My first two years at university were fairly simple. Whether at home in Fallowfield, at uni or in clubs at the city centre, I was completely unaware of what happened outside the Oxford Road bubble. I remember talking to my friends at home about my time in Manchester and how I would hardly ever interact with those beyond my studies. My social life, was geared around students and limited to a tiny portion of the city. It would often become repetitive and saturating, and I was always eager to finish the term and get away for a few weeks.
Everything changed when I started a two-month internship in Manchester over the summer. Given that most of my friends were away on holiday I had to connect and make new friendships, most of which had come to Manchester to work as opposed to study and one was a true Mancunian. Their experience in the city was completely different to mine and learning about it was very exciting. I incorporated new perspectives, discovered new places and took up different hobbies. I went to a pub quiz every week and joined language exchanges. I also started cycling to work and using my commute to be mindful of my surroundings, as opposed to sitting in the bus on my phone. Paradoxically, the more I was exposed to new perspectives and experiences the more I started feeling at home.
The moral of the story is that, no matter how comfy being inside a bubble may feel, stepping outside and rediscovering the city can make your experience of Manchester a lot more positive and manageable. Why not take a break from a study session and explore the Manchester Museum or the Whitworth Art Gallery? They are conveniently located on the university’s doorstep and admission is free! If you feel like taking it a bit further, head over to MediaCity in Salford, where you can try out new and exciting water sports at the Quays or just enjoy a nice Sunday walk. Manchester has great things on offer that are easy to miss when you’re a student.
Connect with others
But above all, if you want to discover the true Manchester, make sure you become friends with a Manc. You will learn all the tricks and secrets of the city, and maybe even pick up some slang that only Mancunians use! So here’s my suggestion for you: connect with non-students and you will rediscover Manchester.
Written by Wellbeing Champion, Jose Vinaixa Kinnear