Where has the time gone?! I finish my internship a week on Friday – my time here has gone so quickly! Then, the week after I will be working as an ambassador during Orientation Week, on the city bus tours we are putting on. Remember, if you’ve got any last minute questions or things you would like me to blog about, let me know 🙂
Today’s blog is a request I’ve had from Mas, on what to bring with you. When you’re travelling so far away, you don’t want to risk forgetting to bring something, and it’s easy to bring every single thing that you own, but from my own experience of studying abroad, there’s no need to do that! I only studied in the USA for one semester, but ended up taking three suitcases with me, and didn’t need most of the things I took with me… so don’t make the same mistake as I did…
Of course, don’t forget to keep all your valuables, such as your laptop and money, in your hand luggage when you are flying to Manchester. The UK Border Force have created this poster (below), just for international students, and offers some tips to ensure that you are prepared for going through customs/immigration at Manchester:
It’s also important to bring all the following documents:
- your Letter of Acceptance
- enough money for tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses
- a valid passport and visa (if necessary)
- travel insurance and health insurance
- documentary evidence that you have enough money to support yourself
- evidence of your qualifications (usually original certificates with certified translations where appropriate)
- information from your doctor about any medical condition you have and prescribed drugs you need to take
- any original documents required for enrolment (original qualifications certificates, IELTS/TOEFL documents, letters of reference)
- If you are staying in University Accommodation, and have booked onto our Airport Collection Service shuttle bus, your ticket for this.
- Your accommodation address
Don’t forget that most airlines will make you pay extra if you are taking multiple suitcases, or if your suitcases are really heavy, so try to pack as light as you can, so you can save some money! I think the most important thing to remember is that you can buy most things you will need when you arrive in Manchester. We will be offering trips to the local supermarket from Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th September, where you can buy kitchenware, and other things such as bedding, towels and toiletries. It’s so easy to forget how much space and weight bottles of mouthwash and shower gel can take up in your suitcase, so just bring small bottles to start with and buy more when you are here.
(Also, I recently bought this duvet cover from the supermarket we will be taking you to, and I am so in love – who doesn’t love cats dressed up as astronauts?!)
If you are staying in university accommodation, you can pre-order a pack of bedding, which will be placed in your room when you arrive. These are quite reasonably priced, and include a duvet (comforter), a duvet cover, sheets and pillows. Things can be pretty hectic on the day you arrive in Manchester, and so you may not have time to visit the supermarket with us, so it makes things a bit easier and less stressful to know that you’ll at least be able to get a good night’s sleep to get rid of your jetlag! You can order them by following this link: http://estore.manchester.ac.uk/browse/product.asp?compid=1&modid=1&catid=132
If you don’t have time to come with us to the supermarket, you can always take the bus into the city centre, where there are lots of shops which will sell the basics you will need. Primark is a huge store which sells clothes, bedding, towels, and some kitchenware for super cheap, and there is also a store called Argos in the Arndale shopping mall which sells pretty much everything – from phone chargers to towels, bedding, and rice cookers.
A little bit further afield is an IKEA store, in the suburb of Ashton, and it takes about 30 minutes to travel there from the city centre on the bus or tram. Although it’s quite far away, you might prefer shopping there as every Ikea in the world is practically the same, so you’ll know what you’re doing!
The key things which I would recommend you bring with you from home are as follows:
- Clothes – UK weather can be quite unpredictable – it can be super hot and sunny one day, and cold and raining the next! So it’s a good idea to bring a mixture of clothing, from thick jumpers to shorts and t-shirts. You may wish to buy a thick winter coat when you arrive in the UK, as they can take up a lot of room in your suitcase! They are also pretty cheap to buy here
- Chargers for your phone/laptop/camera etc
- An extension lead from home. The number of plug sockets in your room aren’t that many, so it’s more convenient to bring an extension lead so you can plug in all the things you will need
- Travel Adapter Plugs. It is so important to bring plug adapters with you, as it’s quite difficult to find them once you are in the UK. The voltage levels in the UK can differ from other countries, so you may also need to bring a Voltage converter with you, to ensure that your electrical appliances are safe to use. This website can tell you if this applies to you: http://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/england/
- Photos etc to put up in your room. Your room will be your home for the next few months, so it’s important to make it your own! Just remember though, that you aren’t allowed to have candles or incense in your room as it may cause a fire.
- I loveeeeeee reading, and it’s lovely at the end of a stressful day of classes to sit in bed with a nice book (and some ice cream). Fortunately, the city’s Central Library has thousands of books for you to borrow, and also has a wide collection of books in different languages, such as French, Mandarin and Arabic, so you don’t need to bring that many with you from home!
- Home comforts. Although I am positive that you will all love Manchester and make it your second home, there will be some things you will miss about home. For me, when I studied abroad, I missed English food, so I made sure to take as much Cadburys chocolate as I could with me! Remember that you are not allowed to bring fruit, meat, fish or dairy products into the UK, but you can bring chocolate, sweets (candy) and crisps (potato chips).
- If you are an exchange student, coming to Manchester for a semester or a year, I would recommend downloading your home university’s VPN. This will allow you to access their resources whilst in Manchester (and although I shouldn’t say this, also gives you access to your home country’s Netflix…UK Netflix is a bit of a disappointment)
There are also some useful apps you may wish to download to your phone before you arrive, which can make your life here sooo much easier!
-iManchester is the university’s app, and contains a campus map, your timetable and lots of other useful things!
-CityMapper will be so useful to you, especially during your first few weeks in Manchester! It will tell you how to get anywhere in the city from your location, using public transport and it is so detailed, and more accurate than the public transport option on Google Maps.
-BBC Weather is the most accurate app for the weather forecast in the UK, and is free! You will get into the habit of checking the weather each morning as soon as you wake up to check if you will need an umbrella to fend off the rain!
-National Rail – if you are planning on travelling around the UK by train a lot, this app is a lifesaver! It shows train times, live departure boards and you can also buy train tickets through it.
-Google Translate – can translate 90 languages in an instant. The app works both online and offline, making it convenient when travelling, and can translate through your voice, camera, keyboard or handwriting. The app is good for translating in everyday situations, but it’s important to remember that if you are really struggling with the English Language, speak to your tutor or someone from the university’s Language Centre so that they can help you to improve – it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
-Units Plus – I use the Units Plus app all the time, and I’m sure you will too! Units of measurement in the UK may be different to what you are used to in your home country – for example, we use miles instead of km, and Celsius instead of Fahrenheit when measuring temperature, and this app will help to convert these units in seconds. It also has a handy currency exchange feature, so you can see how much things cost in UK £ compared to your home currency.
I *think* that’s everything! If I think of anymore tips, I will post them on our Facebook page. Don’t forget to leave me comments with any questions or things you want to know 🙂
Have a fabulous week,