April 2018

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The month of March began with some very unexpected winds and blizzards from the East that saw a sharp decline in temperature. Just when everyone had had enough of the cold and was ready for spring, there came loads of snow with real feels of temperature going down to -7 degrees! It would be wrong to say that the city wasn’t affected: delayed/cancelled transport and postponed football matches were just the tip of the iceberg. However, for an international student like me, who comes from a near-equator country, having never experienced snow in its true sense and used to loads of sweating every single day, this was more than welcome. More than anything, the city seemed so beautiful with the heaps of snow!

The second week was less cold but the snow struck again in the third! Weather aside, the month was eventful for a lot of other reasons! I had some friends visiting me and I took this opportunity to see the Manchester Art Gallery with them. It is in city centre and open to everyone for free. The displays there were truly marvellous, with sections on various ancient civilisations, both within and outside Europe. What was particularly memorable was a painting that had been restored after being taken down, just that now it had been opened to public comment and had sticky notes all around it! This was the first time I saw something like this in a gallery and it was indeed time well spent reading all the different views being expressed. Needless to say, there were some very off-topic, but hilarious comments and you couldn’t help but chuckle at them!

I booked in for the Manchester United stadium tour, something that I had now waited too long for! This is something I would recommend to everyone, football fan or not. There were in fact, people on the tour who despised Manchester United due to the support of their own respective clubs, but came for the tour and were amazed by the museum and stadium. With a display of all trophies, club memorabilia, as well as interactive displays of club history, this was a remarkable experience. This club, in particular, has a long and interesting history, with numerous showcases of resilience! The gift shop on the exit literally had every single thing you could think of, in United colours! Also, make sure you have your meal in the Red Café!

Let us not forget the true reason I am here! My programme, and studies; all of which continued. The classes continued and as I mentioned in my earlier blogs, I was loving how this semester there was so much more application to what we were studying. There were some additional lab sessions and as we neared the Easter break, we were introduced to group projects. One thing about these projects is that they provide so much learning and practical skills’ development that I really enjoy and look forward to them. There are no restrictions to being creative and the sky is the limit in terms of ideas for modelling, use of software etc. I personally feel that these provide a great learning opportunity, be it for research skills, teamwork, programming, or merely the development of subject knowledge.

There was a lot of campaigning all through the university as the elections for the Executive Council for the Students’ Union were to be held in March! Posters, pamphlets and brochures could be found everywhere you went, even bathrooms! I was quite amazed at the fact that even international students could nominate themselves for these posts and the University would support them in their visa extension for their term come the end of their studies! It is indeed great to see that the University was taking extra steps to ensure representation at its highest level!

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