United Kingdom

Fun in Manchester!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Alissa, post1Hey everyone, my name is Alissa and I’m a UW junior who’s currently studying in Manchester for a semester. I’m not completely sure of where to start, other than to say my experience so far has been absolutely amazing! Manchester as a city isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing place in the UK, but it has plenty of attractions to make up for it. For one, there’s the two massive shopping malls: Arndale Shopping Center, which is about a 15 minute walk from the main campus, and The Trafford Center, which I’m told is the biggest mall in the UK (I don’t know for sure that this is true, but I can vouch that it is definitely a bit overwhelming in size!). There are also a ton of art and science museums if you’re into those kinds of things. Plus it’s really easy to get from Manchester to other European locations for pretty cheap. I’ve been to Edinburgh and Bath, and I was able to see Stonehenge in person.  Tomorrow starts Reading Week, which is basically like the University of Manchester’s version of a mid-semester break. Most students go travelling over Reading Week, and I’m headed to London for the first half and Dublin for the second half of the week. Like I said, it really is easy to travel more once you get over here.

 One of the other things I love about Manchester is all the great people I’ve met. The business school here has a really awesome international society who sets up lots of events and makes it really easy to meet other exchange students from all over the world. Plus, I’m living in the university’s student housing, and the way my accommodation is set up is as a flat that I share with seven other people. There’s another American girl here from Arizona State University, and everyone else in the flat is from England which has made meeting ‘local’ people really easy, too. People here tend to love Americans and it’s been really fun learning their lingo and teaching them some of ours. There are so many little colloquialisms and different pronunciations that, at first, had me really confused as to what people were saying to me, but I picked it up really quickly and have come to enjoy all the little differences. 

Alissa, Stonehenge1 There are also a ton of other differences in things ranging from the way classes are structured to the way people shop for food here, but I think the biggest cultural difference I’ve noticed so far is the drinking age. Since the drinking age is 18 and Manchester is a college city, there are a ton of bars and clubs that make for a fun night out, even if you’d prefer not to drink a lot yourself. And I have to admit that it’s really nice being able to walk into any of the numerous pubs in Fallowfield (the area of Manchester that houses a lot of students) and relax with friends over good food and a drink. Which reminds me: we don’t really have pubs in the States, at least not in Seattle, but they’re pretty great. You know how you hear that pub food is, generally, really unhealthy but totally delicious? It’s true. Just another little detail that has made my time here so far amazing.

Welcome to Manchester!

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Packing, London 182Hi all- My name is Maggie, and I’m in my third year at UW.  I’m studying Finance and participating in the CISB program while minoring in French.  So far I’ve spent 2 months here in Manchester and have no complaints—I’ve met great people, taken some amazing trips, and am in classes I enjoy.  There are about 85 other students in the business exchange program here from all over the world and the international society did a great job of having group activities arranged for us so that we could meet everyone.   It’s also nice that there are several other people from the program in every one of my classes, making it seem a lot smaller than it actually is (U of Manchester is roughly the same size as UW).

One of the hardest things about being outside of the States, for me, has been the lack of American sports.  I’m a huge fan of basketball and American football, so not having any games available to watch has been quite a tough pill to swallow.  A group of us did manage to find an Australian bar that was showing the Superbowl, however, the commentary was by Brits…Amsterdam, Cardiff, Liverpool 118 Just not the same.   We’ve also gotten student tickets to both a Man City and Man U game, and I was front row for Man City.  We were probably 10 rows from the top at Man  U, but it was still an awesome experience.  One of the other students has been a Liverpool fan since he was a kid so he got a few of us Liverpool tickets last Monday and it was one of the best sporting atmospheres I’ve ever experienced.  And most importantly, I’ve managed to find streaming video of the NCAA tournament so I can watch our Dawgs roll into the Sweet 16!  This past weekend in Prague I met up with 2 friends from back at the UW, and we watched the Huskies beat New Mexico together—it almost felt like home!

