Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

The best places to study in Birmingham city centre

The best places to study in Birmingham city centre

The second semester is upon us and that means starting to study to get that First Class degree, so I thought it would be good to let you know all about the places I believe are the best for studying in Birmingham city centre.

It really depends from person to person. In my case, I am surrounded by all kinds of distractions at home: Netflix, my phone, my bed (I get so sleepy if I study at home). And I know this seems weird, but I can’t study in a completely silent place and at the same time I can’t concentrate with music as well, so I had to find a middle ground. My solution was starting to study in local places, not too crowded but not too quiet either.

Coffee shops

  • Java Lounge Coffee House: This is one of my favourite places to drink good coffee and study. It is not too big but I really like the calm environment, the music (it’s relaxing and not too loud so it is acceptable) and the team working there is really nice. For the assignments the lighting is perfect as well as the number of plugs. It’s located just five minutes away from UCB, on Colmore Row. The closing time during the week is 8pm.
  • Starbucks: This is a pretty obvious one, it’s almost impossible to enter a Starbucks and not see people staring at their laptops. I’m going to be honest: for the price, the coffee here is not my favourite but the environment for me is perfect. I’ve tried to study in both the Colmore Row Starbucks and the New Street one, but the downstairs area on New Street Starbucks totally convinced me. In there people are normally always quiet and so there are no distractions, not even from people going in and out of the shop. There is even a big table that can be used for group works. The closing time is 10.30pm so it leaves you a lot of time to work on your assignments but be aware that the downstairs area does close a bit earlier.
  • Tim Hortons: This recently-opened coffee shop is also located in New Street, just opposite to Starbucks. I am actually trying it for the first time as I write this post, and it is more than approved. I really like places that have an area far away from the door and the counter, and this one has an upstairs space. The French Vanilla with a shot of espresso is to die for and it is not as expensive as its neighbour Starbucks or Java Lounge. It’s been easy to concentrate as once again the music is just perfect as well as the lighting and there are a lot of plugs near all tables. The closing time is great for the ones who like or can only work on their assignments late at night: 11.30pm.

This is my top three in terms of coffee shops but there are others I would love to try such as Pret A Manger in New Street as they also have an upstairs area, or the John Lewis Cafe that always looks quiet.
On the other hand, there are places that haven’t worked for me before but it can work for you. I love the drinks at Second Cup but unfortunately it can get a bit crowded and it gets difficult to focus, especially being a small coffee shop. The other one I also found difficult to concentrate in was 200 Degrees Coffee Shop. The inside is beautiful but I just found it too dark to study.

Other places I love to study in:

  • ThinkSpace at McIntyre House: You don’t always need to spend money to be in an amazing place to study, and one of my favourites in UCB is this one. It is an open space, there is free WiFi, lots of tables and plugs, and if you do fancy a coffee with your studies then there’s a cheaper Starbucks available. I can always concentrate in here, and there are two private cabins to study in if you want to do group work or just need a bit more silence. The only downside is that sometimes people do speak a little too loud while in there.
  • The library in Summer Row: A little bit quieter and with an endless list of resources that you can use around you, the library is perfect if you prefer silence and a bit more privacy than the one you get in ThinkSpace. If you are struggling with your assignment you can always book a visit to the Academic Skills Centre, which is situated on the top floor of the library.

I also really like the Library of Birmingham but unfortunately for me it just closes too early in the day, so I prefer to choose other options.

So here you have it, my all-time favourite places to study and have a cuppa in Birmingham city centre. Once again, these are the ones that work for me but this doesn’t mean they will work for everyone. Give them a try and let me know your thoughts about these places. Happy studying!

Beijinho,

Maria



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