moving

My Mancunian Bucket List

As I write this, I truly can’t believe I’ll be saying goodbye to Manchester in just a few days. The soggy (but also sometimes surprisingly pleasant) weather, the malt-scented air courtesy of the nearby barley breweries… The 3 for £5 jäger bombs at the Students’ Union.

No, really though, despite or… In addition to its unique features and sometimes having wished away weeks of seemingly unending deadlines and exams here, it will be with so much fondness that I’ll look back on my student years in this great city.

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Spotted: The Malt-Maker

Like all good send outs and in keeping with the thrilling format of digestible paragraphs, I felt it only right to mark my departure with a bucket list – a lineup of lasts that I will be trying my best to check off before coming to terms with packing… So without further ado!

One Last Curry and/or Pizza

Preferably both shall be achieved! Renowned for its curries, it’s nearly impossible to leave Manchester without investing in one last spicy blow out. Pizza does follow closely behind the smoking tracks of a good ole’ vindaloo though, and some of the best I’ve had have been here. Hit Rudy’s in Ancoats for an amazing Portobello or stray from the Curry Mile and feast on the blissful vegan and veggie friendly street-food-style food at Bundobust just off Piccadilly Gardens.

One Last Campus Photo Shoot

One of the Less Soggy Days… 

It’s hard to fathom that once the irreversible process of graduation occurs, (well done) you’ll simply be a nosey tourist or desperate alumnus reliving the glory years at your Alma Mater ‘for the laughs’ *snort*. Save your pride and dedicate one last -preferably sunny- afternoon to taking it all in! We’re lucky to have some gorgeous buildings on campus, both old and new, so enjoy them while you can. Of course, the sensible time for such a narcissistic selfie fest would be graduation, but there’s nothing like capturing that final post exam feeling at the end of your degree!

One Last Night Out

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McDonald’s: The all too Familiar Conclusion to a Night at Revs de Cuba

It almost goes without saying that one last night out on the town is a must! Over 21’s treat yo’ selves to a sophisticated evening at Albert Schloss, or go vintage and return to the sweat-clad walls of Factory for old times sake.

 One Last Night IN with Friends

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Just as important, and a lot more budget-friendly, a final night in with friends should be ticked off too! Sit in, chat and relax or furiously fashion some traditional Japanese cuisine!

One Last Magic Bus Journey

Magic bus

Despite bus-ing quickly becoming one of the more expensive ways to get around town, the Magic Bus remains a faithful steed to us all. Take one final voyage on one of the ole’ gals just to see the look on someone’s face (preferably someone unfamiliar with Manchester’s transportation services) when you describe a vehicle they can only imagine resembles the night bus from Harry Potter.

One Last Good Deed

Whether it’s a karma-increasing exercise or simply a genuine good deed, there is so much opportunity to do something positive and give back to the community!

From the ‘Give it Don’t Bin It’ campaign and the textbook donation scheme on campus to simply handing someone on the street a sandwich or signing up to become a regular blood donor, the impact to made is never far away.

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So there you have it, a list of Mancunian lasts! It’s been a great, until next time Manchester!

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Keeping in touch with friends

The countdown to the end of exams is on!  With the summer holidays being just around the corner it’s a time for excitement, the making of plans, and getting ready for some long summer days of much needed R&R.   However, the prospect of leaving this glorious city for a few months and saying farewell to uni friends is a cause of worry for many, and you may be concerned about missing them.  As a final year student myself, the thoughts of missing and losing touch with friends are more prominent than ever.

Having spent every summer away from the UK and doing study abroad in Canada during my third year, I’ve learnt that staying in touch with friends is super easy and that you needn’t fear about losing friends.

We’re told often that long-distance communication is easier than ever, and that until only a few decades ago the ability to have a real-time conversation with someone on the other side of the globe was pure science fiction.  Today, social media lets us keep track on what’s going on in our friends’ lives across oceans and the internet lets us chat for free with anyone across the world (except China and North Korea of course, and interestingly Bangladesh and Tajikistan according to Wikipedia).  This is all very obvious, and if you can sustain a good social life in 2017 without Facebook then I’m honestly amazed.

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But the most important lesson I’ve learnt is that it’s okay not to stay in regular contact with friends and that you shouldn’t be scared of losing touch.  One of my concerns when moving to Canada for my study abroad was that my wonderful UoM friends would drift away and that things would be different when I came back.  But at the same time I wasn’t willing to spend loads of time nattering with friends back home – I wanted to dive head-first into my new life in Canada, and focus on meeting new people, trying new things and travelling.  I didn’t want to be held back by spending evenings tapping away on FB chat.

