Don’t Forget to Call Mom

By Kiana Lim

Nursing student, Villanova University, United States of America

 

I like to consider myself a fairly independent person.

Back at my home university, I would take a two-hour bus by myself from Pennslyvania to New York whenever I would go home for a holiday break. I thought that this would prepare me for a seven-hour plane ride from New York to Manchester. I definitely underestimated myself.

I had so many worries racing through my mind the day I was leaving home. It had finally hit me that I wasn’t going to see my family for three months, the longest I’ve been away. I was concerned about not having packed enough, packing too much, not making any friends, the list goes on. When I got on my plane, I started to worry about my friends back home. I wasn’t sure how my adjustment would be once I got back to my home university. There are not many people from my home university who study abroad for a full year. However, I soon realized that I shouldn’t let my nerves ruin my experience abroad. This is a once in a lifetime experience, and I knew that I should take advantage of it.

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Missing Manchester

It’s been 2 months since I’ve left Manchester. I ended my semester-long exchange here in mid-December, and after a 2-week trip across Europe, I reached Singapore, right on time to usher in a new beginning.

So, what took me so long to come up with a reflection post? I guess I’ve finally had time to myself so I could pen down my thoughts about these 3-4 months. In between finishing up the essays for my alternative assessment and starting a new semester back home, it was easy to put off the writing of this post. The fact was that i was in denial – I didn’t want to face the fact that exchange had come to an end for me, neither did I want to think about all the things I was already sorely missing.

 

The daily commute to and from school. Oh, bus 147, how I miss running after you.

Wetherspoon’s breakfasts, a gem I discovered far too late. It’s the simple things. Less than 5 pounds for probably the most delicious English breakfast I’ve ever had? Yes please.

How much students here use their voice, to stand up for a cause they believed in.

Strike for pay cuts, the student union building was always decked out in banners and posters publicising some public campaign or another. One that caught my eye was the bright orange banners that called for an end to gender violence. I remember another campaign that aimed to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness in the town. To someone like me, who comes from a country in which platforms for voicing one’s opinion in such a public manner are not as established, these signs and events were amazing.

Afflecks building, and the well-known “on the 6th day, God created MANchester” sign. Blasphemy? Maybe. Quintessential photo spot for anyone who visits the town? Definitely.

In the meantime, I’m still receiving promotional emails from UNiDAYS and Virgin Trains, as well as emails advertising day trips to UK towns. Perhaps I’ll unsubscribe to those in a few weeks’ time, but for now, let me hide away in the corner under my blanket so I can pretend it’s still winter in Oxford Road.

From Lyon to Manchester

 

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.

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Goodbye Manchester

So my time to say goodbye to this amazing city arrived eventually. I haven’t been home for a week yet, but it does feel nice to be back. However, this whole year in Manchester, both working and studying, has been amazing and I’m very grateful for it. Thank you to all the people that have run into my life during these months, you have made them truly unforgettable.

As my final post I wanted to share a little project I did for one of my classes where I combined Trainspotting (one of my favourite films) and the experience of studying abroad.Choose studying abroad-001.jpg

 

On Making Your Study Abroad Experience Your Own, and Other Final Thoughts

IMG_9008By 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: Continue reading

Summer in the City!

It’s been so long since I’ve last written. Manchester seems both like just yesterday and like forever ago; I completed my spring semester, and it was definitely the best year yet overall. Now, I’ve just settled in to my apartment in Boston for the summer! I am so happy to finally be living here and working here. Given that I’ve spent my entire life frequently visiting Boston with my family, I’ve come to love the city, and it has become familiar to me on many levels. My sister goes to Boston University, I love the Italian atmosphere in the North End, and it makes me feel more alive to live by the ocean.

I am so blessed to have an internship in such an exciting city. I’ll be working on medical writing and editing at a very inspiring and successful pharmaceutical company, and this is the perfect time for me to learn about awesome career opportunities. It’ll be different than simply learning about career paths during my previous years at Colgate; this is so much more real because I will be graduating in 2019. Exactly a year from now, I’ll (hopefully) be settling in to begin my official first job, or perhaps graduate school.

The other interns are from all over the country and world. I am definitely looking forward to meeting new people and networking. Here are some of my goals for the summer:

  1. Always be confident.
  2. Work like Jason. (Jason is a guy from my dad’s work who is an incredible worker, always asking what else he can do, always contributing ideas for new ways to move forward).
  3. Don’t worry about anything.
  4. Fearless pursuit of excellence.
  5. Live in the moment, enjoy the city!!
  6. Write more.
  7. Be kind to yourself.
  8. Always go above and beyond, be mature, dependable, and responsible.
  9. Be a self-sufficient and independent worker, but also work well in a team.
  10. Learn new things each day in order to prepare for an exciting career.

I think ten is a good number, and this is a good variety of goals. Here are ideas of places to go this summer and things to do, which I’m sure will grow as time goes on:

  1. The Lawn on D at night.
  2. Eat lobster tails from Bova’s outside!
  3. Read outside, or even in the Boston Public Library.
  4. Walk around Boston Common (or have a picnic).
  5. See a baseball game at Fenway.
  6. Eat more lobster rolls.
  7. Go to the Mapparium.
  8. Eat a Boston Cream Pie.
  9. Gym membership at the Fit Rec.
  10. Watch a performance by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company.
  11. Go to the ICA.
  12. Go to Museum of Science Planetarium.
  13. Go to Museum of Fine Arts.

I can’t wait to go to at least a handful of those places, and I know that time will go by faster than I expect. I’ll sleep soon, but I have a good feeling about this summer and my first day! I’ll write more later.

Missing Home, and other Not-So-Perfect-Study-Abroad-Experience Feelings

By Shannon Mahon, Villanova University, USA

My study abroad experience is somewhat unique (at least by American standards) in that I am studying at University of Manchester for the entire academic year. Of my friends and peers that go abroad, nearly all of them will only be gone for one semester or a summer. With that unique experience comes a unique perspective-especially because I went home for a month for our winter break.  Continue reading

Time of your life.

By Chiara, University “Federico II”, Italy

 

When I went to the airport with my friend, a couple of nights ago, I later took a taxi to go back home. It was six in the morning and not at all near dawn, and the car followed the same route of the taxi that got me home for the first time, five months ago. I remember my past self looking out of the window and wondering whether my new house would look the same as the ones I was seeing passing by, all red bricks and round edges.

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A month before that, I was looking at the city on a map, trying to imagine what my life – what everything would be like. It all feels like centuries have passed, as if I were a completely different person from when I began.

To be honest, I think I am. And that’s what makes going home so scary now.

Will I be the same as I am now? Will I go back to being what I was before? Will I remember the important things this city has taught me? Will I forget?

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Last night on Earth

By Chiara, University “Federico II”, Italy

 

As a child, I loved to travel at night. I loved to get up when it was dark outside and watch as the sky turned light blue then gray then pink and gold. It felt like an adventure, and as if my excitement couldn’t be contained by a normal night’s sleep.

This kind of travels were rare, but I still woke up before dawn on some other special occasions; I remember doing this on my tenth birthday, and before school trips, and after my last high school exam. Watching the sun go up would make me feel so calm and peaceful and at the same time impatient to see what the new day would bring me.

Sometimes I would not even go to sleep: I would stay awake all night until the sun rose. Some of these nights are the best memories I have in my life, moments in which time seemed to stop and the night stretch on forever, then bursting in the blinding light of a new day. I call these moments my ‘last nights on Earth’, maybe because it feels like leaving something behind, maybe because it feels like beginning anew again. Tonight is both.

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