United Kingdom

When in Manchester

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

By: Amy Imus, Foster Undergraduate

I have been in the UK for a full month already but it has gone by in the blink of an eye. Luckily I have already had some memorable experiences and learned new things about myself and the new city I live in.

I initially spent about a week in Scotland before I moved to Manchester and I would recommend a trip there to anybody. Although I stayed in Stirling, I was able to make trip to Edinburgh and some of the surrounding countryside. I was lucky with the weather most of the time but Scotland is gorgeous rain or shine. The castles, old streets and buildings, and friendliness of all the locals really gave me a wonderful experience and I look forward to returning as soon as I can.

Moving on to the main event, I was finally off to Manchester to begin my study abroad at the Manchester Business School which is part of the University of Manchester. Manchester is known for being one of Britain’s largest cities but you wouldn’t know it just by looking at it. There we only a handful of buildings taller than 10 stories and most of the buildings looked like they were from the industrial revolution era, not from centuries past. This disconcerted me at first but the more time I spent exploring and learning about the city, the more I came to love its unique character and admire the reasons it was the way it was. Now I couldn’t imagine studying anywhere else!

Housing: I was very happy with my rooming arrangements and feel very fortunate to have ended up in Oak house. Although it is a fresher’s dorm, it is so easy to meet new people and there is a good mix of local and international students. 99% of the locals in my dorm are freshmen so it’s nice to have other exchange students so I don’t feel too old! I live in a flat of 3 girls and 4 guys, we each have our own room and all share a kitchen. It might not be the prettiest or the most spacious but it already feels like home. The 7 of us have a family dinner every Monday since we all have busy school schedules and like to cook together at least once a week.

School: Academics here have some similarities to UW but are very different in terms of assessments. Lectures and seminars (quiz sections) are the same style and size and the professors are all nice and knowledgeable. However, the reading requirements are much heavier here and they only grade you on a single essay at the end of the year (about 3000 words). I am taking 5 classes which keeps me busy but allows me time to take trips on weekends and go out during the week.

Nightlife: Being 20 years old, it is so nice to live in the UK! Since there are so many universities in the area, Manchester has one of the best nightlife scenes in the UK. There is always something going on every night and there are too many bars and clubs to count. It can get a bit pricey on the weekends but a lot of students go out on weeknights when there are good deals. The first week of school, known as fresher’s week, was exhausting but so much fun! I managed to make it out 10 days in a row before I finally couldn’t stay awake another night.

Also, just as a side note, if you are a music lover, Manchester is the place for you. I couldn’t believe how many bands/singers/Djs come here! From Armin Van Buuren to The Band Perry to Trey Songz they have so many concerts at decent prices.

I guess to sum it up, you’re never short on things to do here.

Being a Mancunian

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

By: Andrea Gagliano, Foster Undergraduate

When I first came to Manchester I was not a fan of the city. It was very dreary, cloudy, and I didn’t feel that I belonged – mainly because I knew nobody. This changed very quickly! I now love every day in Manchester whether I am enjoying a night out, studying in the library, or learning quirky words from my English flatmates. When the school year starts, Manchester fills with university (uni) students and it transforms into a very lively city. There is a vibrant music scene (similar to Seattle but bigger and cheaper), a lot of quaint pubs, and a nonstop nightlife just a bus ride away if you want it.  There are also a lot of ways to explore outside of the city. I joined the hiking club and went out on a beautiful sunny day last weekend to “scramble” my way to the highest peak in Wales. The scramble was a half hike and half rock climb along the top ridge of a mountain. Of course, I also got all decked out in red and went to a football (soccer) game – Manchester United versus Newcastle. Being in an English football stadium is such a different experience than in the US. It’s a very pure showing of football. No glitzy lights, music, or other ways of entertaining the crowd. It was refreshing to just purely watch the game and see the die-hard fans break out into song. And, in the last couple minutes of the game, someone from the stands jumped the gate and ran out on the field in mid-play.

The first week I was here, we had orientation all week with other business students which made it extremely easy to meet other students. I’ve met people from all over the world including almost every country in Europe! In classes, it is really interesting to hear references to the US and to US companies. The class structure here is different from UW, because there are two hours of lectures a week, so you are expected to do a lot of independent reading on your own time. Also, there is just one exam at the end of the semester which your entire mark depends on. Although the classes will be challenging, each one so far seems really interesting.

