By: Amanda Pressly, Foster Undergraduate
First off, I will be the first to admit I am probably among the most unlucky people in the world. I will also admit my first day/night in Manchester was hell. It all started to go bad when I missed my connecting flight and the airport lost my luggage, meaning I had no clean clothes or toiletries. By the time I arrived in Manchester I had already spent about 17 hours traveling, and it was another 2 before I got to the housing. When I got to my flat I realized not only was there was no one else there, there was also a lack of basic housing needs, i.e. toilet paper, paper towels, pots and pans, dishes, internet, and the bedding pack that I had pre-ordered. Needless to say I was not a happy camper, as it was literally almost like camping.
My motto that night was it can’t possibly get any worse, and finally I was right about one thing. The next morning I woke up to the sounds of a flat mate moving in (the dorm is set up weird to where you have to go upstairs to get into the general area, then go downstairs to the rooms). She turned out to be really awesome and the first British friend I made. I spent the rest of the day with her and ended up meeting about 10 new people from all over the world. Admittedly the social scene in Manchester gets a lot better after a shower and a clean change of clothes. For the first week it was nothing but pubs, clubs, events, games, and hanging out; there is never nothing to do in Manchester, which is all very exciting at first, but by the time classes actually start the majority of students are practically brain dead.
The weekend before classes started I went on a trip to Wales with the international society; if you do anything it should involve Wales at least once. It was an amazing trip, the landscape is gorgeous and the atmosphere is completely different from Manchester. While it is important to get to know the city you are in, you should also take advantage of the fact that there is so much more to see and do.
The night I got home from Wales I was extremely ill, and had been for a few days. I tried to brush it off with a shower and lots of sleep, but couldn’t shake it. It got to the point where I was in so much pain that I had to go to the hospital. The reception helped me right away and got me to see a triage nurse. After several tests and three hours of observation, I was sent home with medication. Now, had I been in America this would have cost a fortune, but here everything was free, even the medication they gave me.
Today’s lesson takeaways:
- Book a flight with a longer layover time
- Pack extra clothes in your carryon bag just in case
- Be prepared to spend much more than anticipated
- Don’t overdue the partying, as tempting as it may be, be sure to take a few nights off
- Explore surrounding areas
- Make loads of friends
- And above all, if you are going to get seriously ill or injured, do it in the UK