My first weeks as an international student in Manchester

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I got off the plane from my 9-hour flight armed with 4 full suitcases, a list of tasks to complete, a list of things to buy, and an ever-growing list of things to do in Manchester. I was feeling excited, exhausted and so incredibly nervous. I was ready to hit the ground running, drop off my suitcases at the hotel my dad and I were staying at and start crossing things off all of my lists. I had a plan of how the week would go and what I would accomplish each day. But, as life usually works, things did not go exactly to plan.

Being an International student, there were a lot of things I needed to get done within the first few weeks. Most importantly though, I needed to set up a bank account. And in order to do that I needed to have my BRP (biometric residence permit) card. It took a few days for my BRP card to be ready to collect, which delayed opening the bank account, which in turn delayed my getting a cellphone plan. But it all worked out, and by the end of my first week, I had all three.

Moving away from home is always nerve-wracking and moving to an entirely different country had me feeling more nervous than I ever had before. I am so lucky and grateful that my dad was able to travel with me to help me get all the important stuff done and to help me settle in. He helped me shop for all the things I would need, from bed sheets and bath towels to notebooks and pens, and he helped me explore Manchester. I did more sightseeing around Manchester in that first week than I have in the two months since (not to say that I haven’t been sightseeing at all, but lectures, group projects, reading, and assignments have really taken precedent).

Once lectures started and I made friends, I settled in pretty quickly. Everyone in the programme is very friendly and we are such a diverse group, in nationalities and ages, which I have truly loved. We get to hear so many different viewpoints and experiences, which makes class discussions that much more interesting. So far, this semester has been very challenging and so rewarding. I struggled with the transition into being a full-time student again at first, but I quickly found my footing and have really been enjoying the learning process. All of the lecturers are nice, friendly, and so helpful. It is nearing the end of the semester now, which means assignment due dates are right around the corner quickly followed by exams at the start of next year. Time has really flown by!

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Rebecca Benedetti

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