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Our first day in England was a magnificent experience. We both arrived in England and cloudiness, a staple of English weather, was welcoming us. Everything seemed so foreign, but yet so familiar. We had been waiting and preparing for this moment since we can remember ourselves. After a long-hour journey we had finally arrived to our destination. Exhausted from the journey we could not wait to get to our new “home”.
Needless to say, life here is quite different from life in Greece and Cyprus. Even life in other parts of the UK, smaller towns like Bath for instance, is completely different from the Midlands and Birmingham. To start with, the first different thing, that continues to be a challenge, is the food! Different flavours everywhere. We do have a variety of foreign products sold as well, but the main shopping list comprises Greek and Cypriot products! Here that was no longer an option. The cheese, the meat, the bread, things that we usually eat in our countries almost every day, had a peculiar taste here, all completely different. This diversity in food is only expected, as people form every part of the world can be found in Birmingham.
Then there is the campus of our university, which contrasts with the Greek and Cypriot ones. We do believe that we got one of the best educations we could get anywhere else, but the surrounding buildings and location of the University of Birmingham is one that left us amazed. The campus, with its old and new buildings, the art that one can found around the campus, respecting nature and supporting it, made us feel happy that we were living and studying here.
A big part of a student’s life is nightlife. Cypriots and Greeks know how to have a good night out. There is something for everyone, no matter what your preferences are, but one thing is certain: wherever you go you know that you are going to have a great time and stay out until late. Bars and clubs here close at 2am whereas in the South east of Europe, people are actually partying until the first morning hours. Nightlife in Birmingham is mostly in Broad Street and beautifully decorated British pubs around the city centre, which we really love.
Another difference is the rapid rhythm of life in Birmingham that contrasts with the calm lifestyle in the small island of Cyprus (that has no rail system) and smaller towns in Greece. People here run and stress to take the bus and/or train. Living in a big city makes you realize that you have to adapt in order to be able to survive. Wake up early, as soon as the sun rises, have breakfast and that’s definitely porridge, get ready, run to the New Street Station, take the train and go to University.
Life is Birmingham is very interesting, always presenting you with new things to do. We are very happy to have had the chance to live and study here.
By Myrto Bartatila and Susanna Georgiou
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham