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?


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!


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!


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!


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.



Student’s Day Out – Planning a trip to Northern Ireland from Manchester

If you are tired of your busy routine and bored by the bricks of Manchester, you definitely need something greener to refresh yourself in Easter break. Two days! At least two days of your precious life are worth a visit to Northern Ireland if you are on a budget and have a Euro trip or other places in UK to hit on your list.

I can share my experience and I must say that it was truly amazing. Here’s what we planned. We were a group of four friends and decided on a two-day trip. We booked our flights from Manchester Airport to Belfast International Airport from EasyJet with return journey of around £46. The hostel we got was the cheapest available in a 6-bed room for a night at Belfast International Youth Hostel at £10.5 per person. We left the first day open for travelling in the city and for a tour around the nearby areas. That open plan made our trip adventurous. For the second day, we booked a guided tour with Causeway Coast Tours for £17.5 and this was again the cheapest option available from the top list of tours to the North Antrim coast. Remember this price is what you get as a perk of being a student; otherwise it’s normally more for an adult. A trip to Northern Ireland would be incomplete without visiting Giant’s Causeway, the rightly called 8th natural wonder of the world and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. This is why booking a tour with a guide was indeed the best thing to do.


Time to plan big!

A new year brings about a sense of a fresh start, an opportunity to improve upon the accomplishments of the year gone by. And through university especially opportunities to make use of free time during summer and winter breaks are abundant and should be taken advantage off by students looking to stand out from the crowd.


“Don’t be afraid to set targets and goals both in your chosen degree and general university life. “


From Manchester to Amsterdam, Munich and Venice

I’m back! Hi everyone!

I’ve needed a couple days to recover – who would have thought two full weeks of non-stop travelling would be so exhausting?!

So I went on this trip with my Great Uncle who came over to visit from the States. The first day he, Lewis, and I took a trip to the Peak District – of course! We climbed up to Pevrill Castle in Castleton. Then we took my uncle to have dinner on the Curry Mile. I can’t remember which restaurant we went to, but it is probably the best one!

The next morning we headed to the airport for our first stop: Amsterdam. (more…)

Travelling around the UK

Hello Friends!

I know it’s been a while, but that is only because I have been having a wonderful time! One of my best friends came to visit from California and we went pretty much everywhere! Well, let me correct that—we went to London, Manchester (obviously), Edinburgh, North Wales, and the Peak District! This all happened in about 8 days as well… needless to say, we were exhausted!  (more…)

Eleanor’s Blog – 24 October

Hello everyone,

It’s good to be back in Manchester after a month long on placement! I’ve been really short of time to write to you all recently with all the extra travelling and work I’ve been doing surrounding my placement at a primary school and some clinics in and around Rochdale. I’m back now though, which means back to normal student life and the chance to stay in bed later than half past 5 every morning!

Every day was different on placement; whether it was having therapy sessions with groups of cute little kids, assessments for stammers, meetings with other professionals or making a video as an information resource to send to parents. It was good to see what it’s like being a real SLT in a real environment. My placement was with children, and it’s not a client group I’ve ever really considered before, so it was good to get experience to maybe change my mind.

Apart from my placement I’ve not really been up to much recently, as it really does take up a lot of time – but it’s worth it to not have too many wild nights out for a while and get as much out of it as possible! It was my first proper block placement out on my own and I’ve experienced and learnt a lot that will stand me in good stead for the 3rd and 4th year placements that will count towards my final grade.

It’s not been all sensible shoes and early nights though, as last weekend I went to visit my friend who’s studying at university in Sheffield. As I hark on about all the time, transport in Manchester is really good so it’s just a 45 minute train ride away and booking in advance means it’s not too expensive to go visiting friends and family up and down the country. The train to Sheffield actually goes past my parents’ house, and it was a bit sad to be so close to home without paying a visit! I was almost waving out the window but decided against it; probably would look a bit strange to everyone else on the train…

It was interesting to see Sheffield and compare the differences between living there and in Manchester- both are really lovely cities (but Manchester has less hills to walk up and down!)

Now I’m back to normal and in lectures again it’ll be a chance to get into a bit more of a routine, and hopefully work as a student ambassador at a few events throughout the University. I’ve got a couple of days off later this week so a trip back home will be in order as well.

Until next week! 🙂