Bob Dylan once said “Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.” Looking back at my time in Manchester, I still find it hard to believe that I it’s been almost 6 months since I moved away from home and found a new home here in Manchester. I can confidently say that moving to a new place and choosing to pursue graduate school has brought a great deal of change in me and I’ve learnt to love every bit of it. I do indeed resonate with Bob Dylan’s words and would encourage to take care of all the memories you make during your time here.
The past month has been quite busy for us. Semester two undoubtedly is much more intense than semester one in terms of content and coursework. We find ourselves constantly engaged in group meetings 5 days a week for our coursework projects. That being said, I definitely think the coursework is quite interesting and practical – we get to learn a lot by working with each other. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that TEAMWORK is key to this course. Semester two has a lot of opportunities for teamwork which I think gives a great chance to learn so much from our peers. We have also just been introduced to our dissertation topics and are right now working on choosing an initial list of topics. This has gotten all of us to start thinking about what areas we would like to focus on for our dissertation project in the summer.
Other than long hours of meetings, we witnessed the coldest February-March period! I was always under the impression that I would get to see sunshine around spring time but I was definitely in for a surprise when it snowed almost 5 days in a row! It felt like Christmas was around the corner again! For me personally, it was absolutely beautiful to wake up to a snowy Manchester and walk to a white campus. Being from the Middle East, I never really got to experience this kind of scenic beauty at all. I will admit that it was way too cold for me, but I enjoyed the experience and tried to take in as much as I could. Over the past month, it’s been rainy, windy, sunny and snowy but I’ve really come to appreciate how beautiful these seasonal changes are. I’ll also add that since we don’t get much sunshine here, taking long walks in Whitworth Park on a cold, sunny day has become my favorite thing. If you like to appreciate nature – something that I’ve developed after moving here – I would recommend exploring some beautiful sites around the city such as Whitworth Park (including the café in the Whitworth art gallery), Platt fields park, Heaton Park, Fletcher Moss Gardens etc.
I had a couple of really memorable highlights in the past month. A few of us celebrated our own version of Valentine’s Day by organising a Valentine’s dinner potluck to appreciate one another and celebrate our time together in Manchester. I think it was a great idea to gather together and reflect on our time in this course as well as in Manchester. Other than that, it was my first ever time celebrating Chinese New Year! I absolutely loved how the entire city was decorated with the theme and how festive it looked. We made some dimsums to engage in the culture and learn more about some Chinese traditions.
I am not at all exaggerating when I say that time flies in the blink of an eye! I absolutely cannot believe that I’ve been here for 6 months now. The next few weeks are going to be extremely busy with group coursework projects. I am looking forward to the Easter break, which is just a little over two weeks away, and I cannot wait to unwind for a bit.