So far my main trips have been to Amsterdam and Prague, but this is the last week before Easter break and we get a 3-week long vacation before heading back to start studying for exams.  I’m traveling with my roommate who is from Western Ontario’s business school and we’re going to be hitting Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and Greece for our break.  Sounds like an adventure and I can hardly wait the 36 more hours until we are free of school and on the road!

Reflecting Back

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

AliceT (2)Hi again, everyone! So after reading week the MBS International Society, which is the main group that organizes all the events for the MBS exchange students, took us to the Christmas Lighting in the city centre. It was a huge event, and there were celebrity appearances to help with the festivities, including Alexandra Burke from X Factor. At the end of the show when the lights came on there were even fireworks and it was just beautiful – a great way to start off the holiday season.

That weekend I also got to visit Oxford through the International Society, which is different from the MBS International Society; this group organized trips for all people new to Manchester, and isn’t just limited to MBS students or even Manchester Uni students. If you’re going to go to Manchester you should check out some of the trips they offer, since it’s usually cheaper than planning it yourself and they take care of everything for you.  You just have to show up. Anyways, Oxford was great, and I especially enjoyed seeing the sights where the Harry Potter movies were filmed!

The next weekend I visited Dublin, Ireland. It kind of reminded me of Seattle – everything was green and it rained a LOT but at the same time it looked very European. Despite the weather I loved Ireland; they also have really good souvenirs so be careful not to spend all of your money in their gift shops, like I did…

I also visited Paris and Madrid in the following weekends, and both were absolutely gorgeous. Although I don’t regret visiting any of these places, I would advise future exchange students to spread out your travels so that you have more time to write your papers at the end of term. I do admit it got a bit stressful towards the end but thankfully it was still manageable to get everything in on time.

During the last two weeks of the semester the MBS International Society was able to organize one last semi-formal dinner and party for all the exchange students which was a great way toAliceT see everyone for the last time.

Getting home turned out to be a nightmare though. Unfortunately, Manchester (and the rest of England) was hit with the most snow that they’ve seen in years (according to my British friend), and the Manchester Airport simply did not know how to deal with snow on their runway. In addition to that the east coast of the US was hit with a huge snow storm at the same time, so anyone who was from the east coast automatically had their flights canceled. I was scheduled to fly from Manchester to London and then from London directly to Seattle, but my Manchester to London connection was flat out canceled leaving me with no option but to purchase a train ticket and catch my connection that way.

Just a tip of advice: don’t pack a lot when you go from Seattle to Manchester, because two suitcases is a lot to carry, and you never know what might happen, like in this case. Thankfully London wasn’t having any problems and I was able to catch my flight home without any further mishaps.

AliceT (1)Reflecting back on this whole experience, I feel so happy that I got to participate in this opportunity. The people I’ve met, the places I’ve visited, and the things that I’ve seen have all been so amazing, and I truly won’t ever forget this for as long as I live. Though towards the end of the semester all of us were a bit homesick and longing to go home, now we all can’t wait to go back! So if you’re going to study abroad, remember to cherish each and every moment as it’s simply all over much too soon.

Settling into life abroad

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Alice (1)Hey everyone, my name is Alice, and this semester/quarter I’ve been studying abroad at the University of Manchester in the UK. So far living in the UK has been great! I’ve met tons of people from all around the world, and we’ve had a lot of fun exploring Manchester and other cities around Europe and the UK together.

School has been alright so far, classrooms are about the same size and most professors tend to just lecture off of their PowerPoint slides. Some classes also have a seminar, which is similar to a quiz section but is usually led by the professor and is only held once every two weeks. Since most of the exchange students need to go home before the examination period, we get a special assessment which consists of an essay that makes up 100% of our grade instead of having to sit through an exam like the local students.Alice

The university itself is quite different from UW — instead of having just the school on campus grounds, they kind of placed most of the buildings along just one busy street called Oxford Road. It’s a bit annoying because you’re always in danger of being run over by a car or bus on your way to school but I only live 10-15 minutes away from the business school so it’s not too bad.

