July 2017: Sweet and sour goodbye


It’s the end of the road, the last blog of my adventure in Manchester, but the beginning of a new stage of my life. Writing this text, I cannot avoid feeling sweet and sour emotions. I feel satisfaction because of a fulfilled achievement but also sadness because this journey is ending. The last year in Manchester has been wonderful. Studying at The University of Manchester has been a learning experience in many senses, not only academically, and that is why it’s a challenge that I strongly recommend to take. This blog is a compilation of my experience here.

My adventure started even being at home in Colombia. It was the first time I was going to live and study abroad, far from my family. However, I felt supported and welcomed at every stage of the application process by the University. With each email and the call from the Manchester Calling Campaign, I felt my dream came true. I started to perceive the Mancunian hospitality even when I contacted who is my landlord now for renting an accommodation. He worked for the University in the past and understood perfectly the anxiety that I was feeling. So, he kindly went to receive me at the airport. It was an excellent start.

Arriving in a country with a different culture and language was overwhelming. I still remember how nervous and anxious I was the first day of class. By the way, I had to take the pre-sessional English course a month before the beginning of the programme; thus, you can imagine my worries related to the language. However, I was fortunate for taking that course. I could not only improve my language skills, but I also had the advantage to know the campus and the city before the rest of the students. Even better, I made friends outside the programme and created stronger ties with some classmates who also took the course. Hence, if you have to take the pre-sessional English course consider it as an opportunity and enjoy it. Moreover, the anxiety of being a new international student did not last too much. The University’s orientation and welcome programme, previous to classes, helped me to be more prepared for the student living. During those days, there are campus tours, city tours, presentations about the many services the University offers, some societies you can join and useful techniques to learn and study. After that moment, you will begin to feel that there are so many activities to do and to be part of, that you will need to harness your time.

Then, the classes started and with them, the excitement of learning new things and the hard work, of course. There will be many papers to read, group projects and essays; but trust me, all that is worth it. Read as much as you can during the period of classes, and in that way, you will not struggle much during the exam time. Also, if writing essays is not one of your strengths, don’t worry, you will do it better with the time, practicing, taking advantage of the resources and workshops that the library and the School offer, and drawing on the professors’ feedback. Regarding the group projects, begin by attending the Brathay experience organised by the School. It is fun and it teaches you how to work in a team. Additionally, be patient, respectful, listen to the others and give the best of you. Not everyone works in the same way, especially among different cultures, but you will always learn from your classmates, academically and individually. Personally, I think these are the best qualities of the MSc in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (IME) and the University in general: plurality and academic quality.

On the one hand, the IME programme is designed for any background, and the University masters are highly international and therefore multicultural. Consequently, you will have classmates from a great variety of ages, undergrads or professions, cultures, experiences and goals. This means that you will have many perspectives on the same topic and learn more critically. On the other hand, your professors will be renowned researchers. I mean, you will actually read specialised papers and books written by them, and they will always encourage you to think and analysed beyond the obvious and usual. What a great combination of characteristics when you are studying about innovation, don’t you think? After all, any business, organisation or profession needs continuous innovation to improve and be competitive so you can apply what you learn in any context. I loved and enjoyed my programme. It opened my mind and showed me so many opportunities to work for that I cannot wait to keep studying more.

I learned and delighted so much during this year that it seemed too short. I would have liked to extend this amazing experience. Because, as I have told you in past blogs, studying abroad is not only about studying as such, especially if you come from a far place as I do. I travelled as much as my budget and time allowed me, and I strongly recommend you to take advantage of being here in the UK and do it too. Travelling is also part of your learning process, and all the experiences during the trips will be unforgettable memories. Nevertheless, please manage your time carefully throughout the programme, particularly during the dissertation stage (where I’m now) because it is harder to work and keep focused when you have ‘so much time’ to do it and less pressure from the School. In fact, three months is very little time for research.

I’m incredibly grateful for the experience of studying at The University of Manchester. It was the best decision I made, and of course, I’m proud of myself. Finishing this Masters course is a great achievement that I’m sure will boost my career. Although I’m sad about leaving the Mancunian family (because that’s how I feel the people around me here), I’m also happy for going back home to share all that I learnt and keep changing and improving the world even with small actions.

So, finally, my last piece of advice: if you have the opportunity of studying IME at The University of Manchester, please do it! Don’t hesitate, you won’t regret it.

Many thanks to all those who are part of The University of Manchester. You have contributed to the improved version of me that I am now.

PS: Encourage yourself to be the next blogger of the IME programme. I wasn’t sure if this role suited me, but I enjoyed it very much. So much that I hope to create my own blog, this time about some fascinating topics I discovered at the University.

Find out more about the MSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship course >>


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Leslie Garcia

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