By keeping busy and spending a lot of time with people, I kept the feeling of home-sickness (or Manchester-sickness) at bay – I was having too much fun to be sad!  I did occasionally Skype a friend back home for a catch-up or if I was feeling down, but in all honestly this was never as good as a proper chat face-to-face.  Don’t feel weird if your Skype conversation feels a bit stilted or awkward – how often in real life are you staring at your friend and devoting 100% of your attention to them for a prolonged period?  Normally you have natural breaks, look away, have a drink etc.  You’re not forced to make constant conversation!  Also, as great as FB is for maintaining connections, I find being sat there tapping away pretty boring – it’s no match for a real chat and you’ve probably got more interesting things going on.

When I got back to Manchester it was just like old times – if you really are good friends with someone it’ll take way more than a few months or a year to change that!  If anything, the lack of constant contact made the reunions extra special and I definitely didn’t feel like I missed out.

However, my worries about leaving Canada were about 10 times greater than those about leaving Manchester.  When flying out of MAN airport I knew that I’d be back in less than a year, but when would I be going back to Canada anytime soon?  As well as making some wonderful Canadian friends I’d also gained amazing friendships with people from all over the world, and thought of losing these was heart-breaking.

Thankfully, this last year in Manchester has proven to me that I didn’t have to be scared, and that things work out for the best.  A group of us met in Copenhagen this February for a mini-holiday, and it was just like old times!  Within an hour we joking, chatting and cuddling up on the sofa, and it felt like only a week since we’d seen each other.  I feel fully assured that I’ll be able to sustain my friendships in future, even if it’s many years before I see people again.  Eventually I’m sure you’ll cross paths with many old friends again.DSCN2081.JPG

(A photo of me and my Vancouver friends having a reunion in Copenhagen)

Of course, there are probably some people who I won’t see again and some friendships will have to be confined to memory.  But I don’t let this get me down as it’s natural for friends to drift apart as the times change as well as people, but I’m always immensely grateful for the good times we had and the things I gained from the friendship.  I feel that most relationships are quite transient and that’s quite beautiful in itself, because as well as drifting away friends in life we can always make new ones and become closer to others.

Wow, I’ve deviated quite a lot from my initial blog idea to talk about how easy it is to stay in touch with people.  This is getting quite philosophical now – talking about the nature of relationships and how times change.   Ultimately what I want to say is don’t worry about losing touch and that good friendships take a lot to diminish, but that it’s good to accept that good things come to an end and that we should appreciate them for what they were.  Namaste.

 

Moving Out

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Why I’m opting for UniBaggage this June

As the academic year draws to a close and the freedom of summer becomes a real, tangible concept, one seemingly small task stands in your way… Moving out. 

For the majority of students at university, term-time accommodation is exactly that – a term-porary arrangement. Like the noble hermit crab, students too have learnt to adapt to their surroundings, moving from abode to abode, upgrading to more suitable shells when they outgrow their old. Our similarities with the crustacean end there, I hope.

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Shinneayy – When you spot a new shell

 So whether you’re looking forward to a few more years at Manchester and just bidding adieu to halls or in your final semester and reluctantly handing in the keys to your flat, here are a few points to check off before you go!

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Avoid panic scoffing 101

  1. Food

Get rid of it! Try to plan out your meals for the last few days before moving. No one wants two fishcakes with a side of rice pudding for dinner… Make your final culinary ventures triumphant! I’m a big fan of batch cooking and find it really useful to keep a note of any extra portions I have hiding away in the back of the freezer. If you find that you do have an odd combination of leftovers, collaborate with a housemate to make something half decent! Too much food and need to clear it in a rush? Donate it. Food banks like Manchester Central on Oxford Road do an amazing job and would only be happy to help you with that surplus of baked beans!

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Me to my past self when I remember the chilli I’ve frozen

  1. Cancelling Bills

A less enthralling task, but one that needs to be done unless you intend to pay for your successors’ utilities… You can do this by simply ringing up and explaining when you will be moving out. This may require a meter reading depending on what bill you’re cancelling so be prepared to find ‘the box’.

  1. Changing Postal Address

Another sleep inducing chore, but again, important! Think magazine subscriptions, your contact lens deliveries and voting cards. You can notify most companies and organisations of your change of address online so it needn’t be too time consuming. Don’t forget to let your family and friends know to divert your care packages over the summer as well! 17813919_1694617144168942_968862816_n

The moment you realise someone else has your National Geographic

  1. Cleaning Up

The big one. The event you’ve been postponing for weeks now, but can barely bring yourself to begin, unless of course you’ve procrastinated a bit a la Kim and Aggie during exams and are ahead of game now. I’d recommend tackling your own bedroom first, once you know you’ve conquered the self-inflicted filth, you should be good to attempt the communal areas. Try to divide the rooms up fairly and make it fun! Get a good playlist going and treat yourself to a meal out afterwards… Wouldn’t want to mess up that immaculate kitchen!