Manchester’s city center isn’t very far away from campus, either. It’s about a 20-30 minute walk to Arndale, which is Manchester’s main downtown shopping center. You can find anything you need there, which is very convenient. When I first got here this is where we all went to buy supplies and utensils. There are also a lot of places to eat, bars, clubs, and movie theaters in Manchester’s city center as well to keep us entertained.

Alice (2)If we ever do get bored, though, traveling is always another option. So far I’ve been to Liverpool, Edinburgh, London, Oxford, and Wales. Just a couple of weeks ago Kimi and I went to Italy together for our reading week, which is a week-long break we get in the middle of the semester. We traveled with two other friends, one who was also a business exchange student from Ohio State and another who was a drama major from Tennessee. Our trip around Italy consisted of visits to Venice, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and Paula. Italy was absolutely gorgeous, and I’m definitely planning on going back someday! Next up are Dublin, Paris, Lincoln, and Madrid. I can’t wait!

Two Months In!

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

Exchanges really are full of ups and downs and everything in between. My second month here in Manchester has truly been an experience. I feel as though I have spent more time planning plane tickets and hostel reservations for all of my trips than I have spent reading for any of my classes. A couple of weeks ago was a period called reading week, where we basically had no classes for a solid week. But, being exchange students, I chose to go to Italy instead of reading.

If you are given the opportunity to travel, I highly encourage you do to do it. You learn SO much about the culture, the people you are traveling with and yourself. You learn that things will never end up the way you originally planned them but that, in fact, will make you stronger. For example, during my time in Italy I 1) Got on a midnight train going South to Cecily instead of North to Rome 2) Lost my wallet on a train and 3) Almost got caught in a riot at the Naples train station after filing a police report for my wallet. If these aren’t life lessons learned abroad, then I don’t know what is. But although the week wasn’t exactly what I had had in mind, I’m so grateful that I was able to go and experience it first hand and learn from it. It’s so true that your exchange will provide you with some of your greatest memories of all times. Although losing my wallet did cause me some monetary problems and my British credit card still hasn’t come yet… I still had an amazing time.

After reading week, the last remaining glow of summer has been extinguished and the Manchester rain that we had been so lucky to avoid in the first month has finally caught up to us. My friends and I are finally realizing that we can no longer avoid putting off our massive amount of essays that we need to write and are finding it much harder to get together. We have decided that we are going to try and finish all of our essays early while the weather is bad so that maybe we can really enjoy the rest of our exchange.

This last weekend I went to Paris. Luckily I didn’t lose anything and the trip was amazing. I even managed to meet up with Tori (who is studying in Nantes) at the Louvre!

Next weekend I will be going to Madrid and then before you know it, it will be time to come home. Until then!

First month in Manchester

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Kimi (1)Hey my name is Kimi, and I am currently a Junior studying abroad in Manchester this quarter. I have officially been living here for a month already, and the time has simply flown by.

It has been a great month. I arrived and got settled in with no problem. I live in a dorm called Whitworth Park, and I am really enjoying it. I have my own room, make my own food, and am about 15 minutes from all of my classes.

The actual university is kind of hidden within the city so there is no beautiful campus like there is at UW. While I miss the beauty of our campus, it’s interesting to walk to class with others who are walking to work and such. There is a large diversity of people living in Manchester, and I have met people from ALL over the world.

The classes themselves are pretty interesting and quite similar to UW in the sense that we have big lecture halls. There are some differences however. Here I am taking 5 courses consisting of a two hour lecture once a week, and my entire grade is based off of one essay due at the end of the semester. This basically means that the final month of my time abroad is going to be filled with essay writing. However, the international program that they have here is spectacular and there are always events going on within the school and outside of school. For one of the events we are going to be going to one of the largest indoor ski slopes in Europe! So there has been lots of time to get to know everyone and socialize.

KimiAs I said, there are always things to do in Manchester. So far I have been to several concerts (Manchester has two great music venues), enjoyed experiencing different English Pubs and even managed to get tickets to a Manchester United football game. Soccer is EVERYWHERE here! But I miss American football…

The best part about studying abroad in Europe is that I’m able to travel so easily. So far I’ve only managed to explore within the UK. I’ve been to Liverpool (home of the Beatles), London, Wales and the Lake District which was absolutely beautiful. But in the next two months I’m planning on going to Paris, Dublin, and Madrid. We also have a week long period where we have no lectures called Reading week starting at the end of October. For that time Alice (the other girl studying here from UW), and I are going on a weeklong trip to Italy. I can’t wait!

Kimi (2)The cultural differences between the US and England are subtle but everywhere. Different phrases and ways of asking things always catch me off guard and sometimes I don’t know how to respond. Some people can be rude when I tell them I’m from the states, but for the most part people here are really nice and are always interested about hearing about which part of the States I’m from and ask me about my time abroad in Manchester.

So it has been a great first month in Manchester. I feel so fortunate to be able to study here and meet all of these amazing people from all over the world. I’ve learned so much about all these different cultures and can’t believe how well we all get along. I also can’t believe how fast this trip is going by. I’m already a third of the way done, and there is still so much I want to see and do. We’ll see if I can manage to get it all done.

Winding Down

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I only have 19 more days here. I have super mixed feelings about leaving. Like I miss home and my friends, but at the same time I love travelling. I don’t know if there will ever be another opportunity where I can come to Europe/the UK and travel as much as I like. If I wanted to go to Paris I could…even for as little as 2 pounds if I booked it far enough in advanced! It is getting really really cold here…much colder than I am used to so that’s another plus to leaving now.

Home will be cool for like the first couple weeks to see everyone… and then it’s going to be like … so what are we doing this weekend? Wait what we aren’t going to a foreign country this weekend? booorrrriiiinnnng.

I have already started to look at exploration seminars and internships abroad. I doubt it will work out because of money but maybe an exploration seminar. These are like 4 week trips where you get 5 credits and you travel one country with a UW professor and like 30 UW students. I would love to go to Greece or Germany since I didn’t get a chance to go there yet.

Anywho, I leave for Amsterdam at 3am on Thursday. We will be there for 3 days then go to Brussels for one day. It should be great but realllly cold! I haven’t decided what I am going to do my last weekend. For awhile I was thinking of going to Malaga, Spain then Africa with a group… but I only want to go if they are going to go to Africa for half of it. But part of me thinks I may need that weekend to finish up my last essay and pack… we will see.

Hello from Manchester!

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Hello from Manchester! The University of Washington students have been here for about a month, and we thought it was about time to send in a blog update. First off, to introduce ourselves, we are Brianne King, Natalie Lomax, Stephanie Louie, and Thomas Stannard. The four of us are happy to say that we have finally started to get adjusted to the Manchurian lifestyle.

There are about 100 other direct business school exchange students from all around the world that are studying at the University of Manchester, specifically there are around 40 students from other parts of the United States and Canada. While we’ve been here, we have been working closely with The Manchester Business School (MBS) International Society. The MBS International Society has supplied us with great and knowledgeable student mentors who are available for all our questions. In addition, they host many events that allow the international exchange students to mix and mingle- which is a great for helping us to get adjusted and comfortable across the pond.

mbs.JPGSince we’ve been here, we have been proudly promoting the Foster Business School. On Wednesday, October 22, 2008, the four of us represented UW by participating in the International Fair for students who were planning on studying abroad. As we gave out school flyers and displayed our Foster School PowerPoint, we were able to talk to many interested students into considering UW as an option for their future exchange.

