Meet some of our International Physics & Astronomy Students


Giovanni Armando from Italy - MSci Theoretical Physics

Why did you choose Birmingham?

I could not have made a better choice for my university education. The main reason why I chose the University of Birmingham is the flexibility that comes with the course. I had initially chosen the MSci Physics course. After having realized that I enjoyed the mathematical part of the course the most, I had the chance to switch onto the MSci Theoretical Physics programme. This aspect of our department allows students to focus on the subject they enjoy the most and in which they can obtain the best results. Furthermore, throughout my first year here at Birmingham, the staff of the Physics & Astronomy department have proven to be very helpful on several occasions. My tutor has always been ready to answer any questions I had during tutorials. All lecturers have been very supportive whenever I needed to ask them to clarify some doubts that had arisen during lectures and students have always been encouraged to go knock on their doors if we ever need to. 

What are the most important aspects of studying and living at Birmingham?
The student life here at Birmingham is just awesome - it provides everything that a student might ask for! The campus is located just a few miles away from the city centre. I find its position very enjoyable, since it is isolated enough to feel submerged in a green environment and yet a few minutes away from the city centre, where students can easily go for a walk during the day or to party with friends on a night out. Moreover, the University of Birmingham has one of the biggest and most vibrant international communities and has many cultural societies. For international students like me, this aspect can be very helpful. Through the Italian Society I have been able to meet and make friends with other students from my country, whom I can often relate to, being in the same position as them, in a foreign country. I also joined other cultural societies and got to know students from many different countries and I feel that making friends with people from so many different countries and with so many different cultures has helped me have a more open mind. I am extremely lucky to be in a university that provides me with this opportunity.

Edna Gamma Vaz Da Conceicao from Portugal - MSci Theoretical Physics and Applied Mathematics (TPAM)

image1 Edna

Why did you choose Birmingham?

Brought up in Portugal, I decided to move to the United Kingdom to pursue my studies in higher education. Before moving to England, the idea of starting university at a different place was both daunting and exciting. However, I had nothing to worry about. My first few weeks were amazing.

What are the most important aspects of studying and living at Birmingham?

The transition from college to university was made as easy as possible, with weekly tutorials being a key element in this process. They contributed to enhancing my general appreciation of the subject, but they were also relevant to cover any gaps due to different educational backgrounds.

A feature of TPAM is that the perfect synergy between both subjects makes my student life diversified and rewarding. Also, as there are fewer of us, we get to know each other very well which, when you are away from home, is of great importance.  The way the programmes are structured constantly encourages me to think 'outside of the box' and assures me everything has been planned to push me towards success.

Being at a university with such a multicultural environment and a vibrant community means it is incredibly easy to call Birmingham home away from home. With a wide selection of societies and volunteering groups, there is always something for everyone, which makes it impossible to be bored at all.

A tip from Edna.....

The induction events I attended on freshers’ week really helped me to get to know my classmates, as well as other physics students, which assured me it would be easy to make friends given how friendly everyone was.  Get involved!


Julia Dancu from Romania - MSci Physics with Particle Physics and Cosmology

Julia Dancu

Why did you choose Birmingham?

Since an early age, I have always dreamt of going abroad to study at a prestigious university. Looking on both national and international rankings and league tables, it appeared that the University of Birmingham would be the best institution for my needs.  It has one of the best physics departments in the United Kingdom, good relations with CERN (where I desire to work in the future), together with promising career prospects for the future and a high rate of graduate employability by top companies.


What are the most important aspects of studying and living at Birmingham?

The academic staff are really nice, helpful, open-minded and eager to extend our knowledge of physics.

The weekly tutorials provide us with extra support not only on our studies and academic development but also offer an opportunity to talk about anything that may be concerning us. This feeling of security is particularly important for international students, as we are far from home and need someone sympathetic to talk to.

The School of Physics and Astronomy has a variety of societies, so everyone can find the one that suits them, the most popular being the Poynting Physics Society and the Astro Society.

