Tomorrow will officially make it a week since I have been in Manchester! Time has gone by so quickly and it’s crazy to think how fast these next 5 months will fly by! Classes don’t start until Monday, so this past week we have been attending orientation events, meeting other study abroad students & exploring the town of Manchester. We started the week by taking a walking tour of the city, which to my surprise, offers tons of different things to do & see. Manchester is home to multiple free museums, art galleries, concert halls, shopping centers & so much more. Everywhere you turn there always seems to be a cafe connected to a store or on a street corner. That is definitely a big trend I have noticed since being in the UK.
I have discovered a store called “Primark” that I have fallen in love with. To compare, it is like a Forever 21, except cheaper and with even cuter clothes (in my opinion). It is a little strange how cheap they sell everything there, but hey, I’m not complaining!
The weather is still something I am definitely getting used to. Everyday it has rained at some point; whether all day or just occasional showers here and there. I have now considered it to be “sunny” if the blue sky shows for at least 10 minutes in the day. I think it’s safe to say I definitely won’t be getting a tan while studying here. The wind here is also crazy! I have never been somewhere where it has blown so strong; it practically pushes you down the street while you’re walking! It’s awful too if you’re walking against it because it’s so strong. Then again, it makes you feel like you’re in a movie, with you’re hair blowing against the wind, in slow motion (it never looks that elegant though).
This past week we also received our class schedules. I will be taking four different classes while here & I am lucky because I have no Friday classes! The education system here is very different than the United States. Students here have to decide in high school what they want to study in college and take tests for it. If they decide they want to “change their major”, they have to go back and take the test for that subject, then start over in college with those new classes. So students here are very knowledgeable in the one subject they’re studying; whereas in the States, our knowledge is very broad. I will be taking a live events class, events feasibility, tourism destinations, and a speaking & listening class. The grading system is also very different here. For a majority of my classes, I will just have one (maybe two) big assignments at the end of the semester that will count as my grade. I know for my events feasibility class I have a paper due that is worth 100% of my grade. Unlike back at ECU where I had multiple grades to submit all throughout the semester; independent study is very big here in the UK.
This Tuesday is my birthday and I will be turning 20! I am excited to be able to celebrate in a different country, but I will definitely miss not being able to be with family. Myself & some friends are going to see a Manchester United game Tuesday & we will go out and celebrate after. I am very excited for that 🙂 I am very blessed with the friendships I have made so far on this journey and for the people in my program. I couldn’t imagine doing this trip without them. Below are some pictures from around Manchester and campus. Enjoy!