Out & About

Escape to the Peak District

As exams and deadlines start to creep up on us, University life can start to become more stressful than usual.

Work can start to get on top of you and it is easy to feel trapped with nowhere to go. But don’t worry, I have felt like this myself many times before, and so have the majority of students. My one piece of advice for you, would be to escape the city for a few hours and clear your head.

One of the many advantages of studying in Manchester is that we are surrounded by amazing national parks, one of them being the Peak District.

Below I will outline what you can do in a single afternoon in the Peaks.

12:50pm: Catch a train from Manchester Piccadilly to Edale

13:30pm: Arrive in Edale

13:35pm: Grab a bite to eat at Penny Pot Cafe

13:40pm: Walk to Mam Tor

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14:00pm: Arrive at the bottom of Mam Tor

Here you can climb to the top to see amazing 360 views of the peaks.

14:30pm: Head down the other side of Mam Tor towards Winnats Pass

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14:45pm: Arrive at Winnats Pass

This is a great photo opportunity and at the bottom of the pass on weekdays there is the Speedwell cavern, which is a boat trip through the underground caves, If you decide to do this then I would recommend heading into Castleton, the nearby town and grabbing a coffee and local pastries before heading home, you could catch a train home at around 17:00pm. However if you don’t do this then…

15:15pm: Walk to Jacobs Ladder

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This is a long walk, but you pass through Baber Booth and over some stunning rivers.

16:45pm: Arrive at Jacobs Ladder

From here I would recommend you take the long route though Kinder Scout National Nature Reserve back to Edale.

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19:30pm: Train Home, Edale to Manchester

The itinerary above is just one of the many trips you can do into the Peak District. With hiking, Cycling, Rock Climbing, Photography, Museums, Art Galleries, Historic Houses and Castles, wildlife and so much more it really is one of the best places to go to feel a sense of freedom from university life.

The world is a lot bigger than oxford road, a lot bigger than Manchester and so when university gets too much, or even when you have some free time just escape.

For more information please go to ‘Experience Peak District and Derbyshire,’ the official Peak District website where they have all the information you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From here I would recommend you take the long route though Kinder Scout National Nature Reserve back to Edale.

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

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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!

Exchange Adventures

If you’re like me – from a small city somewhere in Europe – chances are that most of your friends were born and raised in exactly the same place. University is your biggest opportunity to form close friendships with similar minded people from different countries and cultures. Could there be a better way of experiencing them other than visiting their country?

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Most people I met are proud of their heritage and are keen to share it. Visiting them allows you to fully dive into their culture by being part of their family and daily routines. You don’t just look at it like in a museum, you live it. You don’t try an overpriced meal in a restaurant, you help prepare it in the kitchen. After a year of Austro-Bengali exchange, one of my first friends from university insisted I should visit him in Bangladesh and he would show me around the country. We covered all major cities, heritage sites, natural wonders and cultural regions. The whole family went on a trip with me to see every corner and understand the differences between the districts – unbelievable trip!

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When it comes to exploring the city or country you’re in, you’re accompanied by the best guide one could wish for! Obviously, somebody who has spent ~18 years in a place and knows all about its history and culture as well as the best places to eat authentically or listen to local music. Additionally, your friend knows and understands your needs, fears, interests and can accommodate the tour to your liking.

During my visit to Singapore as part of the Manchester Global Graduates Programme, I visited a recently graduated course mate. He knew I loved getting in touch with locals and take part in their celebrations. So, he rounded up a bunch of friends and we explored the Ramadan celebrations at night time. To accommodate my Austrian nature, we went for a hike on a local mountain with an absolute stunning view. All stuff I would have missed travelling on my own!

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Apart from enhancing your travels, you can do it on a budget, too. The only major expense you’ll make is to book some flights or trains. You can couch-surf at theirs, cook at home and avoid tourist-traps. Make sure you’ll bring a gift or take them for a meal once or twice to show your gratitude!

On the flip side, you can also host someone else! Actively invite others and make plans early, especially if the other party has to apply for a visa, as the application can take several weeks. Hosting others can also get you in touch with your own home again. I had tons of fun taking a Bruneii and Bahreini friend around Salzburg and was able to reconnect with parts of the city I haven’t seen in ages. Furthermore, I have hosted an Indonesian, a Lithuanian, two French and an Australian!

