Read This Before Traveling

By Kiana Lim

Nursing student, Villanova University, United States of America


I believe that everyone who decides to study abroad should make time to travel to other countries. It can seem daunting, especially because you’re still trying to adjust to a brand new country you have just moved to. But my mom reminded me before I left that I probably won’t get an opportunity like this ever again. This is especially because, for me, it can get pretty pricey to travel to Europe from America. From that point on, I knew that I wanted to make time to travel during my study abroad experience.

While traveling to a foreign country can look pretty glamorous on Instagram, there’s a lot of planning and preparing that goes into every trip. I had no experience with planning trips prior to this year, and so I thought I would share 3 basic steps to start your planning as well as my tips and tricks for anyone else wondering how to start.



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Highlights in Manchester (Part2)

By Julia Nazzareno, Paris School of Business, France 

Previously in Highlights in Manchester (Part 1), I talked about a few places that I love eating at and that I am going to miss very much when I go back home. Now, as promised, here is the sequel to the first article which will hopefully ensure you have the best time in Manchester and you do not miss any great spot. 

First stop, the University! Now, I know it is easy to say and that it is a place that rimes with work, studying and assignments but this is probably the most beautiful school I have ever seen to be honest. You should really take time to explore it and visit the Museum as well. It is a place full of knowledge and it triggers your curiosity and admiration for our long History (stop by Christie’s Bistrot when you are done, it is a good excuse for hot chocolate too).

Then, I think my favourite place to wander around is the city centre. It is full of shops and cafés. And If you are lucky, it will be sunny which makes it ten times better as you can sit on a bench and enjoy the Town Hall or St Anne’s view. Also, if it is not sunny, you can always go to the Arndale Centre which is a mall where there is pretty much everything you need (food, shopping and food again). Maybe go to King Street if you want London vibes too.

Remember when I talked about The café at the Cathedral ? Well you need to visit the actual Cathedral nearby. It is very pretty inside, especially the giant organ. The surroundings of this part of Manchester really reminds me of Brittany in France, it is very authentic and traditional.

When I came to Manchester, the first thing I wanted to do was to visit the John Ryland’s Library which resembles Hogwarts. See the theme here ? I am all about Harry Potter, tea and cake… The entrance is free and when you go in, you don’t feel like it is 2019 anymore. It makes you want to read books and study (maybe not). 

On my way to Dumbledore’s office

If you have a free day, you ought to go to Trafford Centre! It is 30-minute bus ride (Bus 250 works well) and the place is so big and beautiful you will need the full day to truly experience it.

There you go! These are all the main highlights of my journey here in Manchester. I hope I was able to inspire you to visit this city more as it has actually great things to offer appart from just football!

“Manchester’s got everything except a beach” – Ian Brown

A New Place for my English skill to “level-up”

As an exchange student from Taiwan, I once imagined the exchange to Manchester as a magic potion that makes my English skill “level-up” miraculously. After a semester, I realized that this assumption is both true and untrue. In fact, Manchester is a new place with more obstacles and more experience points. The more I know the insufficiency of my ability, the more motivated I am to try to improve myself.


My English is never good enough. Sufficient to survive and make friends here, but far from enough to understand every word of my friends, lecturers (especially those with strong accents or soft voice), movies, and musicals. I love movies and musicals, but I hate it that without the help of subtitles, I always miss a lot of details (oh yeah, every movie and TV show includes subtitles in Taiwan, even if they’re Mandarin voiced. I later found out that I can choose captioned sessions available…I guess I’ll rely on them all the time in the future). Also, I usually struggle when a group of friends are talking. I feel much more comfortable while having a one-to-one conversation─when there’s anything I don’t understand, I can just ask and figure it out on the spot. However, when there are more than one in the conversation group, I feel bad to interrupt even if I’m totally lost (especially when I’m only close to one of them).

Also, when I talk I stutter quite a bit, particularly when I’m nervous, and I have a strong Taiwanese accent. I’m currently doing a piece of coursework, for which I have to record my own voice, and listening to my horrible accent is freaking me out. However, I feel very warm that nearly everyone says my English is already good enough (usually adding something like “I wish my French/ Chinese/ Spanish…etc. was as good as your English”). As for my accent, they also comfort me that accent doesn’t matter that much as long as it’s understandable. My boyfriend, a sweet British guy I met here, even says he finds my Taiwanese accent cute. He says that Britain is a diverse country; different ethnicities and accents are treated with the same respect.

