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What is University of Birmingham like?

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Withengar
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#1
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I'm considering University of Birmingham for my future MA study and I want to hear about your experiences there.

What is the overall standing and reputation of the university?

How did you find your courses and lectures?

How easy is to find affordable housing, and how easy is it to find a decent part-time work?

What is the atmosphere on campus and what did you like/dislike about it?

How would you characterise Birmingham as a city, and what are is good and bad bits?

Thanks!
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esralled
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I've just finished my first year at UoB, and I've been working up here now for almost a year. I'm originally from Worcester, which is a much smaller, quieter city.

(Original post by Withengar)
What is the overall standing and reputation of the university?
It's a Russel Group, so it has a pretty good reputation. Off the top of my head, I believe it was University of the Year for 2017, and it stands as 15th in the UK and 79th in the world (I believe I read that on Wikipedia).
How did you find your courses and lectures?
I'm studying English. The lectures are recorded through Panopto, so if you're hungover as all hell on a Monday morning and you have a 9am, you can wake up at 11 and watch the lecture online from the comfort of your home. That's probably the best thing about the lectures. As a side note, the lecturers themselves are similar to school teachers - some are good, some are great, some are awful. We had one lecturer that refused to record lectures on panopto because she thought it encouraged people to miss the lecture, despite the fact that she consistently arrived 15 minutes late.

All the courses are a "university hour" long, which - if you don't already know - means if the lecture is 1 hour long, it actually lasts for 50 minutes. If it's 2 hours long, it lasts for 110 minutes.

How easy is to find affordable housing, and how easy is it to find a decent part-time work?
My rent for the second year, which started on the 1st of July, is £87/week including bills, WiFi, and a TV license. I live in Harbourne. Mostly everyone else lives in Selly Oak, and some of my friends are paying upwards of £115/week NOT including bills or WiFi. If you know which area of Birmingham to look for housing in, it can be very easy.

As for part-time work, I used indeed. I worked at Zizzi's in the mailbox for the entirety of first year, and I was the only one of my friends (who didn't work) to not go into an overdraft. In fact, I didn't even come close. Going into second year, I now work at Lane 7 in The Cube, but I had job offers from Bodega and various family-run pubs around Digbeth and the city centre. There's hundreds of jobs always available in Birmingham - but there's hundred of people also applying for those jobs. You definitely need a good CV and convincing cover letters.

What is the atmosphere on campus and what did you like/dislike about it?
To be honest, it's very busy on campus. There's >30k students, so things get pretty packed pretty quickly. That being said, unlike BCU, it's not a city campus - it's all in one place, which makes getting around fairly easy. The crowding is probably the main thing I dislike. As for atmosphere, a lot of it happens off campus. There's two Facebook groups that spring to mind (that you can probably join now to get a feel for) - "Fab n Fresh - New" and "Old Joemance". On campus, it's not a lot to shout about - but it's not unwelcoming by any stretch. In fact, it's currently undergoing a big redevelopment project.

How would you characterise Birmingham as a city, and what are is good and bad bits?
Thanks!
Good:
  • If you can think of it, Birmingham has it. Shops, restaurants, arcades, activities, heritage sites, celebrities, all sorts. You never have to travel far to find something you need. And, if you do need to travel far, there's a train station every 5 meters (or so it feels.)
  • It has it's own voice. I can't really describe it to someone who hasn't lived here, but those who do live here know what I mean. There's a big sense of community in Birmingham, and - as long as you don't go into the scummy parts - you're going to interact with people you never thought you would cross paths with otherwise. It's like everyone here knows what the rest of the country thinks of it, and is quietly mocking them because they don't get to experience Brum's true charm.
  • It looks stunning. Because of Birmingham's (probably deserved) reputation, I'll add a couple of pictures to prove it, rather than trying to convince you with words.
Spoiler:
Show


