by Kathryn Orr
Birmingham was a very exciting place to be this summer, as we welcomed athletes and visitors from all over the world for the 2022 Commonwealth Games! At EP Birmingham, we also welcomed students from all over the world – Brazil, Egypt, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine! Our students got to experience the unique atmosphere in the city, as well as enjoy a variety of activities and events celebrating the Games. Read the article below to see what EP students got up to!
First of all, we took students on several walking tours of the city throughout the summer - we visited St. Philip’s Cathedral, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (where we enjoyed cream tea!), the Library of Birmingham (the largest public library in the UK!), and the canals.
When asked what they know about Birmingham, many of our students say “Peaky Blinders!” Of course, we had to organise several Peaky Blinders-related activities this summer. We visited the West Midlands Police Museum to see some of the cells where the real Peaky Blinders were held, as well as try on some uniforms! We also had fun in a Peaky Blinders-themed Escape Room.
A summer in the UK wouldn’t be complete without a picnic in the park! Our students enjoyed chatting in the sun and playing football at the beautiful Cannon Hill Park. We also paid visits to the Botanical Gardens and Aston Hall & Gardens to take more of the city’s green spaces in the warm weather.
Our students got to experience the Commonwealth Games action up close starting with the Queen’s Baton Relay on 28th July. The atmosphere in Victoria Square was electric as Sir Lenny Henry arrived bearing the Baton on the final leg of its 294-day journey home to Birmingham. The celebration continued into the evening with music and dance performances from local groups.
The following week, we travelled to Alexander Stadium to see the athletics, with front-row seats to events like the 200 metres and 1500 metres races. We also went to see the beach volleyball which was happening just a short walk from our campus. The players gave it all they had as they competed 2-a-side, diving into the sand to make incredible saves. We were all on the edge of our seats for the final men’s game between Canada and The Gambia - the teams were neck and neck until the very end, when Canada finally scored the winning point. The entertainment didn’t stop during the breaks, as dancers came out to perform – even the volunteers sweeping the sand back into place were dancing along to the music!
The Commonwealth Games may be over, but the excitement continues with the Birmingham 2022 festival, which will continue for several months yet, showcasing Birmingham’s culture and history with exhibitions, performances and much more. Why not come and see it for yourself!