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American moving to Birmingham UK? any advice helps!?


I am a 25 yr old female moving to England to attend postgrad engineering program in the University of Birmingham and will be living Vale Village of Church Road. I lived in Russia for 12 yrs then lived in US for another 12 yrs and hopefully can make UK my new home. I have visited England many times and always wanted to move/live there.

I have couple of friends living in London but other than that I am on my own. I am sure I will make friends through school and housemates, but I will be pretty lonely and lost for the first few weeks.

I have few questions that i would like help on, please! Any advice would help

1. Banking - which bank would you recommend? In the States most banks don't charge monthly fees, is this same in UK? I heard HSBC is a good one.

2. I am hoping to find a job since living in UK is pricey and good thing that I am allowed to work. Anywhere is better than nothing but I will trying applying in pubs as I imagine that's the easiest place of finding work. Any advice on looking for work? In the states, for minimum wage jobs - we don't need a CV/resume but I did notice that lots of online job adds request a CV. is this pretty typical?

3. which places, museum and etc in the city would you recommend to visit? I am hoping my friend will come up for a visit and we can explore the city together

4. Where to buy food - which market/store is the cheapest?

5. Hows public transportation? In Russia I ridden plenty of busses but in US I only used a cars :( so feel nervous taking a bus as I am afraid to get lost. Does Birmingham have tube like London? for some reason taking tube seems easier than a bus.

6. Are people pretty nice in England? I have met plenty of british people and are friends with few but all of that was done whilst traveling. But living and socializing with locals is a bit different - any advice? I am well behaved and respectful, will i be judged because i have an American accent? I know what most countries think about Americans that they are obnoxious and loud but I have met pretty annoying Europeans in my travel days too.

I am very excited on moving to England - coming from California I am happy to see snow again :)


6 Answers

  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    If you are buying anything or searching for the best deals us this then register with this website which is 100% free and everything and anything you buy you will get cash back

    1.check the best deals.......standard UK banks are normally non fee......check out 'student accounts' as many give great freebies moneysavingexpert will tell you

    2 more normal will be an application form, but you will need a CV and as a student, with a student visa you are allowed to work only 20 hours a week, no more or you will be breaking your visa ar likely to have to send in a CV and then will be expected to fill in an application form

    3 ............ Warwick, Leamington Spa, Stratford on Avon are just down the road

    4 check out compare prices online for shopping lidl, Aldi, Asda, Morrisons the markets


    6 "think about Americans that they are obnoxious and loud" true although thankfully not all are 'up themselves'

    You are living in Edgbaston, near the University so the people will be the same one you go to University with............ Edgbaston residents are less likely to mix with students and Birmingham is multiculural.

    You will be on a student visa, unless you have a European passport, so you will be expected to return home once your study has finished and no time spent in the UK as a student counts towards an ILR so it will not help you 'live' in the UK long is very difficult for Americans to get a live/work visa to the UK...............................

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  • 8 years ago


    banks are as you mention with Natwest and Coop Bank as well. Coop has a strong ethical investment attitude. Normal bank accounts are free and can get cash out of almost every ATM in the country for free.

    For jobs you will need a CV, there may be contacts through the Uni, also registering with the agencies is a good start

    The centre of Birmingham itself is small and can walk around and explore the different places, good way of getting to know it - tourist info and brum websites give an idea of different places to go.

    have a look at they have groups that meet in birmingham for different activities

    supermarkets sainsbury, tesco, aldi, lidl, morrisons, waitrose, cooperative - cheapest are probably

    aldi, lidl, tesco

    buses and trains generally run into or out of the city, usually you get used to route from home to work/uni and a few other places, generally if you get lost, jump on a bus that heads back into town.

    Britain is a pretty multi-racial/ethnic/reglious country and Brum is no exception.

    With regard to 'Americans' as an American friend of mine said, learn the difference between indoor voice and outdoor voice, ie speak less loudly when indoors :)

    Hope that helps.


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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago


    I'll try to answer these as best as I can.

    1) Most of the bigger banks have student accounts that are free as long as you stay in credit, but can be expensive if you regularly go overdrawn. Barclays, Nat West and HSBC are probably some of the best, but you should also check out the building societies, they may have deals for students.

    2) It's probably best to write yourself a CV, then you'll have it if you need it. Most places will probably ask for it anyway.

    3) We have lots of museums, so it's really down to what you're interested in. Most are free, but there are some where you have to pay an entry fee, although there are usually discounts for students. There are a few 'What's on in Birmingham' web sites, so it's probably best for you to search for the sort of thing that you like to see.

    4) The bigger supermarkets, such as Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose are reasonably priced, and ones such as ASDA, LIDL and ALDI are a bit cheaper, but their products aren't as good quality. There are usually corner shops that tend to stay open late. They are very good for items you run out of or forgot, and can be similar prices to the bigger shops.

    5) We have a reasonably good bus service, if you use it regularly it's best to buy a weekly or monthly pass, or even a term time one. For occasional use, you can buy a day ticket for the same price as two single tickets, so that can work out cheaper. We don't have a tube system, but we do have trains. They are reasonably reliable, but a bit more expensive than the buses, although you can get a combined bus / train day ticket if you need one.

    6) I think most of us are quite friendly. I met an American woman who was over here for 12 months several years ago, and not only have we kept in touch but I've visited her and her husband in the USA a few times since she went back.

    Finally, I must warn you that we haven't had much snow for the last few years, but when we do get it we just grind to a halt, we never seem to be prepared for it.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    1. Barclay's, Lloyds TSB and HSBS are the three top ones, although I use Barclay's and would recommend it to anyone, never has any problems with it before, and you do pay monthly.

    2. You will typically need a CV to find ANY job, even minimum wage ones. Currently employment in England is worse than it is in America.

    3. As for museums and touristic things around Birmingham, I'm really not sure you'll have to Google that one.

    4. Tesco, ASDA and Sainsbury's are the top 3 supermarkets. We also have Waitrose and Mark's and Spencer's but those are more expensive.

    5. Birmingham does have a tube system and also lots of buses which is a common mode of transport. Driving a car won't be hectic there like it is in London as traffic is nowhere near as bad.

    6. It really depends on the type of people you associate yourself with. Generally speaking, English people are FAR more reserved than Americans, and we're known for it. Just be yourself, I doubt anyone is going to judge you on your accent. The only big difference you'll find in socialising is the British sense of humour, which is far different from the American sense. Look up Lee Evans or Michael Mcintyre for an example. I think you'll be alright though :)

    Good luck.

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  • Rhonda
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Don't tell me...Your friends who tell you that we don't like Americans have never been to UK (or anywhere else). A lot of Americans think they will be disliked in UK. In fact, the reverse is true. Most of us like Americans. You will feel welcome. You accent will make no difference. We are more reserved than Americans but we make good friends when you get to know us. At 17, you will go to a college to study A levels or be in a school with a "Sixth Form". You will easily make friends. After that, you could go to university. Don't tell everybody that USA is the best place in the world for everything. Think how bad that would sound if somebody came to USA and said UK was best for everything. Have a good time!

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  • 8 years ago

    Cheapest food store asda or Aldi

    Source(s): Me
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