Just before studies began formally, we had the much-awaited Brathay trip arranged by AMBS. Set in the Lake District, this overnight trip had some of the most amazing activities, each full of learning. As promised, we were able to enjoy the natural beauty together with bonding with our colleagues. Some activities like the High-Vs were quite daring but they were voluntary and people could opt out. This, as well as our accommodation, catering and continuous support from trainers made it a wonderful trip with one of the best hospitality experiences I ever had.
My personal highlight of the trip was when we had to row a kayak. It was pouring with rain and we had to put on our boots and waterproofs before we could go out rowing. A trainer joined us, guiding us regarding what roles to take and how to navigate. I became the leader, taking charge of navigation. Like each other activity, this was some great learning, as I set my eyes on the buoy where we had to take a U-turn and at the same time gave out instructions to my fellows who rowed diligently.
The most awkward moment (in hindsight, the funniest moment) was when in the middle of the lake, the trainer left in another boat and left us students on their own! Obviously, our progress was continuously monitored in case we needed any support but more than anything, this gave us a great opportunity to bond, trust each other and work as a team. But then again, that was what the trip was all about!
As the classes began, I was impressed by the learning methods used at the University (note that I come from a developing country). I found my lecturers very understanding, clear, and approachable, and access to podcasts for the lectures was indeed a blessing. Even now, as I prepare for my exams, I can simply scroll up to a particular point in the lecture to listen to the comments.
Besides this, as the student representative, I was able to gather views of my entire class regarding the teaching and classes. After a couple of meetings and emails with the faculty and admin, I was more than amazed to see how student feedback was taken so seriously and steps were initiated swiftly to make the student experience even more comfortable. Accommodating to student requests, we were even able to have a session on guidance regarding pursuing a PhD moved earlier, giving students plenty of time to decide and apply in time for scholarships.
The students union, international society and AMBS itself, all made sure that we always had some social activities to relax and take time out from coursework. The Halloween and Christmas events, such as rave parties and the ball were just some of the many notable ones. Furthermore, as I sought to get more out of my university life in Manchester, I enjoyed two memorable trips to Chester and York, arranged by University accommodation, free for residents. The historical sites and beautiful scenery were indeed a treat to see. And the best part of the month: I went to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United play in the Champions League: Dream Come True at the Theatre of Dreams!