Image

Image



Bad:
(As much as I am in love with the city, it definitely has it's bad parts.)
  • Gangs. There's a lot gangs in Birmingham. If you google "Burger Bar Boys" and "Johnson Crew", you can find articles on shootings, stabbings, murders, armed robberies, and such forth dating decades back up to this year. There's areas where they control - Ladywood, Kings Norton, Druids Heath, Yardley Wood - that you'll never find yourself going to, so this isn't that much of a problem. But it is where Birmingham gets it's "Murder capital" title from.
  • Crime. Proportionally, there isn't too much crime - at least compared to areas of London. However, even in the nicer parts of Birmingham, there's still crime. There's been stabbings outside New Street Station, shootings in the main high street in broad daylight, but the one that's most likely going to affect you is the crime on Broad Street. Broad Street is where the majority of night life takes place in Birmingham. It's where most students go (if they aren't going to the clubs on the campus and in Selly Oak) and where most residents in general go. As such, it's really not uncommon for there to be armed and unarmed muggings, pickpockets, assaults, groping and the like. All of these things have happened to me and my friends at some point or another. It's just part of living in a big city. The best way to avoid this is to not go out on Broad Street at all. There's plenty of other places to go- but I wouldn't recommend it. Just don't take all your cash, and keep your card + ID in a different wallet or pocket to your money.
  • Poverty. This kind of ties in with the amount of crime, but there are areas of Birmingham which are very poor, and the wealth inequality is alarmingly obvious because these places tend to be next to areas that are very affluent. There's a homeless shelter not too far from The Cube - one of the most up-market dining areas in Birmingham. As everyone knows, poverty breeds crime, so even in the nice areas there will be opportunist thieves looking for an unlocked window or an unchained bike. You just need to be a little bit aware of what's going on around you.


All in all, Birmingham is great, the University is great, and it has its flaws as does everything on the planet.
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as125
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(Original post by esralled)
I've just finished my first year at UoB, and I've been working up here now for almost a year. I'm originally from Worcester, which is a much smaller, quieter city.


It's a Russel Group, so it has a pretty good reputation. Off the top of my head, I believe it was University of the Year for 2017, and it stands as 15th in the UK and 79th in the world (I believe I read that on Wikipedia).

I'm studying English. The lectures are recorded through Panopto, so if you're hungover as all hell on a Monday morning and you have a 9am, you can wake up at 11 and watch the lecture online from the comfort of your home. That's probably the best thing about the lectures. As a side note, the lecturers themselves are similar to school teachers - some are good, some are great, some are awful. We had one lecturer that refused to record lectures on panopto because she thought it encouraged people to miss the lecture, despite the fact that she consistently arrived 15 minutes late.

All the courses are a "university hour" long, which - if you don't already know - means if the lecture is 1 hour long, it actually lasts for 50 minutes. If it's 2 hours long, it lasts for 110 minutes.


My rent for the second year, which started on the 1st of July, is £87/week including bills, WiFi, and a TV license. I live in Harbourne. Mostly everyone else lives in Selly Oak, and some of my friends are paying upwards of £115/week NOT including bills or WiFi. If you know which area of Birmingham to look for housing in, it can be very easy.

As for part-time work, I used indeed. I worked at Zizzi's in the mailbox for the entirety of first year, and I was the only one of my friends (who didn't work) to not go into an overdraft. In fact, I didn't even come close. Going into second year, I know work at Lane 7 in The Cube, but I had job offers from Bodega and various family-run pubs around Digbeth and the city centre. Again, if you know where to look for jobs, they're not hard to find.


To be honest, it's very busy on campus. There's >30k students, so things get pretty packed pretty quickly. That being said, unlike BCU, it's not a city campus - it's all in one place, which makes getting around fairly easy. The crowding is probably the main thing I dislike. As for atmosphere, a lot of it happens off campus. There's two Facebook groups that spring to mind (that you can probably join now to get a feel for) - "Fab n Fresh - New" and "Old Joemance". On campus, it's not a lot to shout about - but it's not unwelcoming by any stretch. In fact, it's currently undergoing a big redevelopment project.



