November 2016: My journey to Manchester

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Two months ago I was getting ready to make my journey from Detroit, Michigan, USA to Manchester, England, UK. I was excited, eager, and determined to make my year away from home one of the best years of my life while also obtaining the postgraduate degree that I had been wanting for so long.

My trip to England was long so I had a lot of time to think about the next year. I thought to myself…

“How many friends will I make?” “Am I really okay with how much it rains in Manchester?” “How intense is this year really going to be?” “What if I miss home?”

At this point, I was still calm, excited, and ready to go! It was not until I saw the words “Manchester, England” on the screen at the airport in New York that I started to panic.

“I guess this is it. There is no going back now.”

Eight hours later I landed in Manchester! Surprisingly, it was not raining and the weather was quite nice. I quickly unpacked and headed to the Northern Quarter to explore! The Northern Quarter is an area of Manchester city center of alternative and bohemian culture. There are several unique bars and restaurants filled with quirky designs, music, and art. While in the NQ I stumbled upon the Makers Market that was taking place. The Makers Market is an outdoor market where you can find jewelry, art, food, and entertainment. It takes place once a month in several alternating nearby neighborhoods. After picking up some cacti from a local vendor, I continued my exploration in the city center.

I arrived in Manchester about two weeks prior to the start of the semester so I had a lot of time to get used to the city. I took this time to get a cell phone, open a bank account, and register with a doctor (I would strongly recommend doing this early). I also utilized the seminars that took place during Induction Week, which happens one week prior to classes officially starting, and met some of my classmates. Some of the seminars included information about healthcare in the UK, safety on campus, what to expect from your course throughout the year, and so on.

I am more than half way done with the first semester now. Classes are tough as this is only a year program, but I know that I am gaining valuable knowledge. Time also goes by fast since I am always so busy! I have also met great people from all over the world! We are a diverse group of people, but we are all very similar. We are there for one another whether it be for support in the classroom or someone to call when you need a break from studying.

One of the most memorable activities that I have participated in so far has been the overnight Brathay trip (located in the Lake District – a very beautiful place). While at Brathay I had the opportunity to meet classmates I may have never otherwise spoken to and participate in challenging activities. I had to work together with my classmates to overcome obstacles. It was a very rewarding experience and I would highly recommend attending.

All in all, my first semester has been great and I am excited to continue moving forward!

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Jasmine Sarkis

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