By: Amanda Pressly, Foster Undergrad
When you last heard from me I was just beginning classes at the University of Manchester after a crazy first week. The entirety of the semester over there was amazing; my classes were all interesting (with the exception of corporate governance, the equivalent of MGMT 320), my professors were brilliant, my classmates were super interesting and inviting, and the friends I made are not only numerous but also some of the most amazing people in the world (quite literally from all over the world)! It is amazing to know you will never feel lonely or sad in Manchester due to the fantastic people all around!
I have never felt more welcomed and at home than when I was in Manchester, but that did not stop me from leaving to see more of the UK and Europe on weekends and holidays. Take advantage of the cheap airlines and other means of travelling; I was able to go all over Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, London, Liverpool, Berlin, and Prague for very reasonable prices. For the days when I did want to stay in Manchester there was never a shortage of things to do, there are several parks, all the museums are free and absolutely incredible, the shopping center provides various retailers you cannot find in the US, and of course Manchester is home to the two best soccer/football teams in the world: Manchester United and Manchester City! If you are not an early riser (which you probably won’t be in Manchester) there are plenty of things to do at night as well; clubs, pubs, events, school sponsored beer-fests, it is endless and for the most part cheap, even with the exchange rate!
By the time I had to leave I felt like I had an extended family of people from all over the world and the US. I did not want to leave, but knew I had to get home for the holidays and of course, winter quarter at UW. The first month back was the hardest, I could not bear the thought of not knowing the next time I would see some of them or what I would even do without them to hang out with every day. In the months following my return I made sure to keep in contact with all of the friends I made and plan to see them all in the future, for example my friends from Arizona State University are coming to Washington for spring break!
Again, I will sum up with a list of things to bear in mind in the UK:
- Even if there is a rocky start, hold out, it will get infinitely better
- Be open to meeting new people, if someone invites you to hang out, take the opportunity to make a new friend
- Act as though you are there permanently and you will feel at home
- Take advantage of the inexpensive travelling
- Explore the city, take advantage of all the free attractions
- SEE A FOOTBALL MATCH!!!
- Go out as much as possible
- Make hundreds of friends
- Eat at Gemini on Oxford Road, it has the best food and the nicest guy who gives you free food if you are a frequent customer
- Most importantly, remember that it is not impossible to retain friendships, even if they are long distance.