January 2018: Christmas break and the end of first semester

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Happy new year! 2018 is here and I wish it brings nothing but happiness to all of you.

The last weeks before the Christmas break were full of mixed feelings. I was fascinated by how beautiful Manchester looked with the Christmas lights and decorations all over the streets of the city centre. My favourite part was the Christmas markets located at the Albert Square. I loved visiting them and enjoying mulled wine during my study breaks. The weather got colder and it even snowed for a few days!

And while we had the perfect Christmas atmosphere, these days were also stressful for us IHRM students. Within one week we had to submit essays for two of our units, Research Methods for Organisations and Human Resource Management: Strategy and Practice. Essays are a big part of our course; they are worth 100% of the overall grade for the majority of our courses. Although most of us prefer them compared to exams, academic writing can turn out to be challenging, especially for international students like me, that had never written a Masters level essay in English before. Both the Library and the University’s Language Center offer guidance and seminars on improving your language and writing skills. I attended some of them and I found them very helpful and enlightening. As always, practice also helps a lot.

As soon as we were finished with our Uni obligations, it was finally time to relax. I had only one day before flying back home so I rushed to the shops to buy gifts for my friends and family. As a proper shopaholic, I enjoy all the shopping options that a big city like Manchester has to offer. In the evening, we gathered at the accommodation of a friend for a goodbye party. We had such great fun until late at night that I almost missed my flight the next morning!

While being on the plane and heading back to Athens, I had time to think and do a recap of my time in Manchester. I felt extremely grateful for all the experiences I have gained and the wonderful people I have met. Being part of an amazing mix of cultures and having the chance to get to know and become friends with people from all over the world, is probably the best part of studying abroad.

I met my family at the airport with a huge smile on my face. It felt so good to be home again! The four weeks that I spent in Greece included lots of hugs, catching up with friends, Christmas parties, food (obviously!), dancing and laughing. However, our essay deadlines did not ‘go on holiday’, so guess what else had to start except from the new year… Yeap, got it right, studying!

Limiting procrastination, along with travelling more and exploring my career prospects, are the resolutions that I have set for 2018. I am getting back to Manchester tomorrow and since January exams are starting in a few days, I am sure I will meet all of my classmates and friends at our favourite place; the library!
Well, it is time to go now, my empty suitcase is lying on the floor, patiently waiting for me to pack it. Having to leave my family is not pleasant, but I am happy to return to my second home and excited to find out what the new year has in store for me. I promise to share all the interesting parts here with you. See you in February!

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