Masters blogs: Studying in Manchester – 10 secrets I wish I had known

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As the end of the second semester draws closer, I have taken some time to reflect on what has gone well, what I have learnt and what I wish I knew from the start. I have compiled a list of 10 things about the city and University that I wish I had known since the beginning. Hopefully these tips will be useful.

1. Free books

For those on a budget, which is most of us, it is possible to rent textbooks from the University Library for the entire semester. There are only a handful of books available though and they’re usually gone after the first few days of classes but this is a great alternative to purchasing textbooks. Additionally, there’s a new programme where students can request the textbooks they need and the library will order extra copies. I have not participated in this programme and there may be a limit to the number of students this is available to.

2. Business School library (and free books)

Additionally, Alliance Manchester Business School has its own library! This library, the Precinct Library, is located just across from Blackwell’s bookstore on Oxford Road. It’s a nice place to study. During the first week of the semester this library also has free business textbooks which have been donated from previous students.

3. Picturesque cafe at the centre of campus

One of my favorite places to take a break during the day is in Christie’s Bistro which is located inside the beautiful Whitworth Building. The cafe can become quite busy during lunch hours but is usually quiet during the afternoon. They have a great selection of coffee, tea and food but the atmosphere is what makes this restaurant incredibly unique.

Christie's bistro

Christie’s Bistro – inside Whitworth Hall

4. Free yoga and meditation

Coursework during the semester can become quite stressful but thankfully the University offers free yoga and meditation though the student-ran Meditation Society. Every week students can attend the class for free and learn how to unwind while working on flexibility and balance. I found the class to be a helpful break between meetings during stressful weeks.

5. City Centre Library

One of the most notable buildings in the city centre, which few people know about, is the Central Library. It’s the round white building just past the top of Oxford Road. This is another great place to study and its located just a short walk from the University. They also have a great cafe on the ground floor a beautiful silent reading room on the second floor.

city library reading room

City Library Reading Room

6. Free classes and activities

During the first week or two of each semester, societies at the University offer free introductory classes or taster sessions during an event fair. This is a great way to try a salsa class, go rock climbing and meet new people.

7. Free food

Every Monday-Thursday Kro Bar, located in the centre of campus, has buy one get one free offers on food. On Tuesday they offer free burgers and on other days they offer free Swedish food or ribs. The burgers here are pretty good, especially after my 3-6 pm class on Tuesdays!

8. Free coffee

Many of the on campus cafes offer hot drink loyalty cards which give students a free drink after the 10th purchase. The cafes also offer hot water for free or around 50p if students bring their own mug which was great for me as I’m more of a tea drinker.

9. Nap spot on campus

On the second floor of the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons there is a nap pod where students can take a quick nap. There is also a Wellbeing Room in the Simon Building where students can go to meditate or take a quick nap during the day.

10. Library workshops

The library offers a number of free workshops for students. Some of the workshops provide academic tips such as academic writing or presentation skills. Other workshops focus on general issues like time management, stress relief or concentration.

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