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Student city guide: Birmingham

Posted by: èAV - 08 July 2024 - International Students - Read time: 5 minutes

Birmingham is the UK’s second city, nestled in the heart of England and home to èAV for over 40 years. Its transformation over the past few decades has made it arguably the most dynamic and exciting city in the UK, and in turn, a fantastic place for international students to live and study. If you’re a student thinking about studying in the UK, here are seven compelling reasons to put Birmingham on your shortlist.

A youthful, diverse city

Nearly 40% of Birmingham’s population is aged 24 years old or younger, making it one of the youngest cities in Europe. It is also one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the UK. These two factors provide the city with its eclectic, inclusive, and welcoming vibe. It’s also evident in the city’s bustling shops and markets, internationally inspired food scene, prestigious academic institutions, and burgeoning industries.

An academic powerhouse

Birmingham is home to five universities, including the University of Birmingham, which is part of the prestigious Russell Group, and recently named as the . Birmingham City University plays a big role in the cultural life of the city, renowned for its contribution to the creative arts. Birmingham also boasts Europe’s largest (and perhaps most architecturally interesting) public library.

Thriving food scene

While Birmingham is perhaps best known for its abundance of Indian restaurants, including the famous ‘Balti Triangle,’ there is so much more on offer, from street food festivals to quirky independent restaurants to suit every taste and budget. Cementing its status as a food lovers paradise, , more than any UK city outside of London.

A resurgent economic power

For hundreds of years, Birmingham has been a hugely important industrial and commercial centre and was known as the city of a thousand trades. Today, its economy is once again thriving, offering countless opportunities for graduates and entrepreneurs. Global businesses are moving in ( in particular law and finance firms such as HSBC and Deutsche Bank), and a huge number are starting up (). The wider West Midlands region is also the UK’s first Future Mobility Zone, thanks to its large number of innovative automotive and engineering firms, including Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

World-famous culture

Birmingham has shaped the culture of the UK. The city gave birth to heavy metal (most notably Black Sabbath) and bands such as UB40, Duran Duran and The Streets. It was home to JRR Tolkien and Peaky Blinders, and although he was born about 20 miles outside of the city, William Shakespeare would almost certainly have spoken with a Birmingham (aka Brummie) accent. This rich cultural heritage lives on with a plethora of galleries, music venues, and annual festivals to explore.

A transport hub

Located right in the centre of England, Birmingham is the ideal place from which to explore the rest of the country, to make the most of your experience of the UK. It has fantastic transport links by air, rail, road and even water – the city really does have more canals than Venice! Getting around the city itself is affordable and easy too, whether on foot, bike, tram or train.

Shop in style

The famous Bullring shopping centre in the heart of the city is a shopper’s dream. It has over 150 shops over three floors, with even more on offer in Grand Central above New Street Train Station. There’s also the Mailbox, home to many boutique, high-end shops; at the other end of the spectrum is the vibrant Rag Market, where you can buy fresh produce and household goods.