What it's like to study English in Birmingham
My name is Kseniia and I am an English student currently studying a Foundation year. I started this September, and so far, my experience here has been absolutely incredible. I moved to the UK from Ukraine because of the war that started in 2022. I have known Birmingham for only a few months now, but I would like to tell you what I have discovered and like about studying in Birmingham.
The Library of Birmingham is a beautifully large space with an amazing atmosphere that sparks inspiration. It’s really important for me to feel inspired when writing or studying, and the library is the perfect place for just that. Around the library, there are cafés and spaces to sit and study, including just outside by the relaxing water fountains – although you might want to wait until summer!
Studying in and around the University is also one of my favourite things to do. I really enjoy the modern architecture and there are plenty of spaces you can hide away and get on with your work that aren’t just classrooms. The Curzon B study space is really cosy and has lots of nooks and seating areas, and when the weather is nice, I recommend lying on the grass on Eastside Park with a good book.
I enjoy getting to know the history of a city and exploring the various important buildings. This is crucial for me as an English student, because we often study historical drama and texts, where knowing the context of the history really helps. Birmingham is rich in history: the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is full of interesting artefacts and is a great day out with friends or alone.
Another of my favourite things to do is simply walk around the city centre and take in the beautiful architecture. Birmingham has a mix of modern and old styles of architecture, with large glass skyscrapers filling the skyline, nestled alongside historic beauties such as the Town Hall and council house.
For me it is important not to sit in my room studying all the time, so I go for walks quite often. My favourite place for that is the canal. It’s very beautiful, especially in the evening when the reflection of lights are twinkling on the water, people are strolling after work and canal boats line the water’s edge. How idyllic!
Other than this, Cannon Hill Park is just outside of the immediate city centre but worth the short bus or tram ride. There’s a lovely body of water to walk around, and plenty of miles of green space to stroll, sit or hang out with friends.
During my life here, I’ve become more independent and feel like an adult. I’ve started to plan my everyday meals, manage my finances, think in advance and lots of other “grown up” things. This is due to the help I have received as a BCU student, as there are resources such as a support team, workshops and guides to help manage student life, but it is also due to living in such an up-and-coming, forward-thinking and accessible city.
BA (Hons) English with a Foundation Year