Birmingham

Birmingham City in England is a UK student city with several international universities and colleges.

Birmingham, England (West Midlands)

Population: 1,074,300

University students: 79,135 (7.4%)

Universities:

Birmingham, Birmingham City, University College Birmingham, Aston, Newman

Birmingham Library

The UK's second largest student city

Birmingham is home to more than a million people from a range of different cultures and ethnic groups, including the UK’s largest student population outside London. It is located in the geographic heart of England.

The city has several universities and university colleges, as well as religious colleges and Birmingham Metropolitan College - one of the largest further education colleges in the country.

1. Geography and climate

Birmingham is located in the West Midlands just west of the geographic centre of England. It is on a plateau – an area of relatively high ground ranging from 150m to 300m above sea level.

Other than canals, Birmingham is only served by minor rivers and brooks, such as the River Cole and the River Rea. To the south west of the city lie the Lickey Hills, Clent Hills and Walton Hill, which have extensive views over the city.

Temperatures range from an average minimum of 5.6°C (42.1°F) to an average maximum of 13.4°C (56.1°F) over the year. The region experiences snowfalls because of being inland and elevated, although there are heat island effects because of the large urban population.

2. Accommodation

There are thousands of student flats and properties located in and around Birmingham, with a wide selection in nearly all parts of the city. Students living in the inner city have close access to an array of shops, nightlife and cultural attractions. For student houses, average rent can range between £55 to over £70 a week per student.

The cost of a basic campus residence package is around £3,500 to £5000 per year, depending on the university and residential hall or college. Placements are generally prioritised in favour of first-year and international students.

3. Transport

Birmingham city is a transport hub in the English midlands, with road networks and an airport for UK and international students.Spaghetti road junction in BirminghamBecause the city is densely populated, the transport system is well integrated and has good coverage. Intra-city travel is generally easy using buses or the train or metro system.

Getting in and out of Birmingham is straightforward as well. A multitude of major train stations connect English students to their home towns across the country. It also has an international airport.

Birmingham does not cater well for cyclists however. The city centre has many pedestrians and few cycle lanes. Cyclists need to be prepared for cars blocking the cycle lane and, as with most cities, erratic driving.

4. Attractions

Because it is large and has a big student population, the city has numerous cultural activities and venues to keep people - especially younger people - entertained.

Nightlife

Birmingham city has a dynamic nightlife for students, including a clubbing scene and cheap beer deals.Students clubbing in Birmingham CityBirmingham boasts a dynamic nightlife. The city has plenty of student-type bars and clubs to cater for all tastes. The compactness of the city also means that getting from club to club is relatively easy.

Featues include the mainstream bustle of Broad Street, an underground scene in Digbeth and laid-back bars in student-friendly Selly Oak or bohemian Moseley.

There are dozens of affordable, interesting events happening on any given night around the city. Renowned venues include clubs Gatecrasher and Godskitchen and, for live music, Air and HMV Institute. Plenty of bars draw a more mature crowd too, from big name chains like All Bar One and the sophisticated Living Room to hundreds of local pubs.

Festivals, galleries and museums

Birmingham's ArtsFest, the UK's largest free arts festival, is a major attraction, and you'll also find festivals showcasing everything from dance and design to animation.

The city has some of the finest art galleries in the country, including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which houses Pre-Raphaelite art; the Barber Institute of Fine Art, with a collection of renaissance and impressionist art; and the Ikon Gallery with contemporary work.

For a 'living museum', there is the Jewellery Quarter, where craft workers use traditional methods to produce jewellery that is sold direct to the public.

Cuisine

Birmingham City has a Balti Mile restaurant area that is heavily frequented by students.Dining on a budget in Birmingham's Balti MileBirmingham is noted for its speciality Baltis (curries). The Birmingham Balti Mile, which offers authentic Balti dining, contains more than 49 different restaurants in one square mile. It is an inexpensive and informal dining experience.

Birmingham's Chinatown buffet specials are another firm favourite with the student population. Prominent eateries include Wagamama, Pizza Express, Shimla Pinks, Café Rouge and TGI Fridays.

5. Recreation and sport

There are several well-catered options for keeping fit and healthy in Birmingham. Many gyms offer student discounts and trials, with good deals available through the universities in particular.

For jogging or running, there are parks and open spaces. Cannon Hill Park, for example, has extensive running tracks and green space. If you enjoy swimming, there are swimming pools located across the city.

For sports entertainment, the main attractions are three leading football clubs – Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion. International cricket is also on display at Edgbaston, home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club.

6. Universities

The University of Birmingham is the largest university in terms of student population in Birmingham City.University of BirminghamThe University of Birmingham is the largest in the city, accounting for 31,000 out of a combined 79,000 students. It also has a high rating for course satisfaction among graduates, with a score of 3.6 / 5.0.

Another large university is Birmingham City University, with over 23,000 students. It has the lowest student satisfaction rating in the city, with a fairly modest 82% of 2012 graduates 'satisfied' with their course.

University College Birmingham and Aston University both have annual attendances exceeding 10,000 students. University College Birmingham is about the cheapest university in the city in terms of tuition and accommodation fees, alongside the smaller Newman University (with just over 3000 students, mostly doing teaching courses of study).