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Yeah, jump into cleaning this house

5. Recycling

Not your weekly bins, although that’ll need doing as well. You may have spotted the large colourful recycling containers dotted around campus and University halls. These are exactly what they claim to be – an easy, fuss free and accessible way to donate any items you may want rid of, from pots and pans to old books and that duvet your Mother has pleaded with you not to bring home. It’s a no brainer – good for you, good for the environment and good for charity!

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Suitcase bashing: Valid exercise

6. Storing

For the items you do want to keep hold of, decide what you will need over the break and what you want to do with the rest. There’s a whole range of storage companies out there, eager to take the load off you for a while if you are returning in September. If you can, it’s worth getting in touch with your new landlord or letting agency to discuss the possibility of storing things at the new property over the holidays as well.

(6.5 …and Shipping)

Whilst more than a third of current students will be staying on to continue their studies or live and work in Manchester, the rest will be moving on and no doubt will have accumulated a considerable collection of possessions during their time. Enter UniBaggage. Without sounding too much like an article with a questionable injection of product promotion that could set off anyone’s overactive cringe gland, this company has truly been so great in moving me over, back and here again, saving time, money and energy that would otherwise have been spent on driving a car-load of things from Ireland.

7. Returning Keys

So, you’ve done it! House – pristine, food – all gone, unwanted items – donated and everything else in storage. You’re ready to go… Just don’t forget to return your keys! Most landlords and agencies will expect the whole set when the last tenant moves out, so it’s a good idea to have this individual look over the house inventory before they leave as well.

For further tips and advice, see the Union’s ‘House Advice’ campaign, with a few more points that are definitely worth remembering when moving out!

https://manchesterstudentsunion.com/top-navigation/advice-service/accommodation-advice/moving-out

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Moving Day

Coming to a house near you

Give It Don’t Bin It

With summer quickly approaching and house moves coming up for many, it’s time for another of the hugely successful Give It Don’t Bin It campaigns. As a student who has loved living in Manchester for years, this is definitely one of the easiest ways students can give to charity, help reduce their carbon footprint, and give back to the local community.

Give It Don’t Bin It is an annual collaboration between Manchester University, MMU, the logo_newsarticleCouncil and charities to encourage students to recycle and donate their unwanted items to the British Heart Foundation and foodbanks as they pack up for the summer. Last year, students donated a tremendous 124 tonnes to the charity which raised £230,723 towards lifesaving treatments and research.  This fantastic amount helped to fund 43 Defibrillators, 38 CPR kits, 4 Heart Start Groups, 13 British Heart Foundation Shops and 51 Research Grants!

GIDBI_Food_transparentNot only does Give It Don’t Bin It make a great contribution to medical research, but it also means that hundreds of tonnes of unwanted possessions are recycled instead of going to landfill.  In addition to helping the environment this saved the city £50,000 in landfill costs in 2015.

Together, long-term residents, landlords and Manchester Leadership Programme students contribute hundreds of volunteer hours to pack and deliver charity donation bags and blue and brown recycling bags to students across the city.

All you have to do is but your unwanted things in the British Heart Foundation bags and drop it off at one of the donation banks found all over Manchester.  You can donate almost any clean and reusable items, such as small electronics, clothes, books, shoes and CDs.  A single bag could be worth over £14, so please think twice before throwing away your old possessions!GIDBI_Bag2_transparent

Give It Don’t Bin It packs are delivered to most student neighbourhoods, and to all students in Halls of Residences so keep your eyes peeled for yours. From drop off points in halls for British Heart Foundation to dates for extra recycling collections in student areas – the packs tell you what you can donate and what you  recycle and (importantly) how.  But, if you’re keen to make a start and yours hasn’t arrived you can find all the information on the Give it Don’t Bin it website

Let’s see what amazing things we can achieve this year!

Tips on leaving your house secure over summer

Leaving Manchester for the summer?  Remember that empty student homes can be tasty targets for burglars, and homes without security measures are five times more at risk of burglary than those with security measures.   Here’s an exciting list of some things you can do to make sure you make your house is as theft-proof as possible this summer.  Most of these are very obvious so I’ve tried to make it as non-patronising as possible, so please bear with me – you might have missed something out!