2016 will see the opening of Birmingham’s first 50 metre pool, plus a large capacity sports hall.

Don't forget....

Birmingham has its own airport, which is crucial for international students!


Oliver Hall from The Netherlands - MSci Physics & Astrophysics

IMG6710-oliver-hallWhy did you choose Birmingham?

Moving abroad to the UK was a scary but exciting decision, and it is the best choice I've ever made. Moving country not only helps you master a language and meet new people, but also broadens your mind and makes you a lot more aware of social issues and cultures that you may have not come in contact with back home.

Doing my course abroad in Birmingham has been nothing short of an amazing experience, and one I can wholeheartedly recommend it to any student looking to study abroad.

What are the most important aspects of studying and living at Birmingham?

The University of Birmingham is an incredibly supportive institution, and I've had a great experience here so far.  It was very easy to find help when I needed it, such as when settling into halls or trying to relate the work I did in a different educational system to the standard of the courses here.

The area surrounding campus and Birmingham city centre are very diverse, with something for everybody and any student will quickly feel at home with what’s on offer.


Long (Ronnie) Tang from China - MSci Theoretical Physics


Why did you choose Birmingham?

I chose the University of Birmingham because of the University itself and the City. Living so close to the city centre certainly brings a lot of convenience to my daily life, in terms of shopping, food and entertainment. What I like the most about the University is the main library, which contains an ample amount of resources to satisfy my curiosity! I think I was right to have chosen to study at Birmingham. 

 What are the most important aspects of studying and living at Birmingham?

I was excited to have the opportunity to explore some relatively modern theories such as special relativity and quantum mechanics, while continuing to develop a more sophisticated understanding on classical physics via more advanced mathematics.

The problem-solving skills workshop was quite a rewarding experience as those skills have been vital for the increasingly challenging topics towards the second semester, which I find very fascinating, in particular the Electromagnetism module and the Chaos module.


Lennart Wissel from Germany - International exchange Erasmus student

My thoughts on living near the University Campus...

In Selly Oak and Selly Park you can find local 'low cost' accommodation within a walking distance of about 30 minutes from the University. The local canals provide good routes in and out of the city, both for cycling and running, plus the beautiful Cannon Hill Park and Highbury Park invite you to enjoy nature in the middle of an otherwise bustling city.

My thoughts about the City...

Birmingham is a big city and the university has its own train station, getting you into the centre of Birmingham in less than 10 minutes.  The city centre has many shops, restaurants and pubs and there is a great mix of older buildings alongside modern architecture, such as the new library.

A tip from Lennart...

There are always plenty of social events, talks and presentations going on, which give a good insight into the advances being made in modern day physics subjects.  Please go along and enjoy the experiences!


Evilina Zalyaeva from Russia - MSci Physics with Particle Physics and Cosmology

DSC01668 evilina

Why did you choose Birmingham?

After completing Year 12 in the United Kingdom I was faced with the challenge to    choose the right university for my future studies and the University of Birmingham was my initial choice. The incredible green surroundings, the study facilities and most importantly, specialists in the area that I have chosen to study have motivated me to work as hard as I possibly could to be offered a place.

Hard work always pays off and my happiness was complemented by a substantial scholarship offered by the University based on my A-level grades. This has been incredibly useful as most of it went towards getting the study materials needed for my course.

What are the most important aspects of studying and living at Birmingham?

The most important aspect of my studies is the inspiration that comes to me when I am engaged in my learning. I do not simply mean working hard and solving problems, although this is an important part of our learning process, but rather it comes from the lectures that I attend every day and the enthusiasm that I see in the academic staff that truly love their subjects and share their scientific eagerness with us.

Every day we have an opportunity to discuss science behind everyday life, share our most embarrassing questions and always have them answered. The friendly environment that we study in never makes you feel underestimated but persuades you to challenge yourself every day and never give up.