Though I still want to learn British RP accent as much as possible, I’m less anxious now according to my lovely friends. I feel extremely happy whenever people say they can see my accent weaken and my fluency improve. My family visited me at the beginning of this semester, and my brother said he was so surprised to see my great improvement over this time. I have watched more English videos, kept having conversations with native speakers and learnt from both, learning new expressions every day; I’m very glad that my efforts have paid off.

I’m very lucky to have the chance to do the exchange program in Manchester and make so many lovely friends. I hope that my English will become better and better, and I can make good use of such an amazing place, bringing priceless treasures back to Taiwan at the end of the year.

Highlights in Manchester (part 1)

By Julia Nazzareno, Paris School of Business, France

Although Manchester seems really small at times, there are still so many activities and places for you to do and see. In this series of two articles, I will try and shortlist all the places where I most enjoyed eating at (part 1) and all the places I loved visiting and exploring (part 2).

Edible highlights

La Vina, bar y tapas

My mouth is watering…


My kind of philoshophy

There are too many great cafes and restaurants in this town to count but I will try to be as brief as possible so that you do not end up in a food coma. Alright, so the first one I need to talk about is « La Vina, bar y tapas ». This Spanish inspired restaurant is probably my favorite spot because of its style and the taste of its food. I advise you to go there during the week (Monday to Friday) because they have a great deal until 6:30pm where 3 tapas + 1 glass of wine cost 9,99 pounds! If you go on a Friday, definitely make a reservation otherwise you will never get a sit… yes it is THAT good.

La Revolucion de Cuba

When you need a vacation in the middle of all these assignments

If you are daydreaming of drinking cocktails on a beach in Cuba like my boyfriend does, you need to go to « La Revolucion de Cuba ». Manchester can be a bit grey and rainy but when you are in this restaurant you will feel like you are on holiday on a tropical island. They have a great selection of cocktails as well as exotic food but do make a reservation before you go because it is always packed on Friday nights.

Teacup kitchen

If you are like me and you crave something sweet at 4pm and you do not have any lectures (of course…), there is a great range of cafes that i like to go to whenever i feel like tea or/and cake. The first one would be « Teacup Kitchen » which was actually recommended to us our first day at the university, during the presentation speech. This is everything you like about a cafe and English culture: lots of colourful and wild cakes to name a few (rainbow cake, red velvet etc.) as well as all sorts of beverages. You can also eat there and I actually brought my mom when she came to visit because i wanted her to truly experience a typical English breakfast.

Christie’s bistrot

I am now the tea time master

Who knew that the university was hiding one of the most beautiful cafes in Manchester ? Certainly not me until my boyfriend got lots in the buildings and ended up finding « Christie’s bistrot » one day. Well, let me tell you, my tea/English/authentic/book-loving soul was fulfilled. I had the best avocado on toast and my tea came with an hourglass on the side… I love English culture so much….

Proper Tea at Manchester Cathedral

Sometimes you need to get lost to find the best hidden spots. We were just wandering around the Cathedral when we found this cute cafe, a very nice little british spot with lots of tea and cakes once again. But this time, you get a great view of the cathedral and you can listen to classical music while eating brownies and the best Mac n Cheese ever !

Overall, Manchester has so many gems and I wish I could go everywhere just to make sure that I am not missing anything, but the truth is, we keep coming back to the same restaurants because we love it there. I hope I was able to give you some inspiration and that you are hungry now haha

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”    – virginia Woolf

Reading week trip in Edinburgh

By Julia Nazzareno, Paris School of Business, France

For all Harry Potter’s fan out there like myself, Edinburgh is probably the best magical experience you can get here in Britain. It will make you go back in time and experience the town that J.K Rowling got her inspiration from. 