A Week in Italy

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

By: Tiffany Sung, Foster Undergraduate

Hi everyone, it’s Tiffany again, and here’s the post on Italy that I promised! During reading week, I went to Italy with two of my friends who are also on exchange, Yolanda and Karen. We started our journey in Venice, slowly made our way down south to Pisa and Rome, and had a wonderful time!

Venice

We arrived in Venice around noon, had a quick lunch (amazing pizza and gelato!), and decided to follow our travel guide’s suggestion: wander around the island map-less. Turned out, that might have been the best
suggestion we could ever get. Since the main island is very small and has literally no cars, we were able to leisurely explore the city, hop on any waterbus, and get lost in the beautiful scenery.

After two days in Venice, we bid the lovely city farewell, took the train, and travelled towards our next destination—Pisa!

Pisa

We made a special four-hour stop at Pisa to see one of the seven wonders of medieval world—the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And I must say making this extra stop was decision well-made! After all, not only has the tower managed to stand in a leaning position for hundreds of years, but it is also where Galileo conducted his experiment on acceleration. Bell towers do not get any more awesome than this.

Rome

We spent the last three days of our trip in Rome visiting the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, and Vatican City. We also followed Audrey Hepburn’s footsteps in the movie Roman Holiday and visited the Trevi Fountain, ate gelato on the Spanish Steps, and put our hands in the Mouth of Truth. Rome is such a convenient city for travelling—all the tourist attractions are closely located, the metro is surprisingly cheap, and there is so much to explore!

After our trip to Italy, here are some travelling tips that I think would be useful when planning for your reading
week:

– Invest in a money belt (the really thin ones that can be hidden underneath your clothes). This might sound kind of
silly, but after hearing a lot of pickpocketing stories that happened in Rome, I decided to get one just in case. It definitely made me feel much safer when I stood in the incredibly crowded Roman metro while carrying all my Euros and passport with me.

– Plan ahead of time and you’ll find so many great deals on flight/train tickets and hotels!

– Bring a travel guide with you—especially if the people in the country you are going to might not understand English. It really helps when you have pictures and words to point at while communicating with the locals.

-Take advantage of your time in England, do some research, and plan out amazing trips to the places in Europe
that you’ve always wanted to visit!

Homecoming Reflections on Manchester

Monday, March 26th, 2012

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.

Enough Time for a Week Out on the Town

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

By: Nate Whitson, Foster Undergraduate

It is time to follow up from my last post over 8 weeks ago. I admit I am still in love with England and all the cultural nuggets that come with it. In this post I want to highlight important things UW students should know when considering the University of Manchester Business School.

Since we’re all students it seems logical to begin with the…social life. Oops I meant classes. Classes at Manchester have been kind to say the least. Nearly all of my classes are graded on a single paper for 100% of my grade. I understand how this makes some students cry and others happily scream, like me. The essays are not terribly long, though some have short windows of completion because prompts are not released until 3-4 weeks before you will likely leave. The lectures are similar to those you would find at the UW, though I have not seen a single course pack all year :). Contrary to the belief that UK professors are difficult to communicate with, I find them open to answering all my questions and concerns (some have even gone to the length of memorizing names.) I would also comment on homework and weekly workload, but there simply isn’t any. Like any class, you can spend hours reading recommended chapters and articles if you feel the need. Getting to class has been just as easy. Campus is fairly compact and has a generous amount of cafes and coffee shops to fill your Seattle void. One thing to keep in mind before you get turned around, the first floor is likely not to be the one you are entering. It is called the ground floor here, sir/madam.

