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The attraction of Manchester in the winter

The year-end came just in a blink of eyes and so did the end of my first semester here. It is overwhelming for me to realise how fast time flies.

Reflecting back on this past month, it has been a roller-coaster ride for me. At the beginning of December, my course mates and I were busy with the coursework assignments as the deadlines were approaching in the last week of teaching. Most of us were struggling with Portfolio Investments and Cross-Sectional Econometrics assignments. We dealt with Bloomberg for the Portfolio Investments and STATA for CSE. The projects were quite interesting as we were asked to apply the theories learnt in lectures and get practical experience with real-life cases. Both of them required us to compile a 15-pages report, explaining our interpretation about the result we got from the software. We worked hard and stayed up until late at night to complete the report.

Our last classes finished in the second week of December. Since I have exams after the holiday, I decided to not go back home. I planned to utilise my time to prepare for the examinations and do some revisions. However, I am a proponent of the cliché saying, “work hard play harder”. Right after the last lecture, I celebrated the beginning of Christmas break by watching Alan Walker concert. Manchester attracts so many musicians to come and perform in the city and I could say that the crowd was awesome! There are so many events all year long and I believe there is always something that suits everyone’s favourite. I really enjoyed the performance and expected to watch another next time.

Aside from strolling around the city, I also visited Oxford and London with friends for a week. They are both lovely cities, in a different way. I fall in love with the antiquity and quietness of Oxford, while at the same time love the metropolitan vibes of the bustling capital. As this was our first time going to London, we went to the mainstream tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, and many other places.

Interestingly, since we were there during Christmas, public transportation did not work and we had to walk nearly 28,000 steps in a day. But it was all paid off because every corner was beautifully decorated and we took so many photos here and there. London has literally everything and what I will miss the most are the great restaurants. Moreover, there was Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. The park was turned into a huge theme park with many thrilling attractions. With all those amazing experiences, I felt so much blessed that my first Christmas away from family did not seem as gloomy as it might be.

A Christmas bauble with a reflection of Amanda Kusmajaya and her friends