That is it for us for now! Thank you for reading up on us as we continue to venture around England!

Be Proud…I Tried Haggis

Monday, October 20th, 2008

I really did! The first night we ate at the Elephant House (the place that JK Rowling wrote all the Harry Potter books) and Stephanie ordered the Haggis. I was like great that’s just going to ruin my meal having it sit there next to me. We all tried the Haggis and I thought it was absolutely horrible. Everyone else thought it had a nice flavor. I ate the bite then threw in some nacho chips in my mouth as fast as possible. For those of you who don’t have the pleasure of knowing what this meal is, it is all the organs of a sheep, including stomach, heart, liver, etc. blended together for one big lump of grey nastiness.

Despite the Haggis Scotland was absolutely amazing. I really enjoyed the trip even though it was far too short. I like Scotland a whole lot better than Ireland which really surprised me! I traveled with the International Society by coach to get to Edinburgh and  it was a five hour ride buuuuH!. That was pretty rush considering my legs barely fit in the seats. We arrived in Edinburgh at 3pm on Saturday and had the day to do whatever we wanted. Helen, Brianne, Stephanie and I headed to Holyrood Palace first. I was so proud of myself because I led the way with a map from our Hostel to the Palace with no troubles at all… and it wasn’t anywhere close. I don’t really understand why all of the sudden I am able to read a map… I am just so clutch!!

castle.jpgHolyrood Palace was my favorite part of the whole trip. This is the equivalent of Buckingham Palace only the place for the Queen in Scotland. It is definitely nothing like Buckingham in looks but it is still beautiful. The palace sits right underneath King Arthurs Seat which is a large hill/mountain. We got the audio tours and I wish I got audio tours for more things in the past because you get so much more appreciation for what you’re looking at when you knooooow what you are looking at. I learned all about Mary Queen of Scots and her very tragic life. The history was fascinating so much that it inspired me to read more about her story later. After going through the inside of the palace we went out to the Abbey. This abbey was ruined by some rebels that hated the Catholics and it was burned down. Only the ruins are left in the yard of the palace. The ruins are very pretty and you can only imagine how massive this abbey must have been. Then we went through the gardens and learned about the Parties the Queen throws once a year. Supposedly no one likes these parties because every time it happens it brings the worst weather of the year! (more…)

Just an Update

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

General Observations of Manchester:
-No one wears flares… its all about the skinny jeans
-Girls Fad: Black Tights not to be confused with Black Leggings
-They have a big problem with littering
-There is always a line of 5-6 people for use of an ATM
-They don’t make travel sized anything
-Not taking the exchange rate into consideration things are generally cheaper for locals
-Chocolate Croissants are amazing
-Generally only boys weight lift… Girls do cardio
-Many think Americans are all very overweight… fat American jokes are very popular
-They are so punctual when it comes to time!
-Yet so disorganized when it comes to everything else!
-The Bus system is so much better than ours
-Curry is the #1 food in the UK because of all the Middle Eastern people here
-Even professors act surprised when I say that ‘no I am not going to go out tonight’
-They like to make fun of Wales and their obsession with sheep
-Boys are into messy hair and faux hawks with v-neck tees
-Cider is way better than beer (in my opinion)
-You don’t see homeless people
-Shops/Restuarants are closed or closed early on Sundays

On Sunday I went to the ManCity vs. Liverpool game and it was pretty fun. I was under the impression that people in the UK were CRAAAZY about football but they definitely were much more tame than American fans. Not may people dressed in the ManCity colors but Harry Potter type scarves are very popular. They are navy and light blue thick striped and very warm…with the ManCity crest on the bottom. Their mascot is named Moochester and Kaite asked what animal it was. They were very confused and we found out that mascots aren’t really animals here they are just ‘mascots.’ Moochester looked like a cross between a cow and and an alien…not so cute.

People sit at the game and only cheer (more…)