Let me start my first blog post with a phrase I am sure you have never heard before; time flies so fast!
Last year I was a big fan of the Alliance MBS student blogs. I remember myself reading every single one of them and trying to imagine how student life in Manchester could be. Back then, I had not even received my offer of a place in the MSc International Human Resource Management and Comparative Industrial Relations.
Fast forward a few months, and I am actually in Manchester, studying at AMBS and blogging about it. Crazy, huh?
Today marks exactly two months since the day I said goodbye to my beloved family and friends, leaving sunny Athens to come to cloudy Manchester. Well, wait a second… Cloudy?
” Where is the rain? ”, I thought to myself as soon as I got out of the airplane and felt the warm sun welcoming me to the city. Yes, the sky was blue and that was enough to relieve me of the stress and the anxiety that I was then feeling. To be honest though, I am going to tell you later on how, apart from the sun, the University staff and volunteers also did a pretty good job on that.
I took the bus from the airport and arrived at my hall. I would advise all the future students to think how they are getting to their accommodation prior to their arrival. Search which one of the various bus routes may suit you, based on the location of your house and even note down the specific bus stop that you are going to get off. You may even want to print the whole route like I did, since immediate Internet access cannot be guaranteed and, believe me, getting lost in a new big city with heavy suitcases in your hands is no fun! Of course a bus is not the only way to leave Manchester airport. You can take the train, tram or even a taxi. Again, it is better to be prepared and book it beforehand. Moreover, keep in mind that The University of Manchester offers free airport pickup service at certain days and times to students staying in University accommodation.
As soon as I arrived at the campus, young people with the typical University purple shirts and the ‘Ask me’ signs were everywhere, ready to answer to any question and help in any way. Although during the first days the campus was extremely crowded, everyone was genuinely kind, helpful and enthusiastic about the start of the new academic year. Without them for sure I would have got lost, which (of course!) I did every time I visited the busy city centre during the first week.
These first days passed very quickly with continuous trips to the shops in order to buy everything I needed for my new home, induction sessions about the course and visits to the Students’ Union for coffee with my new classmates in order to get to know each other. Making a course group on Facebook and getting in touch with many of them through social media and the University’s Discussion Boards before induction week, turned out to be very useful. When you arrive in a new city without knowing anyone you may feel lonely, so it is good to have people to go for a drink, coffee or even house shopping.
At the end of the second week our course had a weekend trip to Brathay in Lake District, organised by the University. It was an amazing experience that gave us the opportunity to engage in various team activities, bond with each other, get out of our comfort zone and overcome our fears. If someone had told me before that I would jump off a 50-foot pole, I would never believe it. I did it though and it felt great, so I highly recommend the Brathay trip to everyone.
However, this was only the start of my Masters journey here in Manchester. Stay tuned to read more of my adventures and, if this is what you would like, why not imagine yourself studying here as well? I have to warn you though… when it comes to Manchester, often dreams do come true!