Travel

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.

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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.

 

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

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!

5 Reasons why you should work at a Summer Camp!

By: Mary Johnson

I admit I was once a cynic amongst the converted… Those tanned, cheerful folk, returning rejuvenated from THE ‘best summer ever’. However, after experiencing it all first hand, I can truly say that spending my summer as a camp counsellor was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

So, if you’re still sitting on that white picket fence about it, trying to decide whether or not committing to a summer State-side is for you, let me give you a few reasons and a gentle shove in the right direction…

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1. The Friendships

Without a doubt, the bonds you make at camp are unique. Complete strangers become your colleagues, your room mates and your confidants, all in the space of orientation week. You see each other at your best and your worst; first thing at breakfast as you race to the granola bar, to last thing at night before you close your eyes, agreeing that the fan must definitely stay on. It’s like an impossible recipe for friendship to get wrong!

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The kids aren’t such bad company either!

 2. It will be Beautiful!

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Most camps are situated in some of the most stunning, well preserved locations in the country. As a sailing counsellor, I got to enjoy the crystal clear spring-fed lake that we were so fortunate to call our waterfront. N.B. Free up that iCloud storage in preparation for the hundreds of photos you will no doubt take of everything around you…

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The commute to work – It’s no M6 but it’ll do

 3. It’s Pretty Straightforward

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One of the things that really appealed to me when applying, was the seamlessness of the application process. There’s a great range of recruitment companies out there, ready and eager to get you employed (and take a cut of your earnings…) That said, if you’re in it for the money and less so for the experience, you may want to rethink your summer plans! #notfo’golddiggas I personally went through Camp America and found their VISA and staff application processes really straightforward.

4. FOOD

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In most cases, 90% of the food you have is lovingly made on site by your camp’s kitchen staff. However, the rest of your culinary decisions are at your full discretion on days and evenings off and depending on the local eatery scene, the possibilities can be endless… Think ice-cream huts serving virtually every flavour under the sun and endless ‘soda’ refills on trips to the cinema! *Bumps up health insurance in preparation of type 2 diabetes*

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The Maine event: lobster

 5. The Authentic American Experience

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Before coming to camp, I had never stepped foot on American soil (bar the embassy) and I can’t think of a better way to have first experienced it! From the amazing welcome I received and the total immersion in all things American, including late night Walmart trips and Fourth of July fireworks, to my after camp travels along the East Coast, it was all amazing!

 My only regret is not doing it sooner!

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Land ahoy! Next stop, Camp 2017!

6 reasons to travel while at University

By: Cristina Jiang

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

Travelling is a good way to spend your time with family and friends, but it also is extremely valuable in your personal development. In fact, when you travel you gain essential skills and valuable knowledge that will stay with you your whole life. As University is a time to learn and explore, here are the top 6 reasons why you should travel while doing your degree.

  1. Long holidays

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As students, we have about 160 days of holiday in a year, so it’s the perfect time to travel before committing to a job and a family. In fact, when you start working, you will be entitled to only about around 28 days’ paid holiday (self-employed folks out there, I envy you!), Life won’t be as carefree as now, so take advantage of it and go explore!

  1. 16-25 railcard

If you want to travel around the UK, why not apply for a 16-25 railcard? It only costs £30/year and will get you all over the country for 1/3 of the price. Buy “advance” tickets and you’ll get to London for just £14.50 and to Edinburgh for £12.20! What are you waiting for?

  1. Travel around EuropePic2

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sonta

If you are an international student or you just want to explore the continent, this is the time to do it! With over 50+ countries and diversity in cultures, Europe is a fascinating place to explore. Your destination is just a short flight away and for a fairly cheap price. You can find really good deals with popular low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet, Flybe, Jet2.com and many more. When flying back home to Italy, I always book my tickets in advance and compare prices across different airlines, to get the best deal possible. Sometimes you can find some really crazy deals, such as Ryanair flights to Hamburg or Brussels for only £9.99. So get booking!

  1. Interrail


“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Pic3Unlike flying, Interrail is an incredible way to see the country as you drive by! You can hop off the train at any moment and explore as many cities as like. All you have to do is purchase the train pass and you’ll be eligible for unlimited rail travel within 30 countries for a maximum period of one month. Backpacking through Europe is an unforgettable experience that you’ll be telling your kids in years to come.

  1. Volunteering

 “You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” – Eugene Fodor

Do you want to travel AND raise money for a charity? You can join one of the Universities’ charities and travel across Europe, while helping others! In the past, our Students’ Union Raise and Give (RAG) society has taken part in a Jailbreak fundraiser. The idea is that you have 30 hours to get as far from Manchester as possible, by any means possible – for charity. Past Jailbreakers have ended up in Berlin, Paris, New York and even Hong Kong!

There are so many ways you can make your travels more meaningful; take time from your summer holidays and volunteer. Spending your holiday in Manchester? No problem, there are countless numbers of charities that you can join, such as Cancer Research UK Society (CRUKSOC), Unicef on Campus and WaterAid Society. Personally, I am a member of CRUKSOC and every year we organise open 5-a-side football tournaments to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Being part of the events does not only mean I’m helping others but also means I can develop and build new relationships. Volunteering has given me the opportunity to also pursue my hobby as a photographer and video content creator as I take photographs and videos of the events.

More info about volunteering at the University here

  1. Global Graduate

“Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.” – Matthew Karsten

Being an outstanding student is no longer enough.  Nowadays, employers are seeking “global” students that possess a wide range of skills, including adaptability, global knowledge and cultural agility. Big companies often look for employees that are flexible to move around the country, to fly for business trips or to work abroad. The Global Graduate scheme is how you can get ahead!

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The programme offers 32 undergraduate students the opportunity to visit one of the seven host cities across the world – Hong Kong, New York, Singapore, Toronto, London, Paris and San Francisco to go and gain experience in the industry. It’s an opportunity to both practice and develop your existing skills, to start building your professional networks and to increase your understanding of your employability. The best part? It’s completely FREE. Want to hear from one of our Global Graduates? Read here for Alasdair’s experience in Hong Kong to find out more.