  • Double-check that all doors and windows are locked, as well as gates to the back of your property.
  • Secure bikes inside.
  • Make sure that you can’t see valuables from ground floor windows.
  • Take your most valuable items away with you over summer, pay to keep them in storage or give them to a friend who’s sticking around over summer.
  • Consider a timer switch to turn on your lights if you’re going on holiday for a short period
  • Hide all keys and make sure they’re not near the letterbox.
  • Ask a friendly neighbour to keep an eye on your property.
  • Avoid raving about your holiday plans on social media – this is an easy way for burglars to see that your house will be unoccupied!
  • Cancel unnecessary mail so there’s not an obvious pile of letters and junk mail underneath your letterbox.
  • Ask the landlord to trim your hedges so your house is easily seen from the street, and request automatic outside lighting.
  • All appliances and heating turned off
  • Make sure bins are emptied and put back (bins left out will not only annoy neighbours but are a sign no –one is about!)

Have a safe and happy summer!

Moving to a new country

Coming from abroad, I was very excited to move to the UK for my studies! For many of you this will be one of the biggest changes you’ll make in your life; packing up all your things and starting a truly independent life at university. What’s important to know, however is that many of us will experience the move differently. I have some friends who were completely reluctant to move abroad, while others can’t wait to escape their abode. If you’re still unsure, have no fear! I’m here to give you advice based on my personal experience as well as share the experiences from other international students that will hopefully ease your transition of moving to a new country.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE:

  • Tick off your to-do list as soon as possible; you don’t want things hanging over your head when you’re moving, especially when there’s time to get them sorted. Order your phone sim card and book all your necessary appointments like your bank appointment to create a new account before you arrive. giphy1
  • Plan your first few days at university; there’s always so much going on during Welcome week, but be sure to book ahead. Check out the Get ready and What’s On guide for some of the more essential events, so you don’t miss you! Other things to do: buy a ticket to a concert, a barbeque or a stand-up comedy show; make plans with a course-mate/mentor you met online or just do anything that will force you to get out of the house to make sure that you don’t isolate yourself! There’s something to do! Taking that one step can lead to other opportunities like exploring your new city or meeting people.
  • Learn your transport options; start of uni will be very hectic and you’ll have to run from place to place constantly, so you’ll only make yourself a favour if you get familiar with the local transportation. If you’re lost in the first few weeks around campus, look out for people with AskMe badges; as the name suggests, you can ask them for anything, including directions.
  • Take your favourite items with you; you want to make your new environment familiar, so be sure to bring a few items with you that will make your new space more homely.

WHEN YOU ARRIVE:

  • Get involved in language classes; still not 100% confident with your English? Getting more comfortable with the local language will make you feel better and help you with your work and studies. Many students opt for informal language ‘classes’ that are more commonly known as conversation corners, language cafes or anything along those lines. Find out more from the International Society, your course leaders or peers!
  • Find out what locals do; this includes where they buy the best and cheapest groceries, where they go for a night out, what places are worth visiting etc. They’re locals, so after all they will know the tricks of the trade that can help out.
  • Research about the local culture; Depending where you’re from, you may find culture in the UK really different from your home country, or it might be very similar. If you want to get familiar with the local culture, chat with your peers, staff or go online (there are a lot of resources). One difference in culture that I experienced was the greeting customs. Back home we hug and kiss upon greeting our friends and family, whereas in the UK a handshake will do!
  • Let yourself be homesick; being homesick connects you to the place you were born and/or grew up in and can strengthen your connection with the people you love. Don’t isolate yourself from your home! Loved ones will have your back when you’re feeling low.Elina

‘Moving to a new country can be stressful. Take it easy and take every challenge as a game. Stay positive and talk with people around you as you can learn a lot from them. Here, you will always find support and understanding. Also, make sure you keep in touch with your parents – they can be really curious about your new lifestyle and can help your transition.’

-Catalina Maria Vlad, ITMB (Economics and Strategy), Class of 2020

  • Get involved; join a local charity, if you have a faith – go to church, join the local sports team or join a society. These are all simple ways to meet people that you share a common interest with whether that’s their love for the same cause, a mutual faith or motivation to learn a new skill.Catalina

 

‘Try to make as many friends as possible when you first come to the University. Engagein activities, don’t be shy, stay positive and friendly.’

-Elina Bildanova, ITMB with Industrial Experience, Class of 2020

  • Keeping all this in mind, take some time to chill as well; I’m an avid planner; I keep to-do lists, bucket lists, idea lists, I have study plans, weekend plans, workout plans, anything, you name it. But I do recognise that sometimes, you just need to take a break. Try not to overthink everything and once in a while just take time for yourself and just chill. Try and get involved, try to adapt as easily as possible, but at the same time, just go with it!Raluca

‘Forget about buying plane tickets in advance so you get a good offer and forget about making lists with the things you need to buy or bring to your new home. Sure, these are important, but don’t forget to bring an open mind, positive energy and a bag full of excitement for all the new adventures that you will have.’

-Raluca-Lucia Lusca, ITMB (Marketing), Class of 2020