The reading week was an opportunity for us to travel and discover a little more about the country (and work on our assignments of course…). We thus booked a weekend trip to Scotland very spontaneously because I had heard so much about it, especially during Christmas time. We took the train from Piccadilly to Edinburgh  very early in the morning which lasted for around three hours. We also planned on staying one night to give us some time to actually enjoy our visit. I therefore booked the first hotel I was recommended online: the Black Ivy Hotel. It is a little bit on the pricier side compared to an Airbnb but it was the most beautiful hotel ever. Our  bedroom had a view on the Meadows Park which I cannot even begin to explain how beautiful and magical it was. We were so lucky with the sun and everything looked golden and autumnal.

The Castle 

The most outstanding building in town in probably the castle. It lies on top of the mountain looking at you with some real mystic vibes and smog (typically Scottish).  We doubted whether or not we should visit it because one entrance for a student is almost 20 pounds and we were spending a lot in restaurants and hotel already but we decided to go for it anyway because we had to make the most out of this trip. Let me just say that it was one of our best decisions because it was so beautiful and so sunny. 

Calton Hill 

Another landscape that you should not miss if you truly want to experience Edinburgh is the Calton Hill.  It is full of vestige and a great view on the city that makes cool pictures. 

Harry Potter vibes

Victoria Street

If you are looking for a little Harry Potter inspired tour, you can start by Victoria Street which was the street that inspired Diagon Alley in the story. The buildings are so colourful and the architecture in very English. One of the buildings I absolutely  wanted to see was the Balmoral Hotel which is where the author J.K. Rowling was actually staying in when she wrote the very last lines of book 7. It was the most beautiful place ever! 

Doctors pub

Places to eat 

I know Harry Potter is important but what matters most is food isn’t it ? After having walked and travelled for hours, we settled for « Doctors » which was not needles and white blouse but crispy fish and chips and pies (much preferable). If you are feeling like a little coffee, you should check out the Brew Lab Coffee (which was actually recommended to me by the university’s instagram). Pretty much every restaurants looks yummy and you cant really go wrong on that because the city is full of nice pubs. 

When two Frenchies meet two americans


The best part of this trip was when we bumped into my boyfriend’s American class mate in a random pub at a random time just randomly. What are the odds ? He had  not talked to him about the trip nor were they very close. We thought it was so funny and unlikely that we instantly connected and stayed together until we left. We actually saw each other in Manchester when we came back because we could not get over the fact that we had met in Scotland when we had not even bumped into each other in the streets of Manchester. They say exchange programs help you meet amazing people and make unforgettable memories, well it is definitely true and Edinburgh allowed us to truly experience that. 

Overall, I think that the best way to visit any place is to simply wander around and you will end up finding everything you did not know you were looking for. This 48h trip was one of the best trips I have ever had and we are actually considering going back before we leave the country. 

« Coming back to Edinburgh is to me like coming home. » – Charles Dickens


Christmas in Manchester

By Julia Nazzareno, Paris School of Business, France 

I have got some bad news… Christmas is over. The most magical time of the year is now far behind us and I have already missed a few of my resolutions… oops. Let me just say, Manchester really made an effort in bringing warmth and festive vibes to the city. I think that the Christmas Market was probably one of the highlights of my journey here in Britain. I may have eaten all the food every single night because the spirit just made me so happy. If there is one time of the year where you should spend a few days in Manchester, it is definitely during Christmas! It made every night out special as you could just wander by the shops and have an excuse to eat some candy or/and chocolate.  

Such a cosy little market

The urge to buy any Christmas themed homeware or clothes was real but when you stay in one place for less than a year, you need to restrain yourself otherwise it is going to end up in the bin, not your already jammed suitcase. To compensate this frustration I would go to the Christmas market almost every night to enjoy the big Santa Claus on top of the Town Hall as well as the smell of hot mulled wine.  You know, Manchester is quite a small city so you quickly go round and round the centre a million times and you may get tired of it but during Christmas, I could never get fed up with it. There were so many lights, shops and smells to discover which made it incredibly entertaining.  

Christmas Spirit

December also meant that I could go back to Paris to see my family and spend the holidays with them. The only downside of the Christmas holiday though is that you know the exams are just around the corner, patiently waiting for you to return from weeks of eating roast dinners, pudding and red wine. However, this time of year just  passes by so quickly! In one month, you get the end of semester one, Christmas, the new year, the exams and the start of the new term. I cannot believe that this trip is already halfway over. I know I should not see the glass half empty but time flies… I remember my first weeks in Manchester and now it has become a habit and a new lifestyle. The New Year is always a good time to reflect on memories, adventures and impressions. Manchester sure made it feel like home during Christmas and I wish the Christmas market could just stay there all year long.

“Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.” – Oprah Winfrey

A New Adventure Begins

By Julia Nazzareno, Paris School of Business, France

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to live in England because the culture and the Britishness fascinated me. As I grew up and visited the country a fair bit, I knew that I had to live here to truly experience the « British way of life ». So two years ago, when I was given the chance to study abroad as part of my school program, I put Manchester in my top priority list. Could there be a better dream for my younger self: come and study in England and on top of that in one of the best schools in the world ? Certainly not, and that is why I intend on making the most out of this opportunity.  

The University Main Building
Charles de Gaulle Airport – Paris

In September 2018, my boyfriend and I took the plane from Paris and embarked on this adventure together. This was our first time leaving our family for longer than a few weeks which was both really scary yet exciting. I have always been very close to my parents which made the process of going away a lot harder than I had anticipated. Our generation usually dreams of having freedom but it is only when we are on our own that we realise we really need the support of our family. 

So many bricks in the North Campus

When we arrived in Manchester, we were a bit disconcerted with the mix between very modern-new- looking buildings and the more authentic ones like Principal Hotel or John Ryland’s Library. This strange combination is at every corner of the streets which I thought was weird at first. However, through the process of getting accustomed to this new daily life, I found myself discovering so much about the city and the surroundings. Progressively, you forget about your homesickness and you start making Manchester your home. Every time I step foot in the campus, I am always amazed by the beauty of the main building that looks like Hogwarts. This kind of English architecture is  mainly the reason why I love England so much. In France, we do not really have any ancient school premises like that, looking so traditional and authentic. But when you look at London, Oxford, Cambridge or Manchester, it instantly makes you want to study there and have the best of grades.

Automn is the best season

I feel so much like home or myself when I look at Manchester. The modern side of it keeps me integrated into the real world of business that I am pursuing in my studies but I can always count on the traditional brick buildings to bring me back to my passion for history and Britishness. The first few weeks were not easy because the English system is so different compared to the French one. I was certainly not used to having only ten hours of class a week and not knowing how to manage my remaining free time. However, after feeling homesick, lost and having a fair amount of tea, here I am on this new adventure, learning more about myself than ever and more about this city that I can now call home. 

« Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart » – Confucius

The Town Hall !

Foodguide Manchester

By Luna, Heinrich-Heine-University, Germany

As you already got an overview about the city and what to do – here’s to the food lovers. You might say I like having amazing food (and you might be right with that) and Manchester offers you loads of small and independent coffee shops, restaurants and bars where you can treat yourself after working hard on your studies (or without any reason). Who needs an excuse for food?

There is food from almost every country of the world, don’t play it safe with food from your home country but try out new stuff – this is your chance! Dinner is ready …


Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza, St Peter Square


Wagamama, St Peter Square


Vapiano, Corn Exchange


Fig & Sparrow, NQ


Sugar Junction, NQ


Ezra & Gil, NQ

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Ezra & Gil, NQ

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The Foundation Coffee House, NQ

The City never sleeps

By Luna Sickau, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf (Germany)

The city that never sleeps. I know that this is what people say about New York, but Manchester can compete with this (if you know the right places to go).


42s Nightclub

There are loads of different opportunities to go out (almost every day of the week) and 42’s is my absolute favourite one. They are playing Indie and Rock music and the music scene of Manchester is not missing on the playlist. A must visit for everyone who wants to have a good time with friends and likes to dance until the night is over.


Jimmy’s Bar

Some people might not be the dancers – but in the NQ you can sit together with your new friends and have a good time without going into a club.


Oktoberfest Manchester

My German roots made me go to the Manchester Oktoberfest and we had a good time (even though it wasn’t very German and even the music was English, they tried to get the famous ‘Wiesn’ abroad – another sign for the multicultural city).


Christmas Market Albert Square

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. And I definitely fell in love with MANCHESTER CHRISTMAS MARKETS 2018. There are many different areas around the city where little stands of food, drinks and Christmas gifts present their goods – some of them try to be German as well. My favourite one is the market at the Albert Square in front of the town hall with its lovely old wooden stalls and Christmas lights.


