Having submitted the last essay on 16 December, we finally had our Christmas break. Enjoying some days of Christmas in Manchester was exciting, and the city was beautifully decorated. The main attractions were the Christmas markets all over the city centre, where there were different food and drinks, especially German, and several gifts shops. The principal market was located at Albert Square, where a giant Santa Claus was its distinctive feature. Also, if you wanted to experience more of a wintry Christmas, you could ice-skate at Whitworth Street.
These holidays could be lovely in Manchester, but many of us as international students miss our families a lot at this time or simply want to take advantage of the free time to travel, know more places and create more memories. Therefore, to harness the break, some students explored around the UK or made a tour some days to Europe, others went back home to share Christmas and New Year with their families, and some others just stayed here resting from the hard work.
In my case, I chose the family time and travelled back to Colombia for two weeks. Those were such great moments. I loved to share all my adventures and learning in Manchester with my family, as well as enjoy the traditional celebrations and of course eat a lot of local food. Those two weeks helped me to reload energies to continue studying with the best attitude. On the other hand, some classmates decided to visit Europe. In fact, there was a group of IME’s students who planned a trip together. I think this was a very good idea since they supported each other during the trip, saved money sharing the account and most important, they strengthened their friendly ties.
For people who stayed in the UK, one of the best plans for New Year’s Eve was to walk around London and look at the world-famous fireworks. Also, Trafalgar Square and Regent Street were really nicely decorated, and it was worth visiting them to take a lot of pictures.
Another great option was New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh. Although the city is not so big, the fireworks are famous as well, and people celebrate in the streets, integrating residents and visitors. Indeed, according to the Daily Mail, Edinburgh is the second best option to spend that night in the UK. Actually, not one, but a three-night celebration because of Edinburgh’s famous Hogmanay festival, starting on 30 December and finishing on 1 January.
However, after all the celebrations and trips, holidays have come to an end. As soon as we came back, we had to start quickly with the pending tasks to finally end the first semester. In particular, we had to select the optional courses for the second semester and of course, it demanded time since we had to read all the courses’ details to choose the most appropriate according to our preferences and expectations. Now, we are preparing for sitting three final exams, I am spending most of my time doing revision. A piece of advice for avoiding this read as many papers as you can during the semester.
Additionally, we already need to think about the topic for our dissertations. In my opinion, this is the most critical task of our entire to-do list because this decision will define not only the work of the last months of the master programme but also the success of it; select the topic quickly but wisely. Fortunately, the school and the professors are helping us with possible topics and general supporting. Finally, I am getting ready to continue with the second semester of this adventure, and I hope you follow what is missing.