Good:
[ul]
[li]If you can think of it, Birmingham has it. Shops, restaurants, arcades, activities, heritage sites, celebrities, all sorts. You never have to travel far to find something you need. And, if you do need to travel far, there's a train station every 5 meters (or so it feels.) [/li]
[li]It has it's own voice. I can't really describe it to someone who hasn't lived here, but those who do live here know what I mean. There's a big sense of community in Birmingham, and - as long as you don't go into the scummy parts - you're going to interact with people you never thought you would cross paths with otherwise. It's like everyone here knows what the rest of the country thinks of it, and is quietly mocking them because they don't get to experience Brum's true charm.[/li]
[li]It looks stunning. Because of Birmingham's (probably deserved) reputation, I'll add a couple of pictures to prove it, rather than trying to convince you with words.[/li]
[/ul]
Spoiler:
Show

Image

Image


Bad:
(As much as I am in love with the city, it definitely has it's bad parts.)
[ul]
[li]Gangs. There's a lot gangs in Birmingham. If you google "Burger Bar Boys" and "Johnson Crew", you can find articles on shootings, stabbings, murders, armed robberies, and such forth dating decades back up to this year. There's areas where they control - Ladywood, Kings Norton, Druids Heath, Yardley Wood - that you'll never find yourself going to, so this isn't that much of a problem. But it is where Birmingham gets it's "Murder capital" title from. [/li]
[li]Crime. Proportionally, there isn't too much crime - at least compared to areas of London. However, even in the nicer parts of Birmingham, there's still crime. There's been stabbings outside New Street Station, shootings in the main high street in broad daylight, but the one that's most likely going to affect you is the crime on Broad Street. Broad Street is where the majority of night life takes place in Birmingham. It's where most students go (if they aren't going to the clubs on the campus and in Selly Oak) and where most residents in general go. As such, it's really not uncommon for there to be armed and unarmed muggings, pickpockets, assaults, groping and the like. All of these things have happened to me and my friends at some point or another. It's just part of living in a big city. The best way to avoid this is to not go out on Broad Street at all. There's plenty of other places to go- but I wouldn't recommend it. Just don't take all your cash, and keep your card + ID in a different wallet or pocket to your money. [/li]
[li]Poverty. This kind of ties in with the amount of crime, but there are areas of Birmingham which are very poor, and the wealth inequality is alarmingly obvious because these places tend to be next to areas that are very affluent. There's a homeless shelter not too far from The Cube - one of the most up-market dining areas in Birmingham. As everyone knows, poverty breeds crime, so even in the nice areas there will be opportunist thieves looking for an unlocked window or an unchained bike. You just need to be a little bit aware of what's going on around you. [/li]
[/ul]

All in all, Birmingham is great, the University is great, and it has its flaws as does everything on the planet.
OP give this man your rep.

I didn't even read all of that but repped it just because of how much effort my man put into answering your question lol

Nice work man
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randomgeeza
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(Original post by Withengar)
I'm considering University of Birmingham for my future MA study and I want to hear about your experiences there.

What is the overall standing and reputation of the university?

How did you find your courses and lectures?

How easy is to find affordable housing, and how easy is it to find a decent part-time work?

What is the atmosphere on campus and what did you like/dislike about it?

How would you characterise Birmingham as a city, and what are is good and bad bits?

Thanks!
It's an excellent University. I have received a lot of interviews from people who are aware of this.

My course (Masters in HRM and CIPD) was pretty good in some areas and average in others. It depended on the lecturer and the topic. Some lectures were pointless honestly and others were very interesting, engaging and must-attend sort of lectures and seminars.

It's a large city so it isn't difficult finding part-time work tbh, loads of flexible roles around here if you go on indeed.

I didn't stay on campus as I live in bham anyway but I loved the campus. It was very clean, very green, diverse range of people, varied design of buildings on site and there appears to be a lot of work going on there right now so I'd imagine it'll change a lot in the near future. UoB has tons of money so they will constantly be putting money into the place.

Bham is a fantastic place to live. A lot of opportunity, diversity in everything (food, people, tastes in everything) and options. There is a lot of crime in certain areas but that is part and parcel of living in a big city.
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