05/11 – Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night is on the 5th of November. There are lovely bonfires and fireworks around the city and in different parks.

If you want to find out what the Britains are celebrating at this day check out


Peak District

If you need to escape the buzzing city for a day and the weather is not too bad, you should take a train from Manchester Piccadilly into the Peak District. This National Park offers you a large number of different hiking routes and little villages to visit and the view once you made it to one of the peaks is amazing and worth the walk.


Peak District

When my mum came over to Manchester for a visit, we decided to climb the Mam Tor (Hope Valley) (one of the famous peaks in the area). If you are a fan of nature and fancy a hike without the best path walks, feel free to go to the Peak District. Please wear hiking shoes or at least boots or learn from your mistakes as we did!

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Media City UK

Media City UK is a place where I love to go when I need some fresh air. You can have a walk around the area and the wind will blow your mind free. You can sit at the waterfront and enjoy the silence or have a look around the big media companies like BBC. If you go one a weekend its calm, on weekdays you’ll see business people and students.


Media City UK

In the background you can see the Imperial Way Museum which is worth a visit (in the UK you have free access to almost every museum).


St Ann’s Square

If you prefer staying in the city center there are multiple places to go. Manchester is versatile city …

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John Rylands Library

… one of the best spots (especially for Harry Potter fans) is the John Rylands Library. The building is absolutely amazing and you can feel the power of the place while you’re standing in the old halls between thousands of old books.


The Etihad Stadium Manchester City

If you’re into football you need to see a match in an english stadium. As tickets are always sold out, the secret is to go to a Champions League game! The ticket prices are affordable (at least for students) and the chance to get a ticket is relatively high. I’ve made it to matches of Manchester City twice and absolutely loved the atmosphere in the stadium – even if the fans are extremely quiet in comparison to a real german football match.


Liverpool Road

To conclude my little “What to do in Manchester”-guide one last advice. If you feel like you have seen all of Manchester – there are other cities around. I would recommend Liverpool – it is only a 1 hour train ride away from Piccadilly Station and its quite different to Manchester.

Manchester – the global city

By Luna Sickau, Heinrich-Heine-University, Germany

When you’re going abroad, you always inform yourself about the place which is your home for a couple of month. You may google it, check the wikipedia entry or ask your friends and family. You may also visit the city before you’re even decide to apply for a university exchange. But you’ll never know if you made the right choice before you start living in the city and start to live a daily life there. If you’re reading this and already know that you will come to Manchester – CONGRATULATIONS! You made the right choice.

My name is Luna, a 21-year-old girl from Düsseldorf (Germany) and decided to come to the University of Manchester before finishing my bachelor class of Social Science at home. I fell in love with this amazing city one year ago, when I made in internship in Manchester for a month in the summer of 2017.

Now, more than a year later I am finally back and able to experience Manchester for half a year. I am living in a private flat, shared with international students (I would always recommend staying in a private house rather than living in a small and expensive student accommodation) and I want to give some insights of my daily life and the tell you how it is to be a part of this vibrating city – the city of Manchester.

Manchester is a colourful and busy city with endless opportunities and places to go. Since the day of my arrival, I felt welcome, accepted and appreciated. You’re never alone and even if you feel so, there are so many places to go (in Uni and everywhere else in the city). The people here are friendly, open and helpful (even though I was a bit confused that the bus driver called me ‘love’ on the first day).

The organisation of the University was brilliant, I already got loads of information at home and the welcome week is a must for everyone who’s coming over for their studies. Luckily, I found my two besties on the first day of the welcome week during a campus tour and we started to go to events and parties during freshers week. After spending the first days (and nights) in the city, you’ll get to know other students and the most popular places to go. Even if you experienced the freshers flu week (week 2), it is easy to catch up with your courses and the teachers and tutors are willing to help students if there are individual problems. At the beginning I was a bit confused because of my timetable (as I didn’t have as many courses as I normally have at home), but the workload might be higher than at home and before the first due dates after reading week, you’re happy to have enough time to focus on essays and catching up with readings.

Enough of first impressions – the next post will have loads of photos and tips where to go and what to do. MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN MANCHESTER!


Northern Quarter


St Peters Square


University in September


The University of Manchester


Oxford Road

All photos made by myself, please do not copy or use.