So updating my blog might be a little more challenging than I originally thought. I assumed that because I was not working that I would have a lot of free time to write about everything going on. I forgot to factor in that I have classes, a huge city to explore, tons of travel to do, and can sleep for twelve hours if I feel like it (and let me tell you, I feel like it often).
It’s been two weeks since my last blog so I am not going to do a play by play of everything that’s gone on in my life because… well I’m very long-winded. I wrote almost 2200 words about my journey from America to England… which was two days. I’ll try to be chronological but there is so much happening that I can’t promise anything!
For the weekend I arrived, I didn’t really do anything. I slept for eighteen hours one of the nights and couldn’t adjust my sleep schedule that well. Napping and those eighteen hours sleeps do not help me out. It took me until the following weekend to correct my sleep schedule to a proper one. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was mostly looking around Manchester. It really is incredible how great this city is. I would consider myself a city kid being so close to Boston but it doesn’t compare to Manchester. The buildings are overwhelming. I’ve been here two weeks and I still shake my head in disbelief that I am living here.
Monday was when all of the international students met for the first time. It was essentially an orientation for us where we learned what resources were where. After two hours of that, we had registration for classes. I was very lucky to land into two classes that I am very interested in: International Order & Disorder and Human Rights in World Politics. I also ended up getting into Crime and Popular Culture for my Criminal Justice minor as well as Personality and Abnormal Psychology for my Psych minor.
After we picked our classes, there was an international student reception. It was my first chance to try some British food. I had tuna jackets and cheese and bean jackets. Jackets are basically sushi-sized wraps from tortilla bread. We also had lamb kabobs which were delicious. The reception was not that engaging and most of us students left after an hour or so. We made our way a mile down the road to ASDA, which is owned by Wal-Mart and once you go in, you can see why. It’s basically a grocery store on the first level and a department store on the second.
I also met most of my flat mates on Monday. I have to say that I’m really lucky to have landed with such awesome people. They really seem to want to engage with me. They wanted me to keep talking to hear my accent, haha. My flat is a ten-person one so I was lucky to land in one where everyone is so cool.
Tuesday was my first day of uni. Schooling is different in Manchester. Instead of going to one class twice/three times a week for 75/50 minutes, you have one hour of lecture for a unit (unit = class) and one hour of class. During lecture, the entire hour is spent by the professor talking on a topic. You don’t even raise your hand; it’s solely for the tutor (tutor = professor) to teach. The class part of the unit is where students discuss what was talked about in the previous lecture. It’s mostly student-run with the tutor there to guide the conversation. I am a big fan of this system because you know what you’re in for each hour rather than in America where you don’t know if it’s a lecture, PowerPoint, group work, or what have you for each class.
On Tuesday night, some Americans and I went to the student union for pub trivia. First, yes the student union has a bar in it. The trivia was mostly about British pop culture but we still didn’t come in last so that was an achievement. When I got back to the flat, everyone was getting ready to go to the club and invited me along. Let me tell you that clubbing in America is archaic compared to here. We went out at like 11:30 and didn’t get back til 3:30 (and this is a Tuesday night!). The music that is played here is so much better than in America too. They went from Eminem, to Backstreet Boys, to Destiny’s Child, back to LMFAO. It was the best mix of music I’ve ever experienced. If you didn’t know it, now you do: the Brits know how to party.
I honestly don’t remember much of anything important happening Wednesday thru Friday. I didn’t have uni any of those days. I spent a lot of time writing cover letters and submitting applications in for summer internships. I also went to a pub for food for the first time. Dining here is so much more casual. There aren’t really any restaurants in the first place to eat, only pubs. At the pubs, menus are at the tables already and you seat yourselves. When you know what you want, you go up to the bar and order it. They usually give you an empty bottle with a spoon that has a number on it for your table. If not, they usually have the number permanently etched on the table. You get your drink from the bar tap and they serve you the food from the bar. I like this much more than in America because your dining experience is paced how you want, rather than someone waiting on your every so often.
On Saturday, two friends and I went to Liverpool! Our day started at eleven, walking to the train station. Our train was scheduled for 12:07. At 11:50, we were on the platform and they announced that our train was cancelled! I was not a fan of that. We had our tickets reissued for the 1:07 train and got some Burger King in the station to kill time. At 1:02, they announced that the 1:07 train was 33 minutes delayed. Needless to say, none of us were happy. We finally got on the train to Liverpool at 1:45, almost two hours after our ticket was issued for.
Liverpool was really nice, I must say. We walked thru a shopping area then went to the Liverpool Cathedral. I had never been in such an ornate and beautiful cathedral in my life. It really was inspiring. After that, we wandered a little more until we came to The Cavern Club. This is important because it was the first venue that The Beatles performed in. They charged a pound to get in, though, so we didn’t eat there. We ended up going to an Italian restaurant called Castro (I believe that’s what it’s called at least!). I was ecstatic because I love me some Italian food. I had garlic bread with cheese along with salmon topped pasta in garlic sauce (they don’t have alfredo sauce!). Oh, and three glasses of wine, tehe.
Once we got back to Manchester, our flat was getting ready to go out again. Needless to say, I was game. However, the wine that I had didn’t mix well with the smoothies that my flat mates were serving so I ended up staying in. I wish I could have gone out and enjoyed my first Saturday night but it would have done me a lot of damage had I gone.
On Wednesday (yes, I skipped three days since it was mostly filled with eating food, going to the pub, and sleeping) we went to the Refreshers Fair. It was basically an involvement fair where a lot of the unions were showing why we should get involved with them. A weird part of being involved in Manchester is that you pay a membership fee for each union that you join. The flipside to that is that there’s no mandatory involvement fee like there is a Bridgewater. I put my name down for the school newspaper, surprisingly. There is not that much commitment and if I can write an article or two that gets published, that would be really cool.
Yesterday I had my first psychology lecture. It was at 10am and I had to walk a mile and a half to get there. Obviously it was raining. I know there is a bus service that could get me there quicker but I really don’t find the worth in buying bus fare to go a mile when I am able to expand my knowledge of Manchester on my way to class. After class, shocking enough, I took a nap (hah). The rest of the day was spent on internship applications. I had a couple glasses of wine with the flat mates and American friends and went to bed.
Today has been spent completely on internship applications. I am so excited to start interviewing for several positions that I have been contacted for. I know that I am going to learn a lot over the next several weeks. I can only hope that the end outcome will be me getting an internship. I am hopeful that I will be able to get one!
I’m very excited for the next several weeks! I am going to Scotland next weekend, Amsterdam the week after that, Paris the week after that, Dublin several weeks after that, Spain and Italy two weeks after that, and Prague at some point after that. Being able to finally see the world gets me so excited!
I’ll hopefully put up another blog this weekend on things that I’ve learned since being in Manchester and some things that are much different comparing the US and England. Cheers!