These are the five reasons why your year abroad will beat another year in Birmingham

A much needed break from the rain, the Bullring, and the sticky floors of Fab


You’ve just submitted your year abroad application. The whole process was a blur of stress, excitement and what ifs about how the next year will look. Now you’re stuck waiting in the weird limbo phase wondering if you’ve done the right thing, you could either be beyond excited or extremely nervous. Coming from a certified year abroad gal herself, I know there is a lot to think about when considering living in another country for a year, so it can be easy for the uncertainties to creep in. So, if you needed any reasons that your choice to apply for study abroad was absolutely the best decision to make, then escaping Birmingham should make the top of your list!

1. Some fresh faces

Is there really anything more independent than flying out to a whole new country to live amongst strangers for the next year? This may seem daunting, but the sense of accomplishment is unmatched. If you’re sick of seeing the same faces every time you go for a Fab night at The Guild, then you could definitely benefit from some time away. You’ll make new friends from all over the world as you join a cohort of other international students coming on their study abroad, as well as getting to know the local students and getting immersed into their culture. There is something so peaceful yet exciting about taking yourself on solo adventures in your new city. You’ll become more than just a tourist as you get to know the area like the back of your hand. 

2. Escaping the Brum smog

As the rain stops in Birmingham for roughly 10 days a year, it’s much nicer to get out of the country and experience a little more sun or snow. Study abroad destinations vary hugely, from tropical destinations in Asia, a back to front climate in Australia or the sub-zero temperatures of Canada and Northern Europe. It’s certainly a lot more on offer in terms of the scenery and environment than the West Midlands. While in Birmingham you couldn’t be further from the beach, and the canals offer little in the way of exotic nature, a year abroad provides a unique opportunity to experience environments you definitely couldn’t get at home. 

3. New city, new adventures

After a couple of years studying in Birmingham, shopping at the Bullring and clubbing on Broad Street just doesn’t cut it anymore. Having new friends to explore a new home with means you will never have a reason to be bored. Discovering the nightlife scene is a highlight, as it will likely be different to anything you’ll have experienced clubbing in Birmingham. Shopping in a country that has a different fashion sense, can be great if you want to broaden your style and come back with a whole new fourth year look. Not having to set foot in the sensory overload that is Birmingham Primark is also a bonus. 

4. Dixy’s liberation

The food should certainly be a big factor for a study abroad. The cuisine native to Selly Oak merely ranges from curly fries to Dixy Chicken, a whole lot of beige. There is a world of  more colourful foods and unique flavours that are waiting to be experienced on your year abroad. There are plenty of destinations where you can eat out amazing food for a fraction of the price of what you’d find in Brum. Trying all of the local food is what makes the experience so fun, the good and the bad – try it all.  

5. The travel opportunities

One of the best opportunities unique to a year abroad, is the ability to travel to countries that all of a sudden are much closer than you thought. If travelling is something you love, then make the most of the opportunity by grabbing some cheap flights, scraping together the last of your savings and getting out there. With the benefit of travelling light, and a new-found home base to go back to, it’s also worth exploring places on your doorstep. With the help of local friends you’ll get a much rounder experience of your country that makes your year out so unique.  

Related articles recommended by this author:

• Just 10 fun and booze-free activities that students can do in Birmingham

A complete guide to Brum’s best vintage and second hand spots

• These are the top 10 date spots in Brum this cuffing season