By Carine Huurman, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Before I went to Manchester, I had been volunteering in a conference centre in South England. When I chatted with the guests or the staff of the centre about Manchester they reacted all in a different way: Some of them called it a “StudentCity,” others almost described my Exchange to Manchester as the worst choice I had ever made. Most of them had never been here, though. So before I arrived in Manchester I was really puzzled and I didn’t know what to expect. I was asking myself questions like: Did I make the right choice? What would my flatmates be like? Would I “fit” in the British society for these four months?
On top of that, I was really worried about my accommodation. Until the 12th of September I didn’t know if there was room left in the house I applied for. During the last week of August my Dutch friends started to ask me questions like: What is Manchester like? Do you like your accommodation? (Most Dutch universities start during the first week of September.) I had to answer them that I hadn’t got a clue what Manchester was like and that I didn’t know where I was going to live. They answered me that everything would be fine but it didn’t sound really convincing to me.
Than finally…. the time was there to pack everything and getting ready to leave my lovely small rainy country.
After finishing all the paperwork I could finally enjoy the fact that Manchester would be my home for the next few months. It was time to look forward to meeting people from all over the world. When the moment of leaving was there I could only be excited about going to Manchester.
And than on the 14th of September I arrived in my new home and it was empty. (Luckily, this has changed.) It was a whole new experience for me to cook and take care of buying my own food. I finally realised how much my mum normally did for me.(Thank you mum!) But living in a Manchester flat shared with other students is so much more than only cooking and sleeping or hanging out every time you want. It also gave me the opportunity to explore the maximum of Manchester City and what is a better place to start than the John Rylands Library (see picture below)? I was impressed by the beauty of the building and in my thoughts I already embraced Manchester.
Before I arrived, I thought that it would be very difficult to make friends but actually it was really easy. Every one was really kind and I already got a lot of telephone numbers and new Facebook contacts during the first few days.
Three days after my arrival in Manchester, I was wandering around in the city and I realised that Manchester already felt like HOME to me!