 On to the student life, that I accidentally jumped to earlier! If you are an individual that enjoys going out, particularly to bars and clubs, Manchester is the city for you. Having grown up in the Seattle area, I can say I have never seen bustling nightlife like that of Manchester. The area in which you live on campus makes a significant difference as well. I myself live in Oak House and am primarily surrounded by first year British students. So, the environment is a little (very) lively. The other area which you could find yourself living (as a self-catered student) is Whitworth Park. This accommodation is closer to campus/downtown, but you will likely find yourself living with other international students. Don’t let distance from campus weigh too much into your housing decision, because Oxford Road (where the University lies) boasts the busiest bus route in all of Europe! You can easily get involved in campus sports as well. Each house (IE dorm) has their own sporting teams for soccer, rugby, etc. Finally, the actually living quarters are plain, but completely acceptable. Every student gets a single room, so that is quite a bit different from the UW. Similar quality to that of McMahon hall and the common areas are large enough for all of the flat mates to gather. If you choose to be self-catered (like me), you will luckily have a 5 minute walk to a large supermarket. Finally, I recommend not leaving your room keys with your flat mates, as living with 7 other students unfortunately and inevitably breeds a prank war.

Manchester Kaleidoscope

Monday, November 28th, 2011

By: Tiffany Sung, Foster Undergraduate

Hello everyone! My name is Tiffany, and I’m a junior studying abroad in Manchester for a semester. It’s been a bit more than month since I’ve arrived Manchester, and every day has been filled with wonderful surprises and new discoveries. Here are some of the impressions of Manchester I’ve gained from my time abroad so far:

The University

While there isn’t a beautiful campus here like at UW, it’s quite convenient to get around and catch your classes at University of Manchester, since all buildings are mostly located along one busy street called Oxford Road. The courses here require a lot of independent reading, but other than that, they are structured similarly to UW’s classes and are mostly very interesting. The many different clubs the University has also allow us to easily make friends with people outside of the business school. I feel really lucky to have joined the photo society; meeting people who share my hobby while abroad feels great!

The City

Manchester’s weather might be even more unpredictable than Seattle’s, but that should not stop you from exploring the city during your free time. Manchester is filled with beautiful buildings; while strolling down the streets of the city centre, the old English architecture immerses you in a romantic foreign atmosphere that you could rarely experience in the States.

Travelling

Of course, one can never get enough of travelling while studying abroad. So far I’ve been to York and Oxford during the weekends, and the trips were absolutely amazing! Living in Manchester, not only are other cities in England easily accessible by train, but visiting countries in Europe from Manchester can also be quite inexpensive as long as you plan well ahead of time.

 Entertainment

With so many pubs and clubs around the University, students here will always have something to do at night. However, even if you’re not a night person and have trouble keeping your eyes open after midnight (like me…), I realized there are still many things to do during the day, such as visiting one of the many museums in the city, enjoying a show at the Royal Exchange Theatre (with great student discount ticket prices!), or simply staying in and hanging out with friends.

That’s it for now. I’ll share more about travelling after getting back from my trip to Venice, Pisa, and Rome during reading week!

Cheers,

Tiffany

A bit about public health in the UK…and WALES!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

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

Learning to Kick it Mancunian Style

Monday, September 26th, 2011

By: Nathan Whitson, Foster Undergraduate

Studies at the University of Manchester (Manchester, England) have finally begun! My name is Nathan Whitson. I am currently a Senior at UW, my focus being finance. At this point, I have been in Manchester for a little over a week and have genuinely had the time of my life. The people are incredible, the city is gorgeous, and the University is bounds better than what I expected.

It seems appropriate to spend a bit of time highlighting differences I have been slowly adapting to. First off, the fact cars drive on the left side of the road may be the most dangerous thing I will come across during my time here. Every night out and even on casual strolls to the shops, it never fails to confuse me. I’ve continually told my flat mates that I will get hit by a car at some point (though lets hope not!) Another major difference is the bus and transit system. I have never been to a city that is so connected. People say the Oxford Road bus line from Uni to city center is the busiest in all of Europe. Not surprising, there are double deck buses at the stop every 2 minutes! Manchester has also done an exquisite job of altering modern architecture as to not overwhelm the older parts of the city. It really is beautiful. Finally, football; No, not the football we all cherish in the U.S. I am talking about ‘the beautiful game.’ Manchester is known as a Mecca in the football world, and not surprisingly, it is woven into the lives of almost all Mancunians. I was never a fan of ‘soccer’ as a child, though my views on the sport will surely change after attending both Manchester City and Manchester United matches this fall. You should be able to see who I support based off of their order in that sentence!

