University of Deusto, Spain
I guess I should start my first post by introducing myself, so there we go: my name is Olatz and I am from Bilbao in the north of Spain. I am basically studying Modern Languages, specialised in English and Linguistics, so what better place than England to carry on with my degree?
Side note: I first wrote this post when I had only been for a week in Manchester, but due to some technical problems I have not been able to publish it before. So there might be some changes.
I left sunny and warm Spain and got ready for a year full of rainy and cloudy days. And I wasn’t wrong, it was pouring raining when I got to the city. The two layers of clothes I was wearing in order not to pay for extra weight at the airport didn’t seem to be enough. However, unlike the weather here, the people I have run into this weeks have been lovely, welcoming, warm and any other positive adjectives you could think of. I was lucky enough that as soon as I got off the bus a girl offered to accompany me and my friend to what it was going to be my new home. Just imagine two Spanish girls arriving in a new city, with a suitcase in each hand and trying to use google maps while escaping from the rain. What a show!
I had a lot of cleaning to do in my room (not to mention the common areas of the house; seriously, why would someone leave a toothbrush under one of the cushions of the couch?), but I was too tired to do it that day, so I just went to buy some bedding, had a pizza for dinner and went straight to bed.
It was the moment to clean and decorate my room, make it my own. It took some time, but right now, I can say I feel really good and comfortable writing this post in my cosy bed, surrounded by pictures of my family and friends and the flag of my football team. It feels like home. And now that I’ve mentioned home, I thought it would be hard to get used to a new place. I already convinced myself about how much I was going to struggle during the first couple of weeks, it wasn’t half as hard as I thought it would be.
Having said that, Manchester really feels like the ideal place for anyone wanting a fresh start like me. It has all that anyone who wants to leave home could ask for, but at the same time it is so welcoming that it makes it easy to call it home as well. So diverse and so unique, that’s Manchester. You can walk down its streets wearing literally anything that people won’t even bother. Just be yourself, we don’t care.
Among the great places of Manchester, Afflecks is definitely one of my faves. When people ask me “what is it?” I just tell them to go and see it by themselves because it’s difficult to explain it. I just love it. Another good thing about Manchester are the plenty of museums you can find in the city, which, if I’m not wrong, are all free!
As expected when I arrived, I’ve been up to quite a lot these past few weeks: vintage kilo sales, museums, Erasmus parties, nice pubs and cafes, first uni days, a pub quiz, a lot of international food… I even went to London to visit a friend! But I will talk about all that in another post as I only wanted to make a brief introduction to my year abroad in this one.
So… nice people, a good music scene, loads of pubs, clubs, bars and cafés, a city full of history and culture… like, what else could one ask for? Well, yeah, a bit of sun and warm weather, but apart from that, there’s nothing missing here. As Ian Brown, the lead singer from The Stone Roses, said, “Manchester’s got everything except a beach.” and, to be honest, I cannot wait for all that “everything” to come to me.