By Shannon Mahon (Villanova University, United States of America)
I started writing this post as a cheesy, nostalgic account of how much my year abroad meant to me and all of the great things I learned about myself and the world while I was here. I got about three sentences in before I realized how that would do nothing to accurately depict my point, and it would get nowhere in telling others what it’s like to study here, and here is why:
Everyone’s study abroad experience is their own.
You could read thousands of stories from students that come from all over the world to study at the University of Manchester, and every single person will experience something different and take something away that in no way resembles anyone else’s thoughts. This is because everyone’s uni experience, everyone’s abroad experience, is independent and personal to them. So in this post I want to briefly give some advice on what you should expect from a study abroad should you choose to do it.
My advice is do not come with any expectations. Manchester is an incredible city with rich history and culture of its own; explore it for yourself and see what you take away. The students and other people you will meet here all have their own rich history and culture, talk to them and see what you take away. Do not let anyone tell you what you are supposed to be learning from living in and experiencing a new city. Just experience it and let that experience be yours.
I didn’t want to tell my story and my takeaways here because my experience is personal and it is mine, and I love having that all for myself. And I want other people to be able to come here the way I did knowing that you will have a great experience, but not knowing exactly what that experience would be. So my advice is just go see and do as much as you can, talk to as many people as you can, and just be open to what everyone and everything is telling you.
You will absolutely learn so much if you go abroad. You will have a great time and you will love it through every up and down. I won’t say its perfect every minute (see my previous post!) but when it comes time to leave and you look back on everything, all of it is something you’ve learned and grown from, which is incredible. You will transform as a person-even if you feel like you’ve had the most boring study abroad ever, you’ve taken something from it.
Maybe you’ll even leave a little bit of an impression on Manchester too 🙂