I’ve officially been in Manchester for more than two months! I’m not entirely sure if time is going fast or slow. It seems like the course is moving so quickly, but at the same time Manchester already feels like home. I still check both directions multiple times when crossing the street, my brain unsure if buses and cars driving on the left side of the road is correct, yet I don’t think twice when trying another new cuisine on Curry Mile.
One thing is for certain, I feel very welcome here. The diversity of staff and students seems to unite everyone. Maybe it’s because we have all felt a little bit out of place before, but whatever it is, people are so inviting. During my first week I grabbed fish and chips with a classmate who took me to Kro Bar (a great two-for-one lunch special café, highly recommend). He was the first of many who have since showed me around campus and the city.
After two months I can confirm and debunk the rumours that are often attached to Manchester. Firstly, it definitely rains. You will need to invest in an umbrella or two—in case the first one is destroyed by the wind—and a rain jacket. That being said, it doesn’t rain every day, nor does it rain all day. The city and its people are equipped for the weather, and after a week or two, you will be too.
Second, Manchester is relatively safe. When I first told friends and family that I was coming to study in Manchester, a common response was, “Is it safe?” As one of the biggest cities in the UK, Manchester comes with the same risks as any populous city. But Manchester is well equipped to provide safety for its residents. Streets are well-lit in the evening and if you maintain common safety procedures, nothing makes you feel at risk.
Third, there is more to do than go to a pub. As someone who doesn’t drink, this was an actual concern for me. Manchester’s reputation precedes it, but with every bar or club, there is a handful of other activities. During welcome week I was able to find societies for a number of things I was interested in including language learning, basketball, an entrepreneurship group, an international society and a chance to volunteer with homeless dogs. In addition, there are many things to do in the city. During the first month I went to a musical at the Palace Theatre, tried so much new food, and visited the stunning John Rylands Library.
If you are new to the University of Manchester, I suggest taking advantage of this University and its city as quickly as possible. There is definitely something for everyone here. The Student’s Union provides wonderful information for anything you could possibly want to do. And on top of that, if you don’t see exactly what you want, you can start your own society.
More than anything, I recommend putting yourself out there and meeting new people. With the busy beginning of a school year it can be easy to put things over people. However, forming new relationships will be the most beneficial and memorable part of your time here. It has been for me already.