Moving to Birmingham City University

by Dan Hind, BSc Computer Games Technology student. 

The weeks leading up to moving were crazy and full of panic. I was excited to be moving to Birmingham to study Computer Games Technology but at the same time anxious to move from home. After massively overpacking and only just managing to squeeze everything into the back of the car we left the small seaside village of Felpham and set off for the growing city of Birmingham. The road trip took just over three hours but on Friday 8 September at 10am I arrived at my new home here in the heart of Birmingham.

Packed car moving to uni bcu

At first I didn’t know anyone even living in the same accommodation as me and the flat was entirely empty for the first night. Luckily prior to arriving, I had met a few people online who were on the same course as me. So after settling into my new accommodation I set off with my new-found friends and headed out to explore the University and surrounding areas. The bustling Bullring was infinitely larger than the measly shopping highstreets back at my old home, so much so that I almost got lost the first time. It was great fun meeting new people and exploring the city but on top of that I also took part in some of the Welcome Week activities such as talks and trips.

Computer set up moving to uni bcu

I attended the Vice Chancellor’s welcome talk and was introduced to Jaspreet Singh, the president of the Students’ Union, who then went on to explain more about all the opportunities available to students studying here are BCU. I also learnt a lot more about employability for part-time jobs and BCU’s interesting Graduate+ scheme from their respective sessions. I really was blown away by how much support BCU has to offer. It’s safe to say that these informational talks set my expectations high and reinforced my lofty ambitions for my time here at BCU.

But then came the fun part, the day trips out! The first trip I attended was the highly anticipated Ikea visit, it’s safe to say that I put my student loan to good use that day and ate my fair share of meatballs. We had great fun looking around all of the showrooms while trying to restrain ourselves from spending our whole student loan in one day. It was nice to pick up a few little things just to make my new room feel a little more like home.

Harry Potter trip bcu welcome week

The next trip was the big one. We went to Warner Bros. Studio in London to have a tour around the Making of Harry Potter exhibition. The coach was packed and the trip was fully sold out, I had heard so many good things about the tour from friends and family so I couldn’t wait to go. Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about that trip, it was so fantastic and one of the most surreal days of my life. It was one of those experiences where you really have to see it for yourself to appreciate it. Although those animatronic spiders were utterly terrifying!

I also attended the Welcome Fair, which was incredibly busy and popular. I had the chance to join a few societies such as HaCS (Hackathon and Computing Society) and learn about upcoming events such as Hack the Midlands at Millennium Point that I will definitely be attending. Not to mention the crazy amounts of freebies and informative leaflets, also lots and lots of pizza!

I think the Students’ Union deserves so much credit for arranging these great talks, trips and fair and ensuring everything ran smoothly. Thank you BCUSU for a brilliant Welcome Week.

What to pack for university

It’s that time of year again: students all around the country are packing bags, stuffing cars, and raiding homewares stores in preparation for the big move to university!

Are you moving to Birmingham this September? Perhaps you’ve already moved in and worried what you might have forgotten to bring. Check out our student Effie’s advice on student essentials.

Still looking for more information on what to bring with you? There’s also some great advice on this page.

See you soon!

The long, slow journey to my first marathon

by Laura Leyland, Senior Lecturer in Engineering.

In October, our engineering lecturer Laura will be taking part in her first marathon, the Birmingham Marathon, which finishes outside our Faculty home Millennium Point. In future posts, we will look at how she has been working with colleagues from the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences to prepare for this challenge. In this first blog, Laura explains what made her decide to take on this challenge.

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Insomnia 61: The UK’s Biggest Gaming Festival

by Dan Hind, BSc Computer Games Technology student. 

For almost 20 years now Multiplay has been hosting what they claim to be “the UK’s biggest gaming festival”. From its humble beginnings in a small office in Swindon with a few hundred people, it is now filling out the UK’s largest exhibition centre, the Birmingham NEC. Insomnia started primarily as a LAN event for people to bring their own computers to compete in tournaments to win prize money. Since then it has grown to a massive exhibition full of upcoming games, stage events featuring popular YouTube personalities, a showcase of small indie titles, retro games, tabletop games, lots of evening events, and the list goes on and on – there’s even a live robot wars tournament!

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Brilliant inventions that shaped our world

Did you know that the first person to talk about ‘de-bugging’ a computer was Admiral Grace Hopper in the 1940s? Admiral Hopper was a pioneer of computer programming, and worked on Harvard’s Mark I computer, a five-ton, room-size machine. She used the term ‘de-bugging’ in a very literal way when she had to remove a moth from the machine. Hopper’s commitment to the idea of machine-independent programming languages led to the development of COBOL, an early programming language which is still in use today.

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Looking back on Innovation Fest 2017

This year our Innovation Festival was on Friday 26 May, but it was such an amazing day we’re still celebrating! We’ve written a little round-up in case you missed it, or if you enjoy reminiscing like we do!

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Celebrating Women in Architecture on #EthelDay

The name ‘Ethel Day’ is inspired by Ethel Mary Charles, the first woman to join the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Ethel joined RIBA on 5 July 1898, and the attitudes of the time meant that her journey into architecture was not straightforward. As a woman, she was barred from attending the Architectural Association School of Architecture, and she struggled to obtain commercial development projects, which were reserved for male architects. Things have come a long way in the last 119 years, and we have seen lots of women making history in built environment, engineering, and architecture roles.

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Celebrating Women in Engineering and the Built Environment

by Georgia Clark, MEng Mechanical Engineering student.

On 23 June, staff and students from the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment celebrated International Women in Engineering Day by hosting a special event for Year 9 pupils from across Birmingham. Mechanical Engineering student, Georgia Clark, has written us an account of the day.

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Lilly’s placement with Renault Formula One #INWED17

Tomorrow is International Women in Engineering Day (#INWED17), and this week we’re celebrating some of our female academics and students on our Twitter and Facebook pages. At Birmingham City University we are committed to advancing the careers of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM), and we recently won an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, honouring our work in combating gender inequality.

We interviewed Liliana Lauko, one of our Engineering students who did a year-long placement in the design department of the Renault Formula One team, about how her work placement has helped her studies and her career. Lilly has had the opportunity to work on the cars driven at circuits around the world, and she has even designed some of her own parts for the race cars to improve their performance.

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How Birmingham can help to clean urban air

by Dr Michaela Kendall, Visiting Professor.

Air Pollution in Cities is Nothing New

Since the VW emissions scandal broke, air pollution in cities has remained a top public health concern. With such stories rarely out of the news, you could be forgiven for thinking that something has recently emerged from medical science illustrating the dangers of combustion-generated air pollution to human health.

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