Another highlight of my time at the University of Manchester has been the people. Even after a week I see stark differences between them and most Americans. They know how to have loads of fun. The first week at Uni is called freshers week and it is absolutely bonkers. There aren’t many places in the U.S. (or any) where you have 4,000 college freshman literally descending into an area’s pubs and clubs. Every night is a massive party, for 8 days straight. Apart from the droves of partying students, it is easy to see Manchester is a boiling pot of different cultures. Just on the way to Uni I have to bus through what students call ‘The Curry Mile’, and Manchester has the largest Chinatown in the UK. The diversity doesn’t end there. The University of Manchester has 8,000 international students. That is 1 out of every 4 students at the University, awesome. This oddball group of students helps to drive the most fashionable culture and city I have ever seen. I really don’t want to imagine the shopping madness in London. Though, I will soon find out since it is only 2 hours away by rail!

Until next time,

Nate

When in Rome!

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Hey everyone my name is KJ and I am currently an exchange student in Manchester. Recently however I made a short trek over to Italy and have come up with a few words of advice for any of those planning to visit while abroad. I stopped first in Venice for a few days and then headed straight over to Rome to finish off the week.

KJ, venice Venice

 Venice is probably one of the most relaxing cities I have visited. While it is often extremely full of people due to its popularity everyone there is definitely there to chill out. The first word of advice I can give you t is try to arrive in Venice during the day if you can. As you will find out quickly the city is quite a labyrinth. Regardless of your sense of direction and savvy with maps you are guaranteed to get a bit lost trying to find your way around. Try to enjoy the experience and don’t hesitate to ask for directions. While your in Venice I also recommend that you search the backstreets as thoroughly as you can. Venice is full of tourists and so a lot of the better experiences are off the main pathways. This holds especially true for restaurants and cafes. The easier they are to find the more expensive and less authentic they will be. Finally, while you might enjoy weeks exploring the city you really only need a solid day or two to get a real feel for the place.

kj, 2Rome

First things first, Rome is humungous.  You could spend days and days trying to see al there is to see while you’re here. Luckily the city is equipped with a pretty decent subway system. It is comprised of two main lines that will take you to most notable sites within a few minutes. Another aspect of Rome was that it had a much better nightlife than Venice. If you head to the northeastern end of the city you can find some great places to spend a night out. Furthermore, its not a bad idea to go revisit some of your favorite sites during the night as well. Most are lit up beginning at dusk and provide for some pretty amazing pictures. The impressiveness of some of the fountains and buildings is more apparent at night. The main drawback of Rome is that the center of the city is a drive away from Rome’s main airport. That being said it might prove wise to set up a shuttle before you venture over. Overall, Rome has a lot going on so it is a great place to go with a large group. A final thought on Venice and Rome is that you must eat as much of the food as you possibly can. The food, wine, and deserts are all some of the best I have ever had.

An English Thanksgiving

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Alissa, Tower Bridge2Hi again, everyone! This past month has been full of fun travels, good times, and, of course, lots of learning both in and out of the classroom. My overnight adventures included trips to London and Dublin, and I’ve also had many opportunities to explore the city of Manchester even further. One of the highlights of this month, though, was celebrating Thanksgiving with so many of the friends I’ve made over here. All of my English friends wanted to experience a traditional American Thanksgiving, so that meant that I wound up cooking a full Thanksgiving meal for everyone. It was a huge task but was really rewarding since everyone who came, both Americans and Brits, had a great time eating loads of food and just spending time together.

 

Alissa, Xmas Market2I also really enjoyed wandering through the Christmas Markets, which is comprised of stalls and exhibits that vendors set up in designated areas around the city. There are multiples squares full of different booths and food vendors and streets lined with even more fun things to discover. Oh, and every booth/stall/vending location is designed in the traditional European Christmas Market style, so it’s a very cultural experience. You can get things ranging from Manchester souvenirs to a number of different foods and drinks, and a whole lot of things in between.

 

Alissa, Reading Room2Another fun discovery was the John Rylands Library. This library was built in the early 1900s and merged with the University of Manchester Library in the 1970s, but the original building is full of history and artifacts from all over the world. You’re not supposed to take pictures inside the exhibit areas, but it was almost surreal being so close to things dating back to the sixth century B.C. I also saw a display about how Manchester is credited as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution—I had no idea that Manchester was so full of history, but it’s awesome to be here in a place so full of great things to discover.