cultural events throughout the year. These include the UK’s biggest Eid celebration, the Caribbean Festival of food, music, dance and art, and German Christmas markets.
Birmingham can give you just as good a lifestyle as London can – better, in fact, because life is not as expensive in the Midlands as it is in the capital.
A recent study found that while Londoners pay 37.1% of their monthly salary on living costs, Brummies only spend 18.2% of their wages, making people in this city better off financially than those in the capital. Another recent piece of research found that Londoners spend a staggering £425 a month on work-related expenses, such as lunch and commuting, while people in Birmingham spend a helluva lot less.
Rent prices for private accommodation including student homestay are considerably lower than that of London. Birmingham offers excellent value for money to students opting for homestay accommodation.
Birmingham has more trees than any other city of comparable size in Europe. With nearly 600 parks and green areas, you’ll be amazed by how many outdoor spaces there are in the city. You can explore Birmingham’s parks, find your favourite spot to relax with friends or take your studies outside. You can visit Birmingham's version of New York's Central Park - Canon Hill Park. Plus, you can walk around Sutton Park Nature Reserve, the largest urban nature reserve in Europe, and discover the impressive Botanical Gardens in Harborne. As well as all this, the city’s canal network offers scenic routes for walking, running and cycling.
If you like trying different food, then you’ll love Birmingham. The city boasts loads of great restaurants, which represent the many different nationalities and cultures found in the city.
There are many reasonably-priced, student-friendly eateries for everyday food, but you can also enjoy high-end dining as well: there are 5 Michelin-starred restaurants in Birmingham. The city is also the home of the Balti, a Pakistani-style curry that’s very popular in the UK.
And, if you like sweet food, you should visit the world-famous Cadbury chocolate factory, located just outside of the city, in Bournville. Delicious … there really is something for everyone food-wise in the great city of Brum.
There is always something going on in Birmingham. You can watch a variety of dramatic productions at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, a world-famous theatre or Birmingham's Hippodrome which is the UK’s busiest theatre with over 520,000 visitors each year. You can also catch up on the latest movies in Britain’s oldest working cinema, the Electric. Plus, Birmingham Royal Ballet is the UK’s premier touring ballet company, and the world-famous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra plays 130 concerts a year so you'll be spoilt for choice.
Birmingham's Creative Quarter in Digbeth is the UK’s leading destination for creative and digital businesses, independent shops and alternative culture outside London. The once industrial quarter of the city centre has now been transformed into the artistic district with the recent explosion of artists using its red brick walls as their canvas.
Located in the central region of the UK, known as The Midlands, Birmingham offers easy access to the rest of the country. You can easily connect with other great cities like Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford and London, as well as beautiful countryside, including the Peak District and Cannock Chase.
To give you an idea of how convenient a location it is, here are some popular destinations from around the UK and the approximate amount of time it takes to reach them by train from Birmingham.
Manchester – 1 hour 20 minutes
London – 1 hour 20 minutes
Oxford – 1 hour 10 minutes
Stratford-upon-Avon – 45 minutes
Edinburgh – 4 hours (1 hour 15 mins minutes by aeroplane!)
Bath – 1 hour 50 minutes
Birmingham airport is only 10km from the city centre, and offers flights to many destinations in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Birmingham is a fantastic place to live and study if you’re a fan of sport. It was the first ever city to win the title of National City of Sport by the UK’s Sports Council. There’s a long and colourful history of football, cricket, athletics and rugby in Birmingham.
Plus, the city boasts two of the oldest professional football teams in the world - Aston Villa FC and Birmingham City FC. Birmingham also hosts golf’s Ryder Cup at the Belfry, a classic competition, especially if you enjoy beating the Americans. Plus, with the Commonwealth Games being hosted in Birmingham in 2022 the focus on sport will only get bigger.
In our next blog we'll take a look at the English Language Schools in Birmingham and the services they offer to international students.
If you’re planning to come to Birmingham soon to work or study, get in touch with Warm Welcome Homestays. We'll be happy to help find the right English language course and homestay accommodation for you.
Founder and Managing Director of Warm Welcome Homestays - Birmingham born and bred, English Language Teacher and long track-record of working with students, homestay hosts and language schools in the UK and overseas, including living and working in Asia for a number of years.