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Home away from Home

Staying thousands of miles away from your loved ones is very challenging. I had grown so used to staying in protected environments and having family visit me every few weeks that I didn’t anticipate just how different it would be once I moved to another country.

I have to confess, the first few days were difficult. There was so much happening- lectures, presentations, cooking and cleaning, budgeting, finding my way around the city and so much more. The thing that helped me get through it was- friends.

Now, I know a lot of people who struggle with making new friends. What I would like to tell them is, we are all in the same boat. Everyone is new to the University and is going through exactly what you are.

Here are some things that you must do/keep in mind if you are planning to study in Manchester-

  1. Every day in college make one friend. Say Hi to the person sitting next to you in the lecture!
  2. Ask for help! I can’t stress this enough that you are not alone. The university goes out of its way to help students, especially in the first few weeks. All you have to do is ask.
  3. UoM has an international cohort, step out of your comfort zone and talk to people from different countries. It’s intriguing to see just how different we all are and yet we share a common vision.
  4. Don’t rush to your flat the moment the lecture gets over, stay and interact with your course mates.
  5. Make plans and turn up for events. It’s a lot easier to stay in bed when it’s freezing outside but making that effort will go a long way.
  6. Knock on the door of your flatmates and get to know them.
  7. Be open to new experiences. A new experience awaits you every day.

I started asking my friends if they wanted to go shopping with me or just go grab a coffee and almost always they said yes. Ever since, I have called them over when I felt homesick, surprised them on their birthdays, been for trips with them and my Chinese friends even cooked an authentic Chinese meal for me!

After spending 5 months here, I can say I have found my home away from home in Manchester.  And I am sure that you will find yours here too!

Payal Mehta with four student friends

Payal Mehta and two friends sitting on a sofa