in PHPMyAdmin or MySQL Workbench or using MySQL on the command line you can run the following SQL:
<font color='#000000'>SHOW VARIABLES LIKE 'character_set_database';</font>
and then run
SHOW VARIABLES LIKE 'character_set_client';
these will show you the current character sets for your MySQL server and then the seconds shows the character set configuration in the client you are using. When you USE a database you can then run this SQL
SHOW CHARACTER SET;
SHOW COLLATION LIKE 'utf8%';
; the first determines the character set of the database in use (you will know that it is use when you can run a SELECT statement in a given table and it runs correctly then you issue the aforementioned SQL. The second SQL tidbit will output all possible UTF-8 supported collations currently in your server.
I don't use PHPMyAdmin, but I do use MySQL Workbench. In Workbench you can see the collation that is assigned to each table when you issue a Create or Alter command (via the GUI) This is a pretty easy way to see it; although doing the SQL commands I've shown you above will provide a complete picture in just a few lines of SQL.