By Poon Yun Xuan, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Hello everyone! I’m Yun Xuan and I’m a Linguistics & Multilingual Studies major from Singapore! I’ll be spending a semester at the University of Manchester and I’m so excited to be sharing my experiences with everyone here.
Let’s start with my first week here! Orientation was held during the first week, and there were fairs held for the different clubs and societies, as well as for sporting events. The first week definitely encapsulated the lively university spirit, with all the events and tours and talks and people handing out food discount vouchers (pizza and burritos for 1 pound? Yes, please!)
My friends and I went on a campus tour organized by the Student Union, which helped us loads in finding our classes when they started a week later. We also went on a city bus tour that took us around the football stadiums, outlet stores and the other areas outside of the city centre, which until then was the only part of Manchester I knew about. We learnt a bit about the history of Manchester and its industrial past, which was really interesting.
The highlight of my second week was, hands-down, watching a live soccer match for the first time. It was a match between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk from Ukraine, and it took place in Etihad Stadium, which is Man City’s home stadium. The Student Union was selling cheaper tickets during orientation week, so my friends and I grabbed the opportunity to have the true blue Manchester experience. Now, I have to say, I’m not a soccer fan at all. I barely know anything about it, but I completely enjoyed watching the match because of the atmosphere in the stadium. There were little kids dressed up in white and blue and grown men decked out from head to toe in Man City gear, all cheering their hearts out. It was impossible not to join in on the infectious spirit. I don’t think I’ve been converted into a soccer fan yet, but it was definitely a phenomenal experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. You’ve probably heard it and I’ll say it again – you have to watch a soccer match when you’re in Manchester!
Now that it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve reached Manchester, I’ve formed my first impressions of the city. I came to Manchester without knowing much about it, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. On first impressions, I find that what characterizes Manchester as a city is its defiance and strength. When I think of England I think of the rolling countryside, the peaceful meadows and the beautiful, quiet towns. My experience of Manchester so far has been nothing like that. It’s loud, dynamic, vibrant, and unapologetically so. There’s a spark about the air and an unwillingness to take things lying down, and I find it so captivating. There’s so much that this city holds, and I can’t wait to see all of it in the remaining 9 weeks to come!