By Aurore, Université Claude Bernard Lyon1, Lyon
Being away from your country is both something exciting and something really stressful. My year in Manchester is my first year abroad and my first year in an other city than Lyon, my hometown. I have to say that is was quite difficult, and it still sometimes is.
I have been to England before coming to Manchester, but traveling and living are two really different things. I really like this country, its culture, its cities, its landscapes. Here in Manchester, there is this organisation called “Citylife”. They organise trips and events around the UK and in Manchester. I went to Snowdonia park with them in mid-October and I discovered Wales, where I never went before. This organisation also organises “meet and speak” events every week in a bar in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. I met some really good friends here and we now see each other outside of the event!
The Erasmus community is really amazing. In my group of friends people come from Germany, Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark… We try to learn a bit from everyone language and it’s really funny. Danish seems like a mix of German and Dutch but with a special pronunciation! In fact I had never heard anybody speaking Danish before. We have a group on Whatsapp and sometimes a message pops up and someone says “hey who wants to go out tonight?” and off we go!
Anyway friends are really important here. It’s a bit like a family abroad. But I admit that November is really a hard time to go through. The night falls really early (currently at 4.30 pm it’s all dark outside!) and the distance with the family begins to be tough. My mom visited me in mid-October and it seems that it was a long time ago… In September I booked a plane ticket for the 16th of November, to spend 4 days at home. I was really looking forward to it ! I needed to go home. Now it’s been two weeks since and I’m feeling better.
What I do like about Manchester is its accessibility and the number of destinations that you can reach from this city. I’ve been to Liverpool, a friend of mine went to York, another to Dublin… And this weekend I am going to London ! it just takes two hours by train to reach it. I will see the Christmas lights, Big Ben (even though they are renovating it), Buckingham palace, the Thames… nobody did want to come with me so I’m just going on my own, for the first time. Manchester is really about first times for me. As I mentioned earlier, it is my first time abroad, my first time with my own flat (even if I have a flatmate), my first time with a budget for everything (food, drinks, house…) and my first time travelling alone. I bet others will arrive soon !
I’m first of all here for my studies (even though you can’t really feel it from what I wrote…). Getting used to the way of teaching was really a big deal because it’s really different from my habits. We have to make some extra research for every lecture and we have quite a lot of time to do it. the semester is divided in two parts, and we have different subjects in each. I had 4 classes in the first part of the semester and 12 hours of lecture per week. Currently I only have 2 classes and 6 hours of lecture per week. Because of that I have a lot of free time but it comes with a lot of extra work to do!