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Sometimes you might be confronted with ways of thinking, habits or practices you will find hard to cope with or do not agree with. Make sure you do some research before you embark on a trip like this, to avoid awkward situations. Should I host you for instance, I’d expect you to be ready 5 minutes before an activity – punctuality is king in Germanic countries! But everything can be discussed and clarified beforehand and both will know each other’s habits and expectations.

Visiting and hosting friends will broaden your horizon and reveal sides of travelling you wouldn’t have imagined. All it takes is an open mid-set and an invitation.

 

Top 5 Vegan and Vegetarian Eats Near Campus

Greenhouse Café @GreenhouseUOM

I thought I should point this one out first because despite having been on campus for nearly a year, I only actually discovered this gem a couple of weeks ago. The food is super yummy, with both hot and cold, vegan and veggie options on offer. I had the vegetable stew and a piece of vegan chocolate cake, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed and my friend tells me that the quiche was gorgeous too. The hot meals come in at £5.25, perhaps a treat on a student budget, but the soups and broth cost just £2.50 with a piece of fresh baked bread. Not bad at all. It can be found down the side of University Place and can be bit tricky to come across if your classes aren’t nearby, but here’s a map to help you out.IMG_8171

Falafil Express

I LOVE this place. It’s on Oxford Road, situated in the row of shops opposite All Saints Park (MMU) about 10 minutes’ walk from the SU. A medium, incredibly tasty, falafel wrap will cost you just £3 and they also do fresh juices and smoothies. It’s a win win really. Plus you get to load up your wrap with whatever veggies and sauces you like, which is great if you’re a fussy eater like me. You can see more of the menu here though the prices are a little out of date.

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8th Day Cooperative @EighthDayVeg

If you are vegan (or a lactose intolerant vegetarian such as myself) you know how hard it is to find good dairy free cake. Not only does this place provide a whole array of tasty treats to choose from, it also doubles as a shop and a café. Downstairs, you’ll find hot vegan and veggie meals, whilst upstairs you can browse the aisles for any hard-to-find meat and dairy free goodies for cooking at home. The prices vary depending on what you want to buy, but the take-away pasties are super cheap at around £1.50 – £2.50 and the cakes even cheaper. Oh, and it’s located just a couple of doors down from Falafil Express.

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Sidney Street Café @TheProudTrust

This lovely little caff is just around the corner from 8th Day and is a community project run predominantly by volunteers in aid of The Proud Trust, which is an active charity working to support LGBT+ youth in the local area. They make all their food from scratch, often with ingredients grown and harvested in their allotments. The menu offers up various hot butties and a salad bar, but my favourite is the killer veggie chili, which you can get with either rice for £3.50 or nachos for a pound extra. I also highly recommend their vegan brownies which are only £1.50!

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Earth Café @EarthCafeManc

Although this one isn’t possible as a quick stop off between lectures, I couldn’t not include it. Located in Northern Quarter next to the Manchester Buddhist Centre, they do a mix and match menu which changes up every day and depending on the seasons, which makes for an interesting menu for the adventurous foodie. As I’m a bit of a chilli fiend, this is again one of my favourite dishes they do, but I’ve also had a super tasty mushroom pie and veggie roll amongst other things. One main and one side costs just £4, or if you’re after a feast, it’s £7 for two mains and two sides. They also do a selection of refreshing smoothies and vegan cakes.

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This is just a taste (pun intended) of the yummy vegan and veggie places in Manchester. There are loads more, such as Fuel in Withington, V-Rev in Northern Quarter and the SU providing a small vegan menu (with all meat free options half price on Mondays!), so there’s plenty of options to choose from!

Top City Centre Study Spaces

As exam dates and coursework deadlines approach you’ll probably find yourself spending more and more time at a desk studying.  This could be in the library, at home or in the Learning Commons; however it’s also a good idea to escape campus now and again and treat yourself to a change of scenery.

Learning in different environments can improve our abilities to retain and recall information, and spending time in a variety of locations can help refresh our weary minds.  Manchester city centre has an amazing selection of study spaces, including cosy cafes, trendy bars and historic libraries, so why not explore and give some a try?

Here are 5 of my favourite city centre study spaces:

  1. North Tea Power

36 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LA

One of Northern Quarter’s most highly acclaimed coffee shops, NTP is a favourite haunt of young-professionals and students.  With award-winning espresso, a great deli and a chic, relaxed atmosphere, this space is great for enjoying the classic Northern Quarter culture whilst making the most of their speedy Wi-Fi, plentiful power sockets and cosy corners to work in.  The large workbenches are a great place to mingle with other coffee lovers and get motivated by those around you.  If you’re hooked by their delicious teas and coffees you can by the beans in bulk too.

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  1. Central Library

St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD

As well as being one of Manchester’s most iconic buildings, the beautiful Central Library is positioned in the heart of the city, next door to the Manchester Town Hall.  Here, you can browse the UK’s second largest public book collection, have a quiet study session beneath the Pantheon-like dome of the Great Hall, and make use of their extensive archives.  There are miles and miles of book shelves both above and below ground, and also  a huge selection of fiction which you might struggle to find in your typical academic library.

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  1. Fig and Sparrow

20 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JA

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F&S is a cute coffee shop tucked away on Northern Quarter’s Oldham Street, and offers artisan coffee, loose-leaf tea and a big selection of tasty treats, as well as selling teapots, candles and other trinkets.  F&S can feel quite intimate due to its small size, but it’s also well-lit and airy, and its large tables which you can share with others, give the place a nice warm community vibe which I find very motivating.

  1. John Rylands Library

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John Ryland’s in one of the University’s finest cultural assets and is also one of Manchester’s architectural highlights.  Built in the late 19th century, you can marvel at the Neo-Gothic building style whilst being nestled amongst dark wood bookshelves, red carpets and ancient texts.  The main reading room is a beautiful space illuminated with stained glass windows and old-fashioned lamps, and captures a quiet tranquillity that’s a wonderful contrast to the hustle and bustle of Deansgate Road outside.

In this cathedral-like atmosphere it’s easy to imagine that you’re centuries in the past, however the omnipresent UoM Wi-Fi and aroma of espresso in the entrance hall make the most out of old and new.

During your study breaks, explore the Harry Potter-esque halls and check out the exhibitions spread about the library, which often cover art, literature, linguistics and history.  My top tip is to come here in the week – tourists flock here on the weekends!

  1. Last, but not least: Foundation Coffee House

Sevendale House, Lever St, Manchester M1 1JB

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FCH is my favourite study spot.  Its minimalistic décor, spacious layout and big windows provide plenty of natural light and lots of space to spread out your notes. Its chilled-out music also really helps getting my brain into study mode.

FCH also offer a wonderful range of coffees, cakes, smoothies, sandwiches and breakfasts, with vegan and gluten-free options  – I’m a big fan of their brownies.  FCH combines the airy lightness of an art gallery with cosy coffee shop sounds and aromas, producing a fantastic study space which you can enjoy with all your senses.

Top 5 coffee shops & tea houses

Caffeine is many students’ antidote to mid-term assignments, late night studying and dissertation writing. And while coffee plays a big role in work efficiency, so does the space that you study in. So why not combine the two?

Manchester has a great number of independent coffee shops and tea houses, which provide the perfect environment to study in. Here are the top 5 coffee shops and tea houses for you to check out.

  1. Ziferblatzifeblat

A unique spot where you pay for the time you spend there and you can have all the tea, coffee and cakes you can eat! The café aims to provide a relaxing and motivating space for customers. There are areas for group study sessions or smaller tables if you want to study on your own. I find that it’s a great place to concentrate and study.  I find it a great place to manage my time and not procrastinate.

23 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW

  1. Earth Café

A great place for vegans and vegetarians! Earth café serves 100% vegan and gluten free food, the only dairy is in hot drinks as an alternative to soya. They also serve freshly made veggie meals every day, if you want to grab a bite too. I usually go for a juice or smoothie with a piece of chocolate cake.

16-20 Turner St, Manchester M4 1DZ

  1. Nexus art café@NexusArtCafe

Nexus art café is a creative community space which promotes emerging creative artists. It is a calm and homely café, which is great when you need somewhere comfortable to write those essays! An exclusively alcohol free venue; the menu includes drinks, sandwiches and soup of the day, there’s something for everyone to pick from when you need refuelling. The café also regularly holds gigs and exhibitions, so do visit of that interests you!

2 Dale St, Manchester M1 1JW

  1. The Anchor Coffee Housepic4

Just a 10 minute walk from the University! The Anchor coffee house is a great space to focus in and grab something from their range of coffees, bagels and snacks at the same time. Registered as a charity, money earned by the coffee house goes towards a greater cause, so when you grab a drink you’re doing your bit for the community too!

508 Moss Ln E, Manchester M14 4PA

  1. Fig + Sparrowpic5

Half coffee shop, half lifestyle store; Fig + Sparrow serve a range of teas and coffees, with a small breakfast, lunch and cake menu. A perfect little stress-free place, where the staff are incredibly welcoming. I find it a great place to relax and study at the same time. It’s also a great place to have group study sessions. They also have a store, which you can check out when you visit the café!

20 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JA

So, there you have it, my top 5 independent coffee shops and teahouses! All of the places listed are just a bus ride away from the University and are easy to find as well. Go check out the spaces and grab a hot drink, a snack and a book! Where’s your favourite spot? Got any suggestions? Please leave a comment!

Tasnim x

The experience of a lifetime with Study Aboard

When the applications for study abroad opened in the autumn of my second year, I was at a loss about what to do.  One of the main reasons I chose to study at Manchester was its amazing study abroad opportunities and strong global links.  From past experiences, I knew that I loved international travel and I understood the many reasons why study abroad would be fantastic and hugely advantageous to me.

For a while, I couldn’t decide whether to apply, especially because I was loving life in Manchester and the thought of leaving that behind was heart-breaking.  I’d amassed lots of wonderful friends, was involved in some amazing student societies and part-time jobs, and was having the best time of my life.  To turn my back on all this seemed crazy –could I ever have it this good again?

After much torment, I finally concluded ‘just do it!’ and applied.  It’s wasn’t like Manchester was going to disappear anytime soon, and I knew that good friends would always be there for me, no matter how far away and no matter how long I wouldn’t see them for (I’m getting all soppy and sentimental now ❤ ).  My top study abroad destination was the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, as it ticked all my boxes: excellent University, amazing outdoors activities like skiing, canoeing and hiking, and a beautiful modern city surrounded by beaches and mountains.

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Me snowshoeing with new Canadian friend Cora in the Rockies

A few months later I was stood in the Atrium of University Place squinting at the list of student numbers who had been approved for study abroad.  I stood there for about a minute glancing between the list and my student card with my student number on it.  After about the tenth check all doubt had been stripped away and the mental meltdown commenced – I WAS GOING TO CANADA!!!

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Beware of bears!  Hiking with Canadian friend Nicole (now one of my best friends)

I arrived in Vancouver late at night in early September, and promptly fell asleep after travelling 7312 km.  I woke up at 5am (1pm UK time) and went for a stroll around the city centre.  Within an hour, I had observed sunrise over Coal Harbour, strolled through soaring pines in Stanley Park, watched seaplanes land, breakfasted on coffee and bagels, and dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean.  I’d never fallen in love with a place so instantaneously in my life.

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Vancouver sunset

When term began two days later I put far less effort into attending the UBC welcome events than I did in Manchester.  Having already done welcome week once before, I knew that partying with a load of strangers wasn’t the best way of making new friends. Instead, I took my time and got involved with a couple of the student societies and got to know my course-mates.  Within a couple of months, I’d met dozens of great people from all sorts of backgrounds, cultures and nationalities, had many good friends and had comfortably settled in to UBC.

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Some friends at the Richmond Night Market

Over my 10 months living in Vancouver, I’d been lectured by world-leading academics, made amazing friends for life, and picked up my high school French by talking to French-Canadians.  I’d learnt to ski, sea kayak and ice climb, and had been on adventures across western Canada and the USA.  In short, it was the most incredible year of my life, and I feel silly for having so many doubts before I applied!

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Learning to ice climb

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Eating oysters with my canoe buddies – caught by us on the beach!

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One of my buddies on one of our canoe trips

In addition to having loads of fun, I’d developed my problem-solving skills and confidence by integrating into a new country, become far better at networking and getting to know new people, felt more competent as an independent individual, and also learnt lots about myself and many life lessons.

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Climbing in Squamish near Vancouver

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Mountaineering in the Valhallas with Nicole

When I returned to Manchester my old friendships were as strong as they ever were and I settled back in immediately, feeling invigorated from my year away and ready to enjoy Manchester again with a refreshed mind.  My boosted confidence helped me discover a love of meeting new people, and now have more friends and connections than ever.

Of course, some less lucky people have less of a good time as I had initially, and often settling into life in a new place takes different times for different people, but most universities have support services, lots of student activities and events to help you make friends and make the most of your year away.  Also, the Manchester Go Abroad office will always be there for you if you have any problems or would like advice.

My study abroad was the best thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve come back with bags of wonderful memories, great friendships and new skills.  My year away has truly improved me as person, and I couldn’t recommend study abroad any more.

So what are you waiting for? Apply